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From: TSS ()
Subject: Transcript of Secretary Mike Johanns remarks to The National Cattlemen's Beef Association Annual Meeting - Denver, Colorado February 3, 2006
Date: February 5, 2006 at 7:50 am PST

Release No. 0036.06
USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623

Printable version
Transcript of Secretary Mike Johanns remarks to The National Cattlemen's Beef Association Annual Meeting - Denver, Colorado

February 3, 2006


We worked very, very hard not only with you but with scientists and with others to put interlocking safeguards in place. Our interlocking safeguards protect consumers. Americans understand this. Consumption continues to be so strong. Many of our trading partners recognize this, and we're going to do everything we can with you in partnership working hard to show Japanese consumers what we mean.

Not only is American beef safe, I can also report to you with a tremendous body of information to back this up that, our herd is healthy. The largest BSE surveillance efforts ever undertaken in the United States is proving that fact, thanks in large part to an extraordinary government/industry partnership, and I might add an investment of about $1 million dollars to each and every week since the program began. This effort has been very informative.

On average we tested 1,000 high-risk cattle per day for BSE, 1,000. Only one in more than 600,000 animals tested came up with a positive. Yesterday USDA's Office of the Inspector General released its review of our BSE enhanced surveillance program. I want to be clear that this is not related to the situation in Japan. The report is a product of an investigation that began working with the USDA now nearly two years ago.

Given the magnitude of the report, we are very pleased to report to you today that it reflects what we describe as a clean audit. In other words, we reached agreement with the Inspector General's recommendations.

The fact is that the OIG report concludes that there's no evidence that specified risk materials entered the food supply ever. Our safeguards have worked. Our agencies with responsibilities in this area -- APHIS and FSIS -- have already acted on many of the recommendations in the report. And I will share with you that that work continues.

The Inspector General did recommend that we improve documentation and tracking of the work being done, and not only do we agree; we have already done so. The report also recommends that we proceed with due caution in drawing conclusions based upon the enhanced surveillance efforts, and ensure that our conclusions are not overstated. And of course we could not agree more.

We always want our conclusions to be accurate and based upon science.

Now let me if I might talk about some other issues that we face, and I failed to mention this at the beginning but when my comments are done I'll be happy to take questions from you.


I can say to Jim that the President shares his vision.

Quoting from the President now in the State of the Union Message: "With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker. Americans should not fear our economic future because we intend to shape it."


That is why this administration is committed to accomplishing free and open trade based upon scientifically sound and internationally recognized markets.

(GWs BSE MRR policy i.e. legal trading of all strains of TSE, like i said before, never was about sound science, as the article in Nature said Nature 421, 459 (2003); doi:10.1038/421459a )


We believe that the system that we've been talking about, the meta-data system would get this job done-- which brings me to the questions that we have heard.

Now some have asked whether this system is a retreat from our position that private databases should contain the animal movement data. Let me assure you that I'm not changing course. Some time ago we proposed a system that would require raw data to be held in a private database. The widespread support for privately owned data was dampened by concerns among states and industry about sharing a single database. And we worried about gridlock. But APHIS did not throw in the towel; instead our staff went back and we started to work to determine how we could move forward in a way that addressed the concern.

APHIS came back with this proposal as a means to allow for multiple private databases that could own the data while providing USDA with a portal that we will need at times to access information.

Under this proposal you the industry would continue to own and have control over the animal movement data. But through agreements established between private entities and the USDA we would be able to access those pieces of information that are necessary in the event that we would need to do something like complete an investigation.

Organizations that wish to consolidate their tracking data can still do so and in fact are encouraged to do so. But this system provides the flexibility that so many have requested and I might add allows for a robust private sector.


Final thoughts. The history of the cattle industry is the story of America. It's a proud heritage that threshed and harvested and ranched the land in this nation to agricultural greatness. The state of our beef industry is strong, like the state of our union. The President is as committed as ever and I am to ensuring that this industry remains vibrant, that agriculture remains a cornerstone of the U.S. economy.

It's been a pleasure to meet with you, and I look forward to a continuing partnership in the year ahead, a partnership to expand trade, a partnership to build global confidence in a product that we know is the safest in the world.

Thank you very much. God bless you.


Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

Now I do have to acknowledge ladies and gentlemen, now that the lights are up I see Nebraskans in the front row.


Go Big Red? You know the line I always use? Tell the kids back home I found work in Washington, all right? So.

We've got cards out there I guess, so.

MODERATOR: Yes, sir. We thank you, Mr. Secretary. I just want to comment that one of our efforts is to find beef-boosters and beef-backers, and I think it's apparent to all of us that we certainly have a great beef-backer at the head of USDA. We appreciate that.


MODERATOR: Let me just explain how these questions will work. We're going to have staff in the aisles between the sections at every aisle. So if you want to ask a question, please come forward to the aisles and to the staff now. And they're going to give you a numbered card, and that will indicate what place in line you are. Then the Secretary's going to go from each section answering a question from each section until we run out of questions.

So at this time if the staff will kind of raise your hands, and if you'll start coming to the staff with the mikes in the aisles we'll start the questioning.

QUESTION: Andrew Murphy, a beef producer from Kansas. Mr. Secretary, Japanese media are reporting a delegation of elected officials and nontechnical people visited beef plants and are claiming there are problems with the proper removal of specified risk material. We as cattle producers and as you clearly stated earlier in your speech that have a good control over, or at least that's under our understanding -- can you please give us a clarification of what this delegation is claiming?

SEC. JOHANNS: Yes. I'd love to. Thank you for the question. Let me first if I might draw a comparison here because I think this comparison is very, very important to make.

The delegation that came to the United States was a delegation if you will from the opposition in terms of the current party that is in power in Japan. They spent a couple of days here and I think they spent two or three hours at this facility. Now the comparison I want to make is the process that we went through with Japan to get this market reopened.

To describe that process as painstaking would be to understate it. It went on for what, nearly two years with not just the government but the Food Safety Commission. Every piece of information that they requested over those two years was supplied. Technical discussions between scientists. Finally the Food Safety Commission approved a rule that says beef from animals under 20 months, which is below the international standard and I can go on and on, but I will spare you that. The comparison though I think is obvious. We go through a very, very extensive process for two years and they're in the plant for about three hours.

Now let me if I might shed on their behalf maybe a piece of information that I wish they would have asked us about before they made that statement because I think it would have been helpful to them.

In Japan the spinal cord is removed before the carcass is split. As you know in the United States we sometimes follow a different procedure. Because the spinal cord is still intact when we split the carcass in the midline it's possible that a perfectly safe and accepted procedure not only here but elsewhere might have been viewed by them in a very confused way. That's very possible.

I can tell you that our inspectors were present. They were there in the plant as they always are, and they witnessed no violation whatsoever. No violation whatsoever. There are different methods for the removal of the spinal cord, but I want to tell people not only in this room but around the world that all methods in the United States are safe. And our inspectors are at the plant to verify this.

So putting the best light maybe on their comment, I believe that they probably did not ask or inquire sufficiently to understand the perfectly safe system that we have in place here. And I'll give them that. But what I would suggest is that there's important issues at stake here.

What we need to do in our relationship with any trading partner is to make sure when we talk we talk based upon fact. They had access to our people, I even met with them; we were open to questions and comment and discussion. It would have been very, very helpful to them I believe before they made that statement to understand the very safe system that we have in place.

So thank you for the question.

MODERATOR: Sal, over here.

QUESTION: George (unclear), president of Mississippi Cattlemen's Association. Mr. Secretary, please allow me to make a brief comment. On behalf of the Mississippi Cattlemen's Group, we were affected by Hurricane Katrina. We really appreciate your visit to our state, and USDA's help in extending some help for us to repair fences, remove debris, and to date we've had something like 24,000 Mississippians who have applied for this help. We would love to have you continue to expedite this funding process.

Now for my question. Australia and Canada are ramping up rapidly to increase market share. How much are we willing to give up before we implement NAIS at this point?

SEC. JOHANNS: I don't want to give up any market share. I'll just be very direct with you about that. But I will tell you that Australia is a very, very fierce competitor in the beef area, and they're going to continue to be. But I will also share with you that because of a variety of reasons one of which probably the primary reason being the closure of the Canadian border for a lengthy period of time, Canada started ramping up their efforts in the export market, and so they've become a real competitor.

We run into them a lot as we get around the world to sell our beef products.

I have been to Australia and I have looked at a complete demonstration of their animal ID system. And they are absolutely convinced about it. I talked to them a lot about, well how is it accepted? And they said, well like anything else where there's change there was some grumbling and why do we have to do this?

But I talked to the minister just recently, and he said now that's really behind us and everybody is working very, very hard to get this up and running.

I just really believe that we have to not only move in this direction but we have to move as quickly as we can. Now we have a big industry here. At any given time we have over 90 million head in our herd. This is a big undertaking. It is not something that can be implemented overnight. It's a change for you; we acknowledge that. But I continue to believe that the private sector approach gives us the best opportunity, not only building an outstanding system, a great system, but doing it expeditiously, doing it in a way that gets the job done. But most importantly if it is a government system I believe we take the opportunity for price competition and innovation away from the system. So I just continue to be a proponent of this notion that the best thing I can do for you is allow that robust private sector out there.

But to get back to your original question, you pose. You're right-- we can't ignore what's happening out there in the marketplace in the world market. Our competitors are doing everything they can to promote this. And we have to move with all the diligence we can while getting it done right. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Go ahead and ask your question.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for coming to our convention. Randy Faber from Illinois. We've got a tremendous amount of producers who are right at the edge of the swamp with the national ID system waiting to wade in. But they know that there's supposed to be a United States prefix on the tags to basically get out of the swamp at the end of the tunnel.

Is there a timetable for when the tag companies will be able to issue the U.S. prefix on the tags?

SEC. JOHANNS: We have been working on that, and that's going to come very, very quickly. I can assure you that that's been one of the priority items, and I think that is just about wrapped up. I'd love to tell you within the next 30 days. I'll be a little bit bold and say that it could very well come that quickly, but yeah we're ready to turn that piece of this loose and get off and going with that.

MODERATOR: We're going to have time for just one last question.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for coming, Mr. Secretary. We appreciate your support of our industry. And I guess you know how frustrated we are with the Japanese situation. Last year during the convention we passed the resolution that called for sanctions if necessary. And my question is, is the Administration willing to call for sanctions to get this order with Japan situation remedied?

SEC. JOHANNS: Well I noticed this morning, I was reading through some newspaper clips, and Chairman Goodlatte on the House Ag Committee said, Look, we've got to resolve this quickly and he used that word "sanctions" and as you know there's pending resolutions.

I will say this. This is being described as a temporary suspension. I believe that when we have our report done, and we're going to do that thoroughly but we're also very, very mindful that we can't let grass grow under our feet. We're not going to waste an extra day to get it done. But we're going to be very thorough.

And then when we put our recommendations out there I'm really confident that we can ask Japan to come back and work with us and get through this quickly.

Now I use that word because I believe we can move quickly, but it's hard for me to set a timeline because so much of what we've done or what needs to be done is not just on our side, but it's also on Japan's side.

We always hesitate to do sanctions, and here's why. There are instances where it's warranted. But sanctions tend to breed a response, if you know what I'm saying. And that response tends to breed yet another reaction, and back and forth and back and forth. I want to be very straightforward about this. This should not have happened. This just should not have happened.

If I could turn back the clock, and I'm sure if this plant could turn back the clock, things would have been different. But it did happen. We have to identify what happened, and put in place whatever is necessary to make sure it doesn't happen again, and get back to normal trade.

It has been encouraging to me because so far the rest of the world has been willing to work with us and we've provided them information and we've kept them abreast. And so, so far so good. But we're going to do everything we can to get this solved, and I hope that debate doesn't become necessary.

I've got just one last thought here. I don't know if this is true or not but I was informed that Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day in the United States. And that's coming up here, so I'll wrap up with just two words. Eat beef.

Thank you.

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IF anyone thinks Johanns is going to find and document any BSE/TSE in real figures to the world, well all i can say is, dream on. it's just not about that, and never has been, the Texas mad cows and how Johanns handled that proves to the world how BSE will and has been handled in the USA. i mean how many times have the OIG and or GAO spanked the USDA for failing the BSE regulations over how many years, i have lost count. its a total failure, and the USDA et al paint it up like it's been perfect all along, and the public eats it up, rubber stamped by the USDA. you had Dr. Detwiler telling them in 2003 they were not doing the BSE/TSE testing correctly, what did they do, shot the messenger, sent her out to pasture. but wait, what does Dr. Detwiler et al do, go to work for the largest fast food eatery on the planet as one of there top scientist on TSE/BSE, along with many others. now wait, this even gets better, this Company McDonalds, purchases from the USA, more cattle/beef than any other purchaser (if i am not mistaken, or there abouts), and what do you suppose they say about the SRM situation in the USA, well, does not matter what they or anyone else says cause IT IS NOT about science as long as this BSE MRR policy stays in effect.

McDonald's CEO

7 Scientist on BSE SRM in USA

brain dead feeders, want brain dead consumers

American Feed Indusuy Association
Comments to FDA on Docket 2002N-0273
December 19,2005
192 1 TO 13018276870 rj. 04,'04
concerns as are scientiIically justified through previous actions banning
the use of SRMs and
downers in the food supply and related products.

In summary, AFIA generally supports FDA’s proposed rule, but believes the
should be amended to allow in animal feed brains and spinal cords from dead
and nonambulatory
cattle less than 30 month of age.

FDA should pursue testing methodologies to detect
B/SC in feed. The rendering industry should be required to keep additional
records, and
rendering industry customers shouId not have a duplicative recordkeeping
burden. FDA and
other federal agencies, in concert with state and industry interests, must
address and develop
practical and responsible alternatives and funding for disposal of
additional carcasses and SRM
material produced under this proposal.
AFL4 appreciates the opportunity to offer these comments.
Richard Sellers
Vice President, Feed Control & Nutrition
American Feed Industry Association
1501 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 22209

NCBA in short ;


The NCBA has and remains completely dedicated to following a science and
risk analysis based
program to prevent the introduction, amplification and spread of BSE.
However, at this time,
more than 15 years of action, information and analysis, and in particular
data from the expanded
BSE surveillance program indicate that no data exists to support the FDA
altering the existing
feed regulations.


Darling International


Darling supports science-based rulemaking to address animal health issues.
Based on results of the enhanced BSE surveillance program administered by
APHIS, however, BSE is not an animal health issue in the United States and
additional safeguards, such as those proposed, are not necessary to further
protect animal health. ...


North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers
Division of Dockets Management
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
Response to Docket No. 2002N-0273, Proposed Rule Substances Prohibited From
Use in Animal
Food or Feed
Executive Summary
The North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers Association agrees
with the
conclusion of the FDA that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that
BSE infectivity is
present in bovine blood. Banning the use of bovine blood or blood fractions
in ruminant
rations will not reduce the risk of exposure of humans or animals to BSE
infectivity. Animal
health will be compromised if the use of bovine blood or blood proteins in
ruminant feeds is


pharmaceutical supplier Seriologicals Corp.
9 December 2005


9 December 2005
Division of Dockets Management (RFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane
Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
Re: Docket No: 2002N-0273 (formerly Docket No. 02N-0273)
Substances Prohibited From Use in Animal Food and Feed
Dear Sir or Madame:
Serologicals Corporation is a global provider of biological products to life
science companies.
The Company’s products are essential for the research, development and
manufacturing of
biologically based diagnostic, pharmaceutical and biological products.
customers include
many of the leading research institutions, diagnostic and pharmaceutical
companies throughout
the world. The Company’s products and technologies are used in a wide
variety of applications
within the areas of neurobiology, cell signaling, oncology, angiogenesis,
developmental biology, cellular physiology, hematology, immunology,
cardiology, infectious
diseases and molecular biology.
A number of our products are derived from bovine blood or other bovine
tissues sourced in the
United States, hence the overall health of the national herd is extremely
important to our
company as well as to our customers and their patients. Some of our bovine
based products are
used in the manufacture of vaccines and drugs for humans, hence it is
critical that all measures
are taken to assure these are safe and free from disease especially Bovine
Encephalopathy (BSE). The most effective way to insure this is to create a
system which
processes cattle that are BSE free. ...


The current proposed rule falls short of this and would still leave a
potential source of infectivity
in the system. In fact by the FDA’s own statement the exempted tissues which
are known to
have infectivity (such as distal ileum, DRGs, etc) would cumulatively amount
to 10% of the
infectivity in an infected animal, This proposed rule would still allow for
the possibility that
cattle could be exposed to BSE through:
1. Feeding of materials currently subject to legal exemptions from the ban
(e.g., poultry
litter, plate waste)
2. Cross feeding (the feeding of non-ruminant rations to ruminants) on
farms; and
3. Cross contamination of ruminant and non-ruminant feed
We are most concerned that the FDA has chosen to include a provision which
would allow
tissues from deadstock into the feed chain. We do not support the provision
to allow the removal
of brain and spinal cord from down and deadstock over 30 months of age for
several reasons.
These are the animals with the highest level of infectivity in tissues which
include more than
brain and spinal cord. We do not feel that there can be adequate removal and
enforcement of this
regulation especially during warmer weather. In addition there is emerging
information that at
end stage disease, infectivity may also be included in additionai tissues
such as peripheral nerves
(Buschmann and Groschup, 2005).
Leaving the tissues from these cattle in the animal feed chain will
effectively nullify the intent of
this regulation. This point is illustrated by the 2001 Harvard risk
assessment model which
demonstrated that eliminating dead and downer, 4D cattle, from the feed
stream was a
disproportionately effective means of reducing the risk of re-infection “The
disposition of c&e
that die on the farm would also have a substantial influence on the spread
of BSE if the disease
were in traduced. ...


James J. Kramer, Ph.D.
Vice President, Corporate Operations

Dr. Paul Brown

Feb. 2, 2006, 9:20PM
Cattle checks called flawed
Inspectors let suspect animals into food chain

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON - Federal inspectors on the watch for mad cow disease have permitted animals unable to walk to enter the food chain, despite fears that such animals could harbor the dread illness.

Investigators for the Agriculture Department's Inspector General's Office found records at two unidentified slaughterhouses that showed inspectors for the Food Safety and Inspection Service had allowed 29 nonambulatory, or "downer," cows to be slaughtered between June 2004 and April 2005.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service had issued rules that allowed its inspectors to give the green light to slaughter downer cows, if those animals were known to have suffered an acute injury after passing a previous inspection, the Inspector General noted in a report released Thursday.

But the investigators could find no records for 20 of the 29 animals that indicated the animals in question had suffered severe injuries.

The Inspector General's Office went further, saying that by allowing any of these animals into the food chain, the agency was not abiding by its own regulations.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service's policy states that all animals that are unable to walk will be kept out of the food chain "regardless of the reason for their nonambulatory status or the time at which they became nonambulatory," the Inspector General's report said.

USDA officials have promised to clarify their rules regarding the slaughter of nonambulatory animals.

In a review of 12 facilities across the country, investigators also learned that some downer animals were not tested for mad cow by USDA inspectors stationed at slaughterhouses, because the potentially diseased cows were separated out from healthier animals on premises adjacent to the slaughter facilities.

Agency inspectors "stated they did not believe that they had the authority to go into these sorting ... areas and require that the rejected animals be provided ... for sampling," the report noted.

Bill Hyman, executive director of the Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas, said his organization's members were "disappointed to hear they're not abiding by their own rules. As cattle producers, we attempt to abide by the rules, and we would expect the USDA to abide by the same rules."

USDA rules also ban certain parts where mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is most likely to develop.

Investigators found no evidence such materials entered the food chain, but they could not determine whether proper procedures were followed to ensure that was not happening in nine of the 12 facilities visited as part of the probe.

The Inspector General's report represents another black eye for the Agriculture Department and its efforts to assure the world American beef is safe.

The report comes two weeks after Japan again closed its borders to U.S. beef products after inspectors there discovered pieces of backbone in a veal shipment.

While such meat products would be deemed safe for human consumption in the United States, Japan has forbidden their import because of mad cow concerns. A USDA inspector had approved that shipment.

As a safeguard, the USDA requires removal of so-called specified risk materials, or SRM, such as brains and spinal cords, from older cattle.

"If you look at any audit that was ever done, we have found we have never had SRMs get in the food supply," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns told Reuters on Thursday.



FDA has determined that each animal could have consumed, at most and in total, five-and-one-half grams - approximately a quarter ounce -- of prohibited material. These animals weigh approximately 600 pounds.

It is important to note that the prohibited material was domestic in origin (therefore not likely to contain infected material because there is no evidence of BSE in U.S. cattle), fed at a very low level, and fed only once. The potential risk of BSE to such cattle is therefore exceedingly low, even if the feed were contaminated.

Nature 421, 459 (2003); doi:10.1038/421459a

All the President's yes-men?

George W. Bush's administration stands accused of biasing the process by
which the US government obtains scientific advice. There is a strong
case to answer, but the situation is not as unusual as it might at first

The relationship between science and politics is never perfect, but
critics charge that the current US administration has so politicized the
provision of scientific advice that it could permanently undermine
public trust.

Just last week, a storm of protest greeted the announcement that Jerry
Thacker, an HIV-positive Christian activist who has referred to AIDS as
a "gay plague", would be appointed to the Presidential Advisory
Commission on HIV and AIDS. Three months before, a committee advising
the Department of Health and Human Services on protecting volunteers in
clinical trials was asked to consider whether embryos should be included
within its remit (see Nature 420, 3 4; 2002) a move that critics saw
as part of a wider anti-abortion agenda.

The controversy extends to committees that review grant applications.
Potential appointees to the panel advising the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health, for instance, were asked their views on
office safety standards just one example, critics allege, of political
considerations impinging on appointments that should depend on
scientific merit. The fear is that scientists will refuse to serve on
panels that are seen as rubber stamps for administration policies,
undermining the quality of the advice given to government agencies and
eroding public trust.

Some of the recent developments are disturbing. If the committee on
human research subjects gets bogged down discussing abortion politics
instead of how to protect patients in clinical trials, lives could be
put at risk. Members of committees reviewing grant applications should
be selected for their scientific expertise, not their political views.

But successive US administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have
packed advisory committees with scientists and other experts who share
their political outlook. This only becomes a major issue for the
scientific community when the views in question jar with its majority
opinion, or the politicization is blatant.

Those with long memories say that the present outcry is reminiscent of
the furore inspired by Ronald Reagan's administration in the early
1980s, when it tried similar tactics with committees advising the
Environmental Protection Agency then seen as a thorn in the side of
the administration's pro-business policies. This sorry episode alienated
environmental scientists, but thankfully the administration eventually
backed off and most of the damage was repaired.

There is some comfort to be gained from the checks and balances inherent
to the system. The degree of transparency in the formulation of
science-led policy in the United States has few parallels in the rest of
the world. It is rare indeed for the public to be able to influence
government decisions about who sits on the panels and what they discuss.
And so far, public input seems to be having a positive effect last
week's storm led Thacker to withdraw from the HIV panel.

This does not mean that the critics should relax. They should look back
at the actions of previous administrations to determine the extent to
which the current moves represent a departure from accepted practice.
The National Academies' Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public
Policy is set to take up these questions at its next meeting on 19
February, providing a welcome and timely forum.

Scientists should fight undue attempts by the Bush administration to
politicize the advisory process, and extend the same scrutiny to future
administrations, whatever their political persuasion.

Macmillan MagazinesNature © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2003 Registered No.
785998 England.

From: TSS ()
Subject: PrPSc distribution of a natural case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
Date: August 8, 2005 at 12:28 pm PST

PrPSc distribution of a natural case of bovine
spongiform encephalopathy

Yoshifumi Iwamaru, Yuka Okubo, Tamako Ikeda, Hiroko Hayashi, Mori-
kazu Imamura, Takashi Yokoyama and Morikazu Shinagawa

Priori Disease Research Center, National Institute of Animal Health, 3-1-5
Kannondai, Tsukuba 305-0856 Japan


Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a disease of cattle that causes
progressive neurodegeneration of the central nervous system. Infectivity
of BSE agent is accompanied with an abnormal isoform of prion protein

The specified risk materials (SRM) are tissues potentially carrying BSE
infectivity. The following tissues are designated as SRM in Japan: the
skull including the brain and eyes but excluding the glossa and the masse-
ter muscle, the vertebral column excluding the vertebrae of the tail, spinal
cord, distal illeum. For a risk management step, the use of SRM in both
animal feed or human food has been prohibited. However, detailed
PrPSc distribution remains obscure in BSE cattle and it has caused con-
troversies about definitions of SRM. Therefore we have examined PrPSc
distribution in a BSE cattle by Western blotting to reassess definitions of

The 11th BSE case in Japan was detected in fallen stock surveillance.
The carcass was stocked in the refrigerator. For the detection of PrPSc,
200 mg of tissue samples were homogenized. Following collagenase
treatment, samples were digested with proteinase K. After digestion,
PrPSc was precipitated by sodium phosphotungstate (PTA). The pellets
were subjected to Western blotting using the standard procedure.
Anti-prion protein monoclonal antibody (mAb) T2 conjugated horseradish
peroxidase was used for the detection of PrPSc.

PrPSc was detected in brain, spinal cord, dorsal root ganglia, trigeminal
ganglia, sublingual ganglion, retina. In addition, PrPSc was also detected
in the peripheral nerves (sciatic nerve, tibial nerve, vagus nerve).

Our results suggest that the currently accepted definitions of SRM in
BSE cattle may need to be reexamined.


T. Kitamoto (Ed.)
Food and Drug Safety



proceedings "PRIONS" of
International Symposium of Prion Diseases held in Sendai, October 31
to November 2, 2004.

Tetsuyuki Kitamoto
Professor and Chairman
Department of Prion Research
Tohoku University School of Medicine
2-1 SeiryoAoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, JAPAN
TEL +81-22-717-8147 FAX +81-22-717-8148
Symposium Secretariat
Kyomi Sasaki
TEL +81-22-717-8233 FAX +81-22-717-7656



Vet Pathol 42:107–108 (2005)

Letters to the Editor


Absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence.

In the article ‘‘Failure to detect prion protein (PrPres) by

immunohistochemistry in striated muscle tissues of animals

experimentally inoculated with agents of transmissible spongiform

encephalopathy,’’ recently published in Veterinary

Pathology (41:78–81, 2004), PrPres was not detected in striated

muscle of experimentally infected elk, cattle, sheep, and

raccoons by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Negative IHC,

however, does not exclude the presence of PrPSc. For example,

PrPres was detected in skeletal muscle in 8 of 32

humans with the prion disease, sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob

disease (CJD), using sodium phosphotungstic acid (NaPTA)

precipitation and western blot.1 The NaPTA precipitation,

described by Wadsworth et al.,3 concentrates the abnormal

isoform of the prion, PrPres, from a large tissue homogenate

volume before western blotting. This technique has increased

the sensitivity of the western blot up to three orders

of magnitude and could be included in assays to detect

PrPres. Extremely conspicuous deposits of PrPres in muscle

were detected by IHC in a recent case report of an individual

with inclusion body myositis and CJD.2 Here, PrPres was

detected in the muscle by immunoblotting, IHC, and paraf-

fin-embedded tissue blot. We would therefore caution that,

in addition to IHC, highly sensitive biochemical assays and

bioassays of muscle are needed to assess the presence or

absence of prions from muscle in experimental and natural

TSE cases.

Christina Sigurdson, Markus Glatzel, and Adriano Aguzzi

Institute of Neuropathology

University Hospital of Zurich

Zurich, Switzerland


1 Glatzel M, Abela E, et al: Extraneural pathologic prion

protein in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. N Engl J

Med 349(19):1812–1820, 2003

2 Kovacs GG, Lindeck-Pozza E, et al: Creutzfeldt-Jakob

disease and inclusion body myositis: abundant diseaseassociated

prion protein in muscle. Ann Neurol 55(1):

121–125, 2004

3 Wadsworth JDF, Joiner S, et al: Tissue distribution of protease

resistant prion protein in variant CJD using a highly

sensitive immuno-blotting assay. Lancet 358:171–180,



EFSA Scientific Report on the Assessment of the Geographical BSE-Risk (GBR) of the United States of America (USA)
Last updated: 19 July 2005
Adopted July 2004 (Question N° EFSA-Q-2003-083)

Summary of the Scientific Report

The European Food Safety Authority and its Scientific Expert Working Group on the Assessment of the Geographical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Risk (GBR) were asked by the European Commission (EC) to provide an up-to-date scientific report on the GBR in the United States of America, i.e. the likelihood of the presence of one or more cattle being infected with BSE, pre-clinically as well as clinically, in USA. This scientific report addresses the GBR of USA as assessed in 2004 based on data covering the period 1980-2003.

The BSE agent was probably imported into USA and could have reached domestic cattle in the middle of the eighties. These cattle imported in the mid eighties could have been rendered in the late eighties and therefore led to an internal challenge in the early nineties. It is possible that imported meat and bone meal (MBM) into the USA reached domestic cattle and leads to an internal challenge in the early nineties.

A processing risk developed in the late 80s/early 90s when cattle imports from BSE risk countries were slaughtered or died and were processed (partly) into feed, together with some imports of MBM. This risk continued to exist, and grew significantly in the mid 90’s when domestic cattle, infected by imported MBM, reached processing. Given the low stability of the system, the risk increased over the years with continued imports of cattle and MBM from BSE risk countries.

EFSA concludes that the current GBR level of USA is III, i.e. it is likely but not confirmed that domestic cattle are (clinically or pre-clinically) infected with the BSE-agent. As long as there are no significant changes in rendering or feeding, the stability remains extremely/very unstable. Thus, the probability of cattle to be (pre-clinically or clinically) infected with the BSE-agent persistently increases.

Publication date: 20 August 2004


Johanns et al are responsible for this continued year after year after year of blundering the BSE surveillance in the USA. They (HE) is no different than the TOP of ENRON, and Johanns et al should be on trial somewhere, if not here, then they will be judged in hell, along with there whole regime for ignoring the 'sound science' all for a buck. it's called GWs BSE MRR policy, the legal trading of all strains of BSE/TSE globally. ...TSS

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