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From: TSS ()
Subject: How Do You Lose a Herd?
Date: November 4, 2005 at 6:10 am PST


How Do You Lose a Herd?

With risk of mad cow, it's inexcusable


12:00 AM CST on Friday, November 4, 2005


Federal investigators admitted this week that a Texas cow infected with America's first domestic case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy – better known as mad cow disease – might have gotten into the food supply.

This newspaper's Katie Fairbank reported on Wednesday that the herd from which the cow came had already been slaughtered, including two of the diseased cow's offspring, which might have been carrying the disease. In fact, record-keeping was so poor that federal and state officials closed their investigation without determining how the cow acquired the fatal brain-wasting condition. Nor were they able to account for other cattle in the herd.

Experts say chances are extremely low that the burger you'll have for dinner tonight puts you at risk for the disease. That will be cold comfort to the poor soul who comes down with the first case of mad cow traced to an American herd, if such a horrible thing were to happen.

It will also be a bad day for those who make their living in the $3 billion U.S. beef industry, which is still struggling in some overseas markets to recover from the 2003 mad-cow scare. You will recall that a single cow that slipped through the system caused the overseas market for U.S. beef to virtually evaporate overnight.

We are foolish to run the risk of medical and financial disaster with our laissez-faire system of managing the livestock industry. This newspaper has advocated instituting a Japanese-style system in which every single cow is tested for the disease, instead of the one-in-90 regime currently observed in this country (and with a less sensitive test at that).

To that we now add a call for a stringent tracking system for all cattle. In a day and age when we have the technology to track cattle as well as we track FedEx packages, this kind of negligence is unacceptable.

The beef industry doesn't like the idea of a new regulation, which adds to the price of meat. But these common-sense health safety reforms would add just pennies to the pound, and the gain in security and consumer confidence in America's beef supply is hard to overestimate.

If our sloppy management practices result in infected cattle tainting the food supply and causing beef eaters' brains to rot, the beef industry will learn in very short order precisely the cost of its penny-wise, pound-foolish cost cutting on food safety.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-madcow_04edi.ART.State.Edition1.33d1d14.html

> How Do You Lose a Herd?

THE same way you loose a mad cow. TEXAS is the number one state that can either loose a mad cow, and or cover one up for almost 8 months;

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement
May 4, 2004
Media Inquiries: 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

Statement on Texas Cow With Central Nervous System Symptoms
On Friday, April 30 th , the Food and Drug Administration learned that a cow with central nervous system symptoms had been killed and shipped to a processor for rendering into animal protein for use in animal feed.

FDA, which is responsible for the safety of animal feed, immediately began an investigation. On Friday and throughout the weekend, FDA investigators inspected the slaughterhouse, the rendering facility, the farm where the animal came from, and the processor that initially received the cow from the slaughterhouse.

FDA's investigation showed that the animal in question had already been rendered into "meat and bone meal" (a type of protein animal feed). Over the weekend FDA was able to track down all the implicated material. That material is being held by the firm, which is cooperating fully with FDA.

Cattle with central nervous system symptoms are of particular interest because cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, also known as "mad cow disease," can exhibit such symptoms. In this case, there is no way now to test for BSE. But even if the cow had BSE, FDA's animal feed rule would prohibit the feeding of its rendered protein to other ruminant animals (e.g., cows, goats, sheep, bison).

FDA is sending a letter to the firm summarizing its findings and informing the firm that FDA will not object to use of this material in swine feed only. If it is not used in swine feed, this material will be destroyed. Pigs have been shown not to be susceptible to BSE. If the firm agrees to use the material for swine feed only, FDA will track the material all the way through the supply chain from the processor to the farm to ensure that the feed is properly monitored and used only as feed for pigs.

To protect the U.S. against BSE, FDA works to keep certain mammalian protein out of animal feed for cattle and other ruminant animals. FDA established its animal feed rule in 1997 after the BSE epidemic in the U.K. showed that the disease spreads by feeding infected ruminant protein to cattle.

Under the current regulation, the material from this Texas cow is not allowed in feed for cattle or other ruminant animals. FDA's action specifying that the material go only into swine feed means also that it will not be fed to poultry.

FDA is committed to protecting the U.S. from BSE and collaborates closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on all BSE issues. The animal feed rule provides crucial protection against the spread of BSE, but it is only one of several such firewalls. FDA will soon be improving the animal feed rule, to make this strong system even stronger.

####

http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/NEW01061.html

TSS




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