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Government trying to keep mad cow disease at bay

Published:Saturday | April 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Following the discovery of cattle with the dreaded mad cow disease in California, United States, earlier this week, Jamaica's veterinary service, in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health, is assessing the situation to ensure Jamaica's food chain is safe.

"We take these things very seriously and we are making an assessment to establish whether it constitutes a threat to our food chain," Donovan Stanberry, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, told The Gleaner yesterday.

Stanberry said he was formally informed about the case on Thursday by a representative of the United States government. The permanent secretary said Jamaica was awaiting the assessment report, which was being conducted by the director of the veterinary service, Osbil Watson.

"We are assessing the situation," said Watson, who is in Miami attending a meeting.

Since the discovery of the case in the United States, at least one country, Indonesia, has suspended the importation of beef from the United States.