California's two U.S. senators—Barbara Boxer and
Feinstein—have joined in a request to the new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to continue the ban on Canadian beef pending further USDA studies.
The two Democrats released to the news media a copy of a Jan. 24 letter to Johann in which they wrote:
Today we write to express our concern over the final rule issued by the Department of Agriculture
that will allow the importation of Canadian cattle less than 30 months of age, and beef derived
from cattle of all ages as of March 7, 2005. Since the USDA published the final rule on January 4,
2005, two cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were identified in Canada. Notably, one
of these animals was born in March 1998 – eight months after the implementation of Canada’s
ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban.
We are extremely concerned that USDA does not have a complete understanding of the prevalence of
BSE within Canada and that opening our borders to Canadian beef may threaten our food supply. It is
our hope that the USDA will delay implementing the final rule until it fully understands the extent
of BSE in Canada.