MPs raise concern about Alberta case of mad cow disease

OTTAWA – The discovery of a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) –“mad cow disease” — in Northern Alberta late last week has opposition MPs concerned about consumer confidence in Canadian beef both at home and abroad.

“The disease once devastated our agriculture industry and there is huge potential for serious economic problems,” NDP deputy leader David Christopherson said in question period Monday. “South Korea has already moved to close off beef imports.”

Christopherson asked Agriculture inister Gerry Ritz if the source of the disease has been located and what assistance is being offered to ranchers and farmers.

Ritz said that the investigations by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) into the source of this case were ongoing, and that they were adhering to international protocols.

Ritz added that they had promised $200 million in the last budget to deal with consumer confidence issues for beef trading.

“We continue to work with CFIA and with the farm that is under quarantine at this point,” Ritz said.

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