March 29, 2004, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA announced that the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory system of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is one of seven laboratories throughout the country approved to participate in surveillance activities for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
“USDA’s intensive BSE surveillance program requires increased laboratory capacity strategically located across the country,” stated Dr. Ron DeHaven, deputy administrator for Veterinary Services, in a press release. “Reducing the distance to the nearest lab will help ensure that we have the most rapid turnaround time possible.”
The laboratory belongs to a nationwide network that assists APHIS with animal disease testing. The Davis-based laboratory will receive federal funding as needed for high throughput testing equipment.
The laboratory will use approved testing procedures; USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa will confirm test results when needed.
Other network participants are Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (College Station); Wisconsin Animal Health Laboratory (Madison); Washington State University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory; Athens Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia; and NY State College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Cornell University.
The California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory system, with facilities in Davis, Turlock, Fresno, Tulare and San Bernardino, conducts 1.8 million diagnostic tests each year to:
- Control livestock and poultry disease
- Enhance livestock and poultry health management
- Ensure the safety of foods of animal origin
- Protect people from diseases common to animals and humans
- Monitor and protect equine health and performance
- Develop and validate new methods for rapid, accurate diagnostic testing
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced details March 15 of an expanded surveillance effort for bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States.
More information on the USDA's BSE surveillance program is available online at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse.html.