OTTAWA, Canada – Canadian trade officials are in contact with Chinese officials following that country’s announcement of temporary trade restrictions on imports of Canadian beef. Meanwhile, agriculture officials have expanded their traceback investigation.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) learned of the trade ban before updating the status of the agency’s investigation into the country’s 19th confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a cow from northern Alberta. Taiwan, Peru, Indonesia, South Korea and Belarus already have enacted bans on Canadian beef and beef products.

“We continue to work with our trading partners to share information and respond to questions they may have,” said Paul Mayers, vice president – Policy and Programs, CFIA. “We have and will continue to share information on the investigation with industry trading partners and other stakeholders. The CFIA remains committed to protecting animal health and takes BSE very seriously. All necessary resources have been directed towards managing this situation and investigation.”

The agency’s investigation included identifying the cow’s birth and feed cohorts. World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines state birth cohorts should include animals born in the same year as the infected animal, along with animals born in the year before and after the infected animal. The most recent case was born in 2009.

However, CFIA also discovered that the 2015 case was born on the same farm as another BSE-infected cow — Canada’s 17th confirmed case of BSE, Mayers added. The animal was born in 2004 and confirmed with BSE in 2010. As a precaution, the agency now is actively tracing any surviving cattle that were fed on the farm in the years between the 2010 and 2015 cases, in addition to animals born on the farm in either 2008, 2009 or 2010.

“Moving forward, our focus is on tracing and determining the status of these animals,” Mayers said. “The investigation into potential sources of contamination of the feed will continue. As you can see, the scope of the investigation is broad. As well, the nature of this investigation is complex and requires us to be very thorough. It will take time.”