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American Corn Growers Association calls for more BSE safeguards to protect customers and agriculture

(Saturday, Dec. 27, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:

Contact: Larry Mitchell (202) 835-0330

WASHINGTON - Dec 24, 2003-In response to the first suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease) found in the U.S., which could have far reaching consequences to the corn industry, Keith Dittrich president of the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) and a corn farmer from Tilden, Neb., stated that American consumers must be assured that our government, as well as our farmers and livestock producers, will do everything in their power to ensure the safety of the nation's food supply. "Safeguards that were established in the 1990's to identify and prevent an outbreak of BSE here in the U.S. have worked fairly well until now. It has not been determined whether the BSE case in the state of Washington originated from a domestic or an imported animal, or whether the animal was fed imported or domestic feed. Until these important determinations are made, we call for much stronger safeguards from the federal government."

"ACGA suggests that all imported beef be banned immediately to prevent any further risk to the food industry and reassure consumers that the nation's supplies of beef are produced under the strict guidelines of USDA rules. In addition ACGA call for an immediate ban on all imported animal feed ingredients to further protect the livestock, grain and food industries. We also call for much stricter enforcement of the rules regarding the use of rendered animal parts in feed rations and urge the consideration of a total ban of such parts if that's what's necessary to regain total confidence in U.S. beef consumption and exports."

The initiatives outlined in today's letter from R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) President Leo McDonnell to President Bush and Agriculture Secretary Veneman are timely and important if we are to stabilize markets and reassure consumers. The ACGA stands in strong support of R-Calf's leadership on this most important issue.

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See http://www.acga.org .