Blagojevich announces additional funds for mad cow disease
to continue on-farm inspections of cattle feed
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[DEC. 16, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced
Friday that Illinois will receive additional federal funds to
continue important on-farm inspections for "mad cow" disease. The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration renewed a cooperative agreement
with Illinois that provides $233,528 for the Illinois Department of
Agriculture to ensure cattle feed produced on Illinois farms does
not contain ingredients that could transmit the rare brain-wasting
"Continuing to survey our beef
supply will help make sure that food is safe to eat, as well as
protect the economic interests of our important agriculture
industry," Blagojevich said.
Under terms of the two-year-old
agreement, the Department of Agriculture will conduct 150 farm
inspections and analyze 500 feed samples. It will also inspect 50
agribusinesses that either sell, blend or transport cattle feed, to
make sure no prohibited ingredients are present in their products.
"We've always inspected Illinois feed mills and are confident our
commercial cattle feed is wholesome," Agriculture Director Chuck
Hartke added. "This cooperative agreement has enabled us to expand
our surveillance and conduct similar inspections on cattle and dairy
farms, providing additional assurance to both 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 mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform
encephalopathy. Therefore, the FDA has prohibited the use of
ruminant protein in feed for cattle and other ruminant animals since
1997. The Department of Agriculture enforces this prohibition in
Illinois through regular inspections of the state's 338 feed mills
and 17 rendering plants and random sampling of retail feed products.
The expanded BSE surveillance is one in a series of
agriculture-related safety measures that have been implemented to
protect Illinois consumers and farmers.
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Other safety measures:
specialized training in the diagnosis of emerging foreign animal
diseases to local veterinarians, who frequently are the first to
respond to an animal disease outbreak. The goal of the Illinois
Veterinary Emergency Response Team program is to provide the
training to at least one veterinarian in every Illinois county.
online premise identification registry to identify every farm,
feedlot, sales barn and slaughter facility in the state that
handles food animals. The registry is the first step toward
implementation of a national animal identification system that
will enable livestock and poultry to be rapidly traced from the
farm to the dinner fork.
Requiring a permit
for all livestock imported into the state for production or
exhibition. The requirement gives state agriculture officials
advance notice of farm animals entering Illinois and allows for
faster tracing if diseased animals enter the state.
development of a geographic information system to track
agricultural assets such as farms, grain elevators and food
processing plants. Once completed, the first-of-its-kind system
will contain a valuable database of information to identify
sensitive resources and aid decision-making during emergencies.
meetings with neighboring states to develop regional
communications plans and guidelines for tracing and controlling
the movement of livestock in an emergency.
[News release from the governor's office]