Canadian agencies respond to mad cow in farmed seafood claim


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 17, 2009

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, an article claiming farmed fish may contract mad cow disease if fed cow byproducts is sorely dated and fails to recognize that Canada introduced new feed controls in 2007 that ban the use of specified risk materials (SRM) on all animal feed.

Parts of cattle where BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) can be found are considered SRM.

“I can confirm that Canadian companies do not use any SRM products in their feeds,” Ruth Salmon, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance executive director told SeafoodSource on Thursday.

The CAIA is also preparing information for distribution to its industry members Friday.

The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, was led by University of Louisville neurologist Robert Friedland, M.D., acknowledges that the risk of transmitting mad cow disease from fish to humans is low.

“We have not proven that it’s possible for fish to transmit the disease to humans,” said Friedland. “Still, we believe that out of reasonable caution for public health, the practice of feeding rendered cows to fish should be prohibited. Fish do very well in the seas without eating cows.”

Mad cow disease, also called Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, is fatal and can be contracted by eating parts of an animal infected with BSE. There have been 163 deaths from Creutzfeldt Jakob disease in the United Kingdom attributed to eating infected beef. BSE has been identified in nine Canadian and three U.S. cattle.

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