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WASHINGTON - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Harvard University today are supposed to release a long-awaited study assessing the likelihood that "mad cow" disease could spread to the United States, Reuters reported.
Mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has never been found in the United States. US government agencies have banned certain imports from Europe, including some animals, meat and human blood, since the first mad cow outbreak in the mid-1980s in Britain.
Critics say the US government has not done enough to protect consumers from the deadly disease.
USDA asked Harvard's School of Public Health to analyze and evaluate the department's current measures for preventing mad cow disease in April 1998. Publication of the study has been pushed back because of new data regarding US meat imports from European countries, industry officials said.
George Gray, Harvard's lead researcher in the study, has previously said there was little risk mad cow disease would reach the United States, according to Reuters.