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From: TSS ()
Subject: AG Announces Suit Against Meat Rendering Plant; Complaint Alleges Newark Facility is Longtime Polluter
Date: July 25, 2007 at 1:58 pm PST

For Immediate Release: For Further Information:

May 10, 2007 Lee Moore

Office of The Attorney General
- Stuart Rabner, Attorney General

AG Announces Suit Against Meat Rendering Plant;
Complaint Alleges Newark Facility is Longtime Polluter, Has Ignored State Law

TRENTON -- Attorney General Stuart Rabner announced today the filing of a state lawsuit charging an Essex County meat rendering plant with being a persistent polluter, and seeking a court-order requiring that the plant immediately correct long-standing violations of environmental law.

The lawsuit, filed with the New Jersey Superior Court in Essex County, names as defendants the American Rendering Corporation, Berkowitz Fat Company, Harry Berkowitz Industries, Inc. and plant owner Seymour Berkowitz individually. The plant, which processes more than a million pounds of meat waste per week, is located on Bay Avenue in the Ironbound section of Newark.

According to the lawsuit, the state Department of Environmental Protection has conducted numerous inspections at the rendering plant since 2005 and, as a result, has assessed more than $2 million in pollution-related civil penalties against the defendants.

“We have gone to court because, despite the assessment of more than $2 million in civil penalties and recent revocation by the state of its air quality permits, this facility continues to conduct business-as-usual,” said Attorney General Stuart Rabner. “Not only are these defendants ignoring the law, they are posing a threat to the environment and to public safety. We are seeking to stop any and all offending activity at the plant until these threats are eliminated.”

“The deplorable conditions we uncovered at this facility conjure up an era when industry had no environmental conscience,” said DEP Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson. “It steels our resolve to ferret out operations that demonstrate total indifference to New Jersey's environment and the quality of life in our urban communities such as Newark's Ironbound section.”

Violations found during DEP inspections – and not yet corrected, according to the state -- include the rendering of meat in cookers with air pollution control equipment that is disconnected or inoperable, use of grease rather than fuel oil in the facility’s boiler (potentially leading to emission of air pollutants and obnoxious odors), failure to record and submit required air pollution emissions records, and failure to report a fire.

In addition, the state has cited the plant as a source of water pollution via run-off and direct discharge containing such contaminants as fat and grease, blood, diesel fuel and used engine oil. The state has also cited the plant for its continuing outdoor storage of tons of uncovered meat waste, which creates a breeding ground for pests and vermin.

The complaint also charges that Seymour Berkowtiz refused to admit DEP inspectors to the plant on Jan. 29, 2007, and failed to take corrective actions that he promised the DEP would be undertaken. Specifically, Berkowitz furnished DEP in February 2007 with a list of 13 immediate and on-going remedial actions he intended to take but, during a DEP inspection at the plant on May 1, inspectors saw no evidence of any attempt to correct the violations.

Meat rendering plants typically cook or render animal materials for use in making tallow, grease, protein meal and/or bone meal. According to the state’s lawsuit, meat waste is brought into the Berkowitz facility by trucks and dumped onto the ground. The meat waste, including grease and blood, is routinely left outside and exposed to rain, heat, vermin, etc. The waste is eventually transported along a conveyor and crushed, then rendered in the plant’s cook-house. After the rendering process, the waste is separated into tallow/grease, protein meal and bone meal, and sold as a commodity.

In addition to the potential environmental damage caused by its continuing operation, the state contends the meat rendering plant poses a significant public nuisance, since it often emits overpowering odors within a quarter-mile of many businesses and private residences.

The matter was handled on behalf of the state by DAG Gary Wolf and DAG Daniel Greenhouse from the Division of Law.





1. This is a civil action brought to enjoin the unlawful activities associated with defendants' meat rendering business which include generally:

(Count One) the unlawful operation of meat waste processing equipment that emits harmful air pollution, including extreme and obnoxious odors, in violation of the Air Pollution Control Act, N.J.S.A. 26:2C-1 et seq., (the "APCA");

(Count Two) the unlawful discharges of petroleum, BLOOD, grease and other rendering wastes to the ground and ground water, in violation of the Water Pollution Control Act (the "WPCA"), N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq.;

(Count Three) the outdoor uncovered storage of meat waste at the facility in violation of the Solid Waste Management Act ("SWMA"), N.J.S.A. 13:1E-1 et seq.; and

(Count Four) the creation of an unreasonable public nuisance by constituting a major source of obnoxious odors and a breeding-ground for pests and vermin. Hereinafter, the above cited statutes will be referred to collectively as "the Acts."


NOW, what about potential for blood infectivity and TSE? I remember the time they said that blood was safe, no transmission to humans. Until they documented it. same goes for TSE Blood infectivity in BSE, and what about BASE?
Where are the transmission studies showing that blood from BASE mad cow cattle was/is safe ???

Project Number: 3625-32000-086-04
Project Type: Specific C/A

Start Date: Sep 01, 2004
End Date: Aug 31, 2007

The objective of this cooperative research project is to obtain material from an oral bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) pathogenesis study performed at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA)-Weybridge in the United Kingdom. These BSE materials will be used to identify PrPd tissue distribution and migration in BSE infected cattle.

We will obtain various materials from the bovine spongiform encephalophathy (BSE) oral pathogenesis study. These materials will be used to identify PrPd tissue distribution and migration employing validated and non-validated PrPd detecting methods developed at the NADC for use with CWD and scrapie. At necropsy, approximately 80 samples were taken from the animals at various time points post infection. This study also included ante mortem sampling of body fluids like blood, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, saliva, nasal secretions, feces and milk at determined intervals.

Project Number: 3625-32000-086-05
Project Type: Specific C/A

Start Date: Sep 15, 2004
End Date: Sep 14, 2007

The objective of this cooperative research project with Dr. Maria Caramelli from the Italian BSE Reference Laboratory in Turin, Italy, is to conduct comparative studies with the U.S. bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) isolate and the atypical BSE isolates identified in Italy. The studies will cover the following areas: 1. Evaluation of present diagnostics tools used in the U.S. for the detection of atypical BSE cases. 2. Molecular comparison of the U.S. BSE isolate and other typical BSE isolates with atypical BSE cases. 3. Studies on transmissibility and tissue distribution of atypical BSE isolates in cattle and other species.

This project will be done as a Specific Cooperative Agreement with the Italian BSE Reference Laboratory, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, in Turin, Italy. It is essential for the U.S. BSE surveillance program to analyze the effectiveness of the U.S diagnostic tools for detection of atypical cases of BSE. Molecular comparisons of the U.S. BSE isolate with atypical BSE isolates will provide further characterization of the U.S. BSE isolate. Transmission studies are already underway using brain homogenates from atypical BSE cases into mice, cattle and sheep. It will be critical to see whether the atypical BSE isolates behave similarly to typical BSE isolates in terms of transmissibility and disease pathogenesis. If transmission occurs, tissue distribution comparisons will be made between cattle infected with the atypical BSE isolate and the U.S. BSE isolate. Differences in tissue distribution could require new regulations regarding specific risk material (SRM) removal.


18 January 2007 - Draft minutes of the SEAC 95 meeting (426 KB) held on 7
December 2006 are now available.


64. A member noted that at the recent Neuroprion meeting, a study was
presented showing that in transgenic mice BSE passaged in sheep may be more
virulent and infectious to a wider range of species than bovine derived BSE.

Other work presented suggested that BSE and bovine amyloidotic spongiform
encephalopathy (BASE) MAY BE RELATED. A mutation had been identified in the


3:30 Transmission of the Italian Atypical BSE (BASE) in Humanized Mouse

Models Qingzhong Kong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pathology, Case Western Reserve

Bovine Amyloid Spongiform Encephalopathy (BASE) is an atypical BSE strain
discovered recently in Italy, and similar or different atypical BSE cases
were also reported in other countries. The infectivity and phenotypes of
these atypical BSE strains in humans are unknown. In collaboration with
Pierluigi Gambetti, as well as Maria Caramelli and her co-workers, we have
inoculated transgenic mice expressing human prion protein with brain
homogenates from BASE or BSE infected cattle. Our data shows that about half
of the BASE-inoculated mice became infected with an average incubation time
of about 19 months; in contrast, none of the BSE-inoculated mice appear to
be infected after more than 2 years.

***These results indicate that BASE is transmissible to humans and suggest that BASE is more virulent than
classical BSE in humans.***

6:30 Close of Day One

1997 TO 2006. SPORADIC CJD CASES TRIPLED, with phenotype
of 'UNKNOWN' strain growing. ...

There is a growing number of human CJD cases, and they were presented last
week in San Francisco by Luigi Gambatti(?) from his CJD surveillance

He estimates that it may be up to 14 or 15 persons which display selectively
SPRPSC and practically no detected RPRPSC proteins.

1:30 Infectivity in Urine of Hamsters Infected with Scrapie
Luisa Gregori, Ph.D., Assistant Director and Assistant Professor, VA Research Services and University of Maryland, BREF
Horizontal transmission from animal to animal of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) has been documented in the wild and in laboratory animals. The cause(s) of this transmission is not fully understood, although bodily excretions such as urine and feces are often proposed as potential sources of secondary exposure leading to horizontal transmissions. We report here on our investigation on infectivity in urine of TSE infected animals. Urine from hamsters infected with the 263K strain of scrapie was collected using metabolic cages and titered by intracerebral inoculation in the same animal species with the limiting dilution method. Five-ml equivalents of urine (diluted 1:3) were inoculated. After 357 days post inoculation, 11 animals developed scrapie with a titer of 2.3 +/- 0.4 ID/ml. No infectious have been observed in the cohort of animals inoculated with urine from control animals. Ten percent bladder and kidney tissue homogenates from infected hamsters were also titered using the end point titration method. At 343 days, the titers are 10(5.5) and 10(4. ID50/g for bladder and kidney, respectively. These results propose a new pathway of infection of the natural environment. The implications are far reaching from environmental contamination of pastures in the wild to risk management of domestic livestock and the safety of urine-derived therapeutic products.

2:00 Soil Minerals Enhance Prion Infectivity
Judd M. Aiken, DVM, Professor, Animal Health & Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine
We have recently demonstrated that prions bind clay and silica. The binding of PrPSc to a common soil clay (montmorillonite) is avid and this interaction enhances infectivity. The implications of this enhancement of transmission are far-reaching and include how scrapie and CWD are environmentally transmitted. The ramifications of these findings with regard to food safely will also be discussed.


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