ID NEWS: U.S. holiday meat sales healthy; Canadian BSE probe traces remnants to dog food

U.S. consumers appear to have "shrugged off" Canada's "mad cow scare," according to Reuters.

Early Memorial Day weekend results indicate that consumers made their traditional steak and burger purchases for outdoor barbecues, although rain on the East Coast dampened such plans in that region. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., Jacksonville, FL, told Reuters that the story had no impact on sales, a sentiment reiterated by Keith Bollman, analyst, Topco Associates. "I think the average consumer believes that the U.S. beef is safe and (that) all the beef they're buying is really U.S. beef," he told the news agency.

Meanwhile, investigators have traced remains of the BSE-stricken Canadian cow through eight feed mills, two farms and two pet food companies, the Wall Street Journal reported. One of the farms also passed along some of the suspect feed to two neighboring farms, which have been quarantined.

Four brands of dog kibble produced by Champion Pet Food, Morinville, Alberta, may contain remains of the infected cow, but those products have not been recalled. Dogs aren't known to be susceptible to such brain-wasting diseases, although a feline form of encephalopathy could be related to BSE, according to the Journal.

Also, certain products of Pet Pantry International, Carson City NV, shipped in 50-lb. bags from Canada to the U.S. for home delivery, could contain material from the diseased Canadian cow. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requesting those customers to hold the product for pick-up.

The risk to humans, livestock and other pets in Canada from the pet food products is considered "extremely low.

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