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Illinois Department of Agriculture receives additional federal funding

FDA cooperative agreement helps Illinois maintain BSE inspections

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[December 05, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture will receive nearly half a million dollars in federal funding to conduct important inspections for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as BSE or mad cow disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has entered into a cooperative agreement with the department that will provide a total of $499,722 over the next two years to ensure cattle feed produced and used in Illinois does not contain ingredients that could transmit the rare brain-wasting disease.

Insurance"For the past 15 years, our inspectors have been contracted by the FDA to inspect feed mills and feed manufacturing plants across the state," Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. "But this agreement will allow us to maintain our expanded on-farm surveillance efforts. We believe these inspections provide additional assurance to consumers and our agricultural trading partners that Illinois beef is safe to eat."

Feed contaminated with tissue from the nervous system of infected cattle is believed to spread BSE. Therefore, the FDA has prohibited the use of ruminant protein in feed for cattle and other ruminant animals since 1997. The department enforces this prohibition in Illinois through regular inspections.

Over the past three years under a similar agreement, the Illinois Department of Agriculture completed 450 on-farm inspections and 150 non-farm inspections. More than 1,500 cattle feed samples were collected and analyzed. Illinois was one of eight states to receive federal funding in this cooperative agreement.

"We are pleased to say that no cattle feed samples have been found to contain ruminant protein," said Jim Larkin, bureau chief of Ag Products Inspection. "Illinois farmers have done an outstanding job of following the FDA guidelines put in place to maintain the health of their cattle as well as the Illinois beef industry."

Over the next two years, Illinois Department of Agriculture inspectors will conduct an additional 300 BSE on-farm inspections and 100 non-farm inspections, collecting at least 1,000 feed samples.

[Text from Illinois Department of Agriculture file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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