The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed two additional cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) just nine days apart — Jan. 2 and 11. Both were Alberta cows, with the first — a dairy cow — born prior to Canada's institution of its feed ban in 1997, and the second — a beef cow — born shortly after.

The two cases represent the third and fourth animals of Canadian origin discovered with BSE. Canada's first confirmed case of BSE was discovered in May 2003, and a second case — discovered in Washington State — was discovered in December 2003.

CFIA indicates that neither of the two most recent cases entered the human food or animal feed systems.

On Jan. 4, USDA's rule recognizing Canada a “minimal risk” country for BSE and calling for the March 7 resumption of live cattle trade from Canada to the U.S. was published in the Federal Register. Since then, a groundswell of concern has risen in the U.S. and in Congress to amend that rule.