USDA's BSE Testing Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the new testing program for BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy)?
A. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has implemented an intensive national testing program for BSE. The program is designed as a one-time effort that will provide a snapshot of the domestic cattle population to help define whether BSE is present in the United States, and if so help calculate at what level.
The goal of the program is to test as many cattle from the high-risk population as possible in a 12- to 18-month period. In order to reach as many high-risk cattle as possible, samples will be taken from the farm, slaughter facilities, rendering facilities, livestock auctions, veterinary clinics, and public health laboratories.
The testing program will also randomly sample apparently normal, aged animals. The sampling of apparently normal animals will come from the 40 U.S. slaughter plants that handle 86 percent of the aged cattle processed for human consumption each year in the United States