|CONTACT: Ed Bradley, V.P. Food Safety Sales & Marketing; Frank Klein, Senior Scientist 517/372-9200|
LANSING, Mich., May 6, 2002 - Neogen Corporation (Nasdaq: NEOG) today announced the release of the world's first rapid test to detect ruminant by-products in animal feed ingredients. The test is designed for use by feed mills, beef, dairy and sheep producers, and regulatory agencies, to be sure feed ingredients have not been contaminated with ruminant by-product meal.
The U.S. and most countries worldwide have agreed that eliminating ruminant by-product meal from cattle feed is the most important "firewall" in preventing the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, a.k.a. "mad cow" disease).
The use of rendered animal products in animal feed is a common practice to supplement its protein content. In 1997, concern about the spread of BSE led the FDA to ban the feeding of rendered ruminant by-products to other ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats and deer).
"Before Neogen's test, the technology simply didn't exist for feed millers and animal producers to easily and inexpensively test for the banned by-products," said James Herbert, Neogen's president. "Those wishing to test had to rely on an expensive method that took days to provide results, a great deal of technical expertise, and was only available from a few laboratories. Neogen's test takes only minutes, and can be conducted by nontechnical personnel with basic equipment and little training. The test represents a major advance for the industry."
In response to the FDA's action in 1997, many beefpackers and end-users of the beef products, including some of the world's largest, have required processors to certify with written documentation that the cattle they buy were fed in accordance with federal regulations. However, producers had no practical method to protect against inadvertent contamination.
"The new test meets an immediate, critical need for the dairy and beef industry," said Herbert. "One needs to look no further than the destruction of more than 1,000 head of cattle last year in Texas that were inadvertently fed ruminant by-products to realize that the consequences can be devastating to individual producers, and the industry."
Neogen's new test, Agri-Screen for Ruminant Meat and Bone Meal (MBM) Strip Test, requires only simple sample preparation and 10 minutes to provide a clear result. The test involves only the boiling of a sample in an extraction solution, followed by the immersion of a dipstick test device.
Neogen Corporation develops and markets products and services dedicated to food and animal safety. The Company's Food Safety Division markets dehydrated culture media, and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, genetic modifications, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases and sanitation concerns. Neogen's Animal Safety Division markets a complete line of diagnostics, veterinary instruments, veterinary pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements.
Certain portions of this news release that do not relate to historical financial information constitute forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual future results and trends may differ materially from historical results or those expected depending on a variety of factors listed in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in the Company’s most recently filed Form 10-K.