In December 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the
discovery of a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”) in
Washington State. Shortly thereafter, the Secretary of Agriculture announced several new steps
designed to further reduce the risk that meat from affected animals would reach humans.
Following that time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considered new rules to help
prevent the spread of BSE among cattle through contaminated animal feed. USDA Secretary
Veneman convened a panel of international experts (formally known as the International Review
Subcommittee of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases)
to evaluate USDA’s investigation of the BSE cow and BSE risk management measures and to
advise USDA regarding possible further steps to address BSE in the United States.