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APVMA response to detection of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) in Canada 26 May 2003

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is working closely with other key regulatory authorities to ensure that Australia takes a coordinated response to the detection of BSE in Canada. These regulatory bodies are the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (AFFA), the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

The potential threat is serious and the APVMA is treating the situation with urgency, however it is a matter that calls for careful management and a measured response.

The APVMA is undertaking a detailed assessment of the risk that the Canadian BSE detection contains for veterinary medicines manufactured in Australia.

While this risk assessment is being conducted the APVMA has written to all veterinary product manufacturers asking them to advise if they use bovine materials sourced from Canada in their products. Manufacturers will be asked to quarantine any products identified until the risk assessment is completed and any necessary regulatory actions clarified.

Examples of bovine material include serum albumin and foetal calf serum used in the manufacture of veterinary medicines.

As part of the risk assessment process the APVMA is also examining the list of bovine material import permits that AQIS has revoked or amended as a result of the Canadian detection to determine if these materials could have been used in veterinary medicines manufactured here.

The APVMA will be announcing any regulatory actions to be taken once the risk assessment has been completed.