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From: TSS ()
Date: October 14, 2006 at 10:33 am PST

U.S. pressures S.K. to accept potentially dangerous beef imports
U.S. urged acceptance of meat with bone fragments, feared for mad cow disease

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on October 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture last month urged South Korea to approve imports of beef with bone fragments.

Under current import conditions, if imported beef is found to contain special risk material (SRM), such as bone fragments, imports of U.S. beef will be stopped. U.S. beef had previously been banned in South Korea and Japan following the discovery of mad cow disease in the U.S.; bone matter is how the disease is thought to be transmitted to humans. South Korea¡¯s ban lasted from December 2003 to January this year, when it agreed to begin permitting imports of bone-free beef from U.S. cattle under 30 months old.

The government, however, has delayed imports of U.S. beef, citing an unspecified "hygiene problem," and finally decided to resume imports on September 8. However, no U.S. beef is back on the domestic market yet.

According to the ministry, the U.S. letters said that "during the slaughter process, bone fragments or cartilage can get into the beef, but they have nothing to do with mad cow disease."

Lee Sang-gil, an official of the ministry, said, "If bone fragments are found in the quarantine process, shipments of U.S. beef will be sent back and shipments from the sites involved will be suspended," adding, "in order to prevent such a situation, the U.S. beef exporters are waiting for the bone fragment problem to be resolved." The U.S. Department of Agriculture may have sent letters to the South Korean government after being pressured by the U.S. beef industry, he said.

Regarding this, Lee said, "We will maintain our position not to import beef cuts containing bone fragments according to the agreement reached in January. We are going to convey such a message through the U.S. embassy in Seoul after we understand the U.S.¡¯s intention."

Hong Kong has also temporarily suspended imports of U.S. beef in March of this year after small bone fragments were found.

Korea rebuffs request for bone fragment tolerance
Lean Trimmings
Edited by Elliotte Bowerman
Last week, USDA sent a team to South Korea to meet with officials to better understand Korea's technical restrictions for U.S. beef. One of the issues the team hoped to reach an understanding about was bone fragments in boneless beef. South Korean officials, unfortunately, indicated that they would have a zero-tolerance standard for such fragments, even including cartilage, and that certain specific fragments would be considered a Specified Risk Material (SRM) for BSE.
As of Sept. 15, no U.S. beef shipments were made to South Korea, according to USDA data, despite USDA having posted Korea to its export library. Before the country banned U.S. beef, South Korea was the second-biggest importer of U.S. beef.

> According to the ministry, the U.S. letters said that "during the slaughter process, bone fragments or

> cartilage can get into the beef, but they have nothing to do with mad cow disease."

Beef Bones Regulations Guidance Notes
Tuesday 09 October 2001










This opinion addresses the following questions regarding the safety of dicalcium and

tricalcium phosphate produced from ruminant bones:

"Can dicalcium phosphate and tricalcium phosphate (DCP and TCP) derived from

ruminant bones, be considered to be free of BSE infectivity?

If not, under which conditions of sourcing of the material (geographical and animal)

and/or of type of material used (e.g. specified risk materials and/or age of the animal

and/or production process can it be considered as safe for use in animal feed or as a


On 26 June 1998, the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) adopted for the first time

an opinion on the safety of dicalcium phosphate. The report attached to the opinion

was updated by the SSC at its meeting of 26-27 October 2000. Early 2002, the results

of a recent TSE inactivation study became available, as well as new information on

the production, raw materials and uses of dicalcium phosphate. The TSE/BSE ad hoc

Group evaluated this new information and prepared the attached report, which served

as basis for the updated SSC opinion hereafter.



BSE can be found in various animal species, but as far as the production of

phosphates from animal bones is concerned, only bovines and pigs are of interest.

Bones from pigs are not considered to pose a BSE risk because no BSE has been

reported in this species under field conditions. The opinion hereafter applies to

phosphates derived from bovine bones. They may be contaminated with infectivity,

for example if skull or vertebrae were accidentally included in the raw materials. Also,

in one bovine experiment, bone marrow has been found infectious during part of the

life cycle1. A separate risk assessment may be required for phosphates derived from

small ruminant bones, should BSE in small ruminants be present or probable and

should their bones be used for the production of phosphates. Such risk assessment

should take into account the fact that GBR-C (Geographical BSE risk for cattle)

related sourcing is not necessarily (yet) applicable in case of small ruminants as the

GBR-S (GBR for small ruminants) takes an additional number of risk factors into

account compared to GBR-C.

The concentration levels of dicalcium phosphate (DCP) and tricalcium phosphate

(TCP) in feed are low (below 1% of the total feed dry matter consumed per day).

However, there is existing evidence of the possible presence of remaining impurities

of a proteinaceous nature (approx. 0.50-0.60 %2). Only preliminary analysis results are

available on the composition of these impurities.

1 An experimental error or laboratory contamination has, however, not been excluded.

2 Calculated from Nitrogen content multiplied by 6.25



Regarding dicalcium phosphate (DCP):

Cattle from countries with a geographical BSE risk (GBR) level of I do not

represent a BSE risk, neither does the dicalcium phosphate sourced from

animals from such countries.

Given the low concentration levels of DCP in feed (bellow 1% of the

concentrate dry matter), the BSE risk from Dicalcium phosphate can be

considered to be negligible, if sourced from animals from countries wit a GBR

level of II, III and IV and from animals fit for human consumption and after

15 Initially adopted by the Scientific Steering Committee at its meeting of 22-23 October 1998 and

updated at its meeting of 25-26 May 2000


SRM removal, and provided the production was carried out as described in the

above report. This production should have resulted in a residual proteinaceous

fraction not exceeding 0,60 % and with 98% of it having a molecular weight

below 10.000Daltons.

Note: The definition of animals fit for human consumption varies according to

the Geographical BSE risk in cattle (GBR-C) level. For example, in the UK

the OTMS applies for animals above 30 months. Pending the outcome of a

quantitative assessment of the residual risk in phosphates derived from OTMS

bovines from GBR-C IV countries, it can not be assessed whether it would be

significantly higher than for GBR-C II and GBR-C III countries.

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

ANOTHER REASON GW et al and the OIE did away with the BSE GBR risk assessments to go with the free trading of all TSEs with there enfamous BSE MRR policy.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture was quick to assure the public earlier this week that the third case of mad cow disease did not pose a risk to them, but what federal officials have not acknowledged is that this latest case indicates the deadly disease has been circulating in U.S. herds for at least a decade.

The second case, which was detected last year in a Texas cow and which USDA officials were reluctant to verify, was approximately 12 years old.

These two cases (the latest was detected in an Alabama cow) present a picture of the disease having been here for 10 years or so, since it is thought that cows usually contract the disease from contaminated feed they consume as calves. The concern is that humans can contract a fatal, incurable, brain-wasting illness from consuming beef products contaminated with the mad cow pathogen.

"The fact the Texas cow showed up fairly clearly implied the existence of other undetected cases," Dr. Paul Brown, former medical director of the National Institutes of Health's Laboratory for Central Nervous System Studies and an expert on mad cow-like diseases, told United Press International. "The question was, 'How many?' and we still can't answer that."

Brown, who is preparing a scientific paper based on the latest two mad cow cases to estimate the maximum number of infected cows that occurred in the United States, said he has "absolutely no confidence in USDA tests before one year ago" because of the agency's reluctance to retest the Texas cow that initially tested positive.

USDA officials finally retested the cow and confirmed it was infected seven months later, but only at the insistence of the agency's inspector general.

"Everything they did on the Texas cow makes everything USDA did before 2005 suspect," Brown said. ...snip...end

on the lighter side of things;

Disease lab dumping raises questions in Ames

by Stella Shaffer

An investigation's beginning into whether the National Animal Disease Lab in Ames dumped material from animal autopsies into the city sewage treatment system in Ames. The federal Environmental Protection Agency confirms the city of Ames has called the regional E-P-A office in Kansas City asking for advice.

E-P-A spokesman Martin Kessler says the city's trying to determine just how long the lab's been discharging fluid from its operations into the city's water treatment system. The lab on the north side of Ames takes in animals suspected of having ailments including foot and mouth disease and B-S-E, and does testing on them. Some material from the bodies of animals with Mad Cow contains prions, proteins that are thought to transmit the disease.

Kessler says the E-P-A's been told the lab was bleaching the waste, but that process doesn't kill prions. The lab's been advised to incinerate its animal waste, and a city engineer says there doesn't seem to be any imminent threat, but an investigation is underway.



Subject: [Docket No. FSIS-2006-0011] FSIS Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine
Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

[Docket No. 03-025IFA] FSIS Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk
Materials for Human Food and Requirement for the Disposition of
Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle

Terry S. Singeltary


Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
P.O. Box 42
Bacliff, Texas USA 77518

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