Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or 'Mad Cow Disease'): Current and Proposed Safeguards [Updated March 1, 2004] [open pdf - 118KB]
"Shortly after the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or 'mad cow disease') in the United States was announced in December 2003, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other officials announced measures to improve existing safeguards against the introduction and spread of BSE. Previously, these safeguards, often called the 'three firewalls,' were: (1) USDA restrictions on imports of ruminants and their products from countries with BSE; (2) a ban on feeding most mammalian proteins to cattle and other ruminants, issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and (3) a targeted domestic surveillance program by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the agency responsible for animal health monitoring and disease control. As Members of Congress conduct oversight of the BSE issue and consider possible legislative options, some have asked whether the expanded agency actions will protect further against BSE, whether they are scientifically sound, and what cost they will impose on taxpayers and industry. Also at issue is whether they will restore foreign markets' confidence in the safety of U.S. beef, and whether other types of actions should be considered, among other questions. This report will be updated if events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32932