LIBBY QUAID AP Food and Farm Writer
WASHINGTON More cases of mad cow disease in Canada have halted U.S. plans for a major increase in Canadian beef and cattle imports, the Agriculture Department said today. Canada has found seven cows infected with mad cow disease, four of them this year. Some were born after Canada took safety precautions related to cattle feed that should have prevented the animals from being infected. The administration was poised to resume imports of older cattle and beef from older animals. But the department has halted those plans, which had been under final consideration by the White House, until an investigation into Canada’s recent cases has been completed. “We’re committed to resuming normal trade with Canada and other trading partners based on scientific and international guidelines,” Agriculture spokesman Ed Loyd said. “But we also want to ensure that all the scientific information is taken into account in the development of those guidelines.” The U.S. border reopened to cattle last year, but imports have been restricted to animals younger than 30 months, a cutoff set because infection is believed to spread with age.