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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2004

Governor to add more agricultural inspectors
Additional livestock feed testing, more inspections Illinois Department of Agriculture secures new safeguards against Mad Cow

SPRINGFIELD—Governor Rod Blagojevich today implemented additional safeguards to boost consumer confidence in the safety of Illinois’ beef industry in light of the recent case of Mad Cow disease in Washington State. 
 
“Illinois already aggressively tests feed, seed and livestock to ensure its quality in the marketplace,” Blagojevich said. “However, due to recent events, the Illinois State Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is taking additional steps to safeguard public health and ensure public confidence in Illinois’ food supply.”
 
In addition to complying with recently announced federal agriculture policy changes relating to a ban on the slaughter of all “downer” cattle, or those cattle that cannot walk, IDOA will enact several other policy changes including:
 
  • Hiring of 10 additional meat inspectors;
  • Hiring three additional veterinarians, including two supervisory veterinarians and one additional Customer Safety Officer; and
  • Increasing feed inspections and sampling by doubling the number of inspections at the 16 feed facilities that regularly handle ruminant protein and tripling sampling at the remaining 20 feed retail outlets to ensure manufacturer compliance and product safety.
 
“Policies that both promote food safety and making sure the livestock industry remains strong are not mutually exclusive,” said Chuck Hartke, IDOA Director. “What we want to do is reassure Illinois consumers that their food is safe while at the same time protecting the economic interests of an important Illinois agriculture industry.”
 
Hartke noted that the additional measures will not require legislative approval.


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