Agency regulation and inspection of slaughter facilities and the disposition of animals exhibiting certain symptoms are designed to keep unsafe products out of the human food supply. In the wake of the December 2003 confirmed BSE diagnosis, regulations implementing new safeguards to bolster the U.S. protection systems against BSE were published in the Federal Register and became effective on January 12, 2004. The safeguards include one Notice on disposition of non-ambulatory, disabled (downer) cattle and three interim final rules related to beef products in human food.
The U.S. government and feed, rendering, cattle, and meat industries use a "firewall strategy" to protect cattle herds and keep U.S. beef among the safest meat products in the world.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been and is enforcing import restrictions as well as conducting surveillance for BSE to ensure that this serious disease does not become established in the United States.