Pigs and pork aren't affected or at risk by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), found recently in a dairy cow in the state of Washington, stress pork industry officials.

The case “has no connection with the U.S. pork industry because there have been no reported cases of BSE in pigs, nor have there been any reported cases of inter-species transfer between cattle and pigs,” says National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Jon Caspers.

“The U.S. pork industry has full confidence in the USDA's science-based, rigorous surveillance program as it deals with this BSE case,” he says.

Paul Sundberg, DVM, vice president, Science and Technology, National Pork Board, adds there have never been any reported cases of BSE in pigs in the world. There is fairly solid evidence from countries that have had BSE, that oral transmission of BSE into pigs doesn't occur, even where both cattle and pig populations are exposed to the same meat-and-bone meal fed to cattle. In experiments, pigs were fed BSE tissues for as long as seven years without any evidence of transmission.

Caspers notes NPPC will work with the pork industry, USDA and Congress to “further strengthen the U.S. animal health surveillance system by establishing a national animal identification program to protect the health of the U.S. livestock herd.”