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From: TSS (
Subject: Re: Japan may remove cows aged 20 months or younger from test a key advisory panel on mad cow disease will recommend Monday
Date: September 3, 2004 at 7:05 pm PST

In Reply to: Japan may remove cows aged 20 months or younger from test a key advisory panel on mad cow disease will recommend Monday posted by TSS on September 3, 2004 at 6:07 pm:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Japan may remove cows aged 20 months or younger from test
Date: Fri, 03 Sep 2004 21:08:02 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
References: <>

Restaurant displays information on cattle used for meat

TOKYO — Tsubame (Swallow) Corp, an operator of Tsubame restaurants in
Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture, displays information on beef
it serves at each of its 21 restaurants.

The information includes the identification number of each slaughtered
cow, the names of meat producers, their addresses, the days the animals
were screened for mad cow disease and the name of the agency that
carried out the examination.

Tsubame has developed its own system to identify each cattle part so
that it can disclose accurate information on the traceability of the
beef cattle it keeps in stock.

There has been growing interest in the safety of beef among consumers
since the first case of mad cow disease was confirmed in Japan in 2001.
The government banned imports of beef and beef products from the United
States after reports late last year said a Holstein cow had tested
positive for the disease.

Then there was an outbreak of bird flu in Asia earlier this year.

Tsubame's practice came even before the beef traceability law became
applicable to meat producers last December.

The law requires them to show 10-digit identification numbers on
packages of beef sold at supermarkets and other stores.

Retailers and restaurants where beef dishes account for more than 50% of
total sales are obliged to follow the law starting next December.

"Yakiniku," "shabu shabu," steak and sukiyaki restaurants will be among

But the law will not cover foreign beef, ground meat and cow innards.

Consumers will be able to find information on cow births and how the
cows were bred on the website of the National Livestock Breeding Center
based on the animals' individual identification number.

Tsubame uses 2.5 heads of cattle a day on average.

It stores its evaluation of the meat in a data base on the basis of
individual identification numbers and meat producers.

The information is passed on to the meat producers to help them improve
the quality of the animals they raise.

Yasumi Koura, managing director of Tsubame, came up with the idea of
displaying the information at the chain restaurants because he wanted
his customers to know where the livestock were raised.

"Our customers show a keen interest in the meat and ask questions on our
system," said the manager of Tsubame's restaurant in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward.

Prices of hamburger meat are rather high at more than a thousand yen but
Tsubame's sales have been growing 2% to 3% even after the mad cow case
was reported in the United States.

The restaurant industry as a whole has been slow to disclose information
on records of livestock.

Many of those that have served U.S. beef said they could get records of
breeding of beef cattle just prior to being sent to slaughterhouses but
they cannot track information on how they were brought to stock farms,
according to Yoshinoya D and C Co.

The All-Japan "Yakiniku" Association, comprising small and mid-size beef
businesses, has proposed that its member restaurants list individual
numbers on such menu items as roast beef and meat taken from parts
around beef ribs.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries expects that about
20,000 "yakiniku," "shabu shabu," steak, and sukiyaki restaurants will
introduce such a display formula while some of them have already started
making preparations.

Industry sources said consumers are likely to witness an obvious
disparity in the disclosure of information between these restaurants and
"gyudon" beef bowl rice and fast food hamburger restaurants that have a
high degree of reliance on foreign beef.

A major family restaurant businessman said it is doubtful whether
consumers really want information that includes identification numbers
of individual beef cattle.

But Tsubame's Koura said, "It takes time to follow through with
information disclosure but we are going to be left behind the times if
we don't." (Kyodo News)

September 4, 2004

> But the law will not cover foreign beef, ground meat and cow innards.
> Consumers will be able to find information on cow births and how the
> cows were bred on the website of the National Livestock Breeding
> Center based on the animals' individual identification number.

lotta luck there patner........;-)

Last update: September 3, 2004 at 7:57 PM

Animal tracking: Farmers want data to remain confidential

Joy Powell, Star Tribune
September 4, 2004 TRACKING0904

ST. CLOUD, MINN. -- Find it. Track it. Stop it.

Those are the goals of a nationwide animal-identification system being
rolled out to track livestock diseases and possible terrorist attacks on
the nation's food supply.

But while some farmers welcome the move, saying it will help bolster
consumer confidence in U.S. meat and help them market around the world,
many worry about how much will it cost them, who will keep the data
that's collected and how it will be used.

The tracking system is being implemented after the nation's first case
of mad cow disease and a highly pathogenic outbreak of avian influenza
in the past year.

Once it's up and running in the next few years, agriculture officials
said, the system will attempt to identify all animals and premises that
had direct contact with a foreign animal disease within 48 hours after

It would use a variety of technologies to track animals and poultry from
birth to processing.

There are still many unknowns in the ambitious plan, which is being
developed by the government and agriculture industry as they follow in
the footsteps of other countries, such as Canada, which track livestock.
The U.S. government has awarded initial funding for setting up the
project, but farmers expect they'll have to chip in to cover costs and
labor. For now, the system is voluntary, though there's a good chance it
will become mandatory later.

What just about everyone seems to agree on, though, is that some sort of
animal identification system is needed.

"This system is a very important component in our effort to protect our
livestock industries from the harmful impacts of disease outbreaks and
the threat of agro-terrorism," Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene
Hugoson told about 50 farmers Tuesday in St. Cloud during a session by
the U.S. Department of Agriculture to gather farmer input.

The government has allocated $18.8 million in nationwide emergency
funding for the first phase, which involves setting up a system to
identify as many livestock farms, markets and slaughterhouses as
possible in the next year. Minnesota will receive nearly $435,000 in the
first phase, which begins in October.

The agency has yet to determine overall costs for the system, which will
take several years to fully implement. For 2005, President Bush's budget
requests $33 million to continue identifying premises as well as to
identify animals, issue tags and test technologies.

The system will track animals across state lines, and later, within
states. Data will include the animal's tag number and the date the
animal is spotted by government workers on a farm, at a market or in a

Farmers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, however, said they
want guarantees that the information they provide will remain
confidential. They fear that agro-terrorists could use it to introduce
diseases. They also worry packers could use it to discount prices to
farmers by using projections of meat supplies to manipulate cash-market
prices. Officials say that won't happen.

Farmers worry that they might shoulder much of the program cost or that
they might be sued if disease outbreaks are traced to their farms.

"Producers should not be held liable for any food-contamination
incidents that occur, such as E. coli when meat is improperly processed
or handled," said Sue Beitlich, president of Wisconsin Farmers Union.
"This is clearly beyond the farmer's control."

Voluntary start

Confidentiality is an issue so contentious that the program is starting
out as voluntary while concerns are addressed. It might become mandatory
after officials reassess the system.

Donavon Stromberg of the Minnesota Farm Bureau said he fears there will
be little compliance unless farmers are assured that the information
will not be passed to private companies, and that it won't be used for
other regulatory purposes. Stromberg is a dairy farmer from Mora.

William Hawks, undersecretary for USDA marketing and regulatory programs
in Washington, D.C., tried to allay fears at Tuesday's session, the last
of 14 held around the nation by the USDA's Animal Plant and Health
Inspection Service. He said the information would not be turned over to
private companies or overstep intended regulatory boundaries.

"We're looking for such a small amount of information," he said. "We're
looking for the movement."

Dale Lueck, an Aitkin County beef farmer, urged officials to make sure
that all 50 states develop compatible systems as livestock move across
state lines.

"Don't allow 50 states to go out and implement 50 different systems,"
Lueck said. "That's not a good use of taxpayers' money."

Steve Peterson of Holstein Association USA called for a mandatory system
for trade reasons.

"Without a mandatory animal identification program in this country, we
will continue to be denied market access in certain countries throughout
the world," he said. "Currently, 58 countries have banned U.S. beef
since BSE was identified in Washington state last year."

Larry Liepold, president of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association,
said a mandatory system would protect the state's $1.7 billion hog
industry as well as the nation's $100 billion livestock industry.

Dennis Sjodin, a Cambridge cattle farmer and vice president of the
Minnesota Farmers Union, said he's concerned that small farmers might be
hit hardest by the additional costs. He and other farmers from
Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota asked that the costs be spread
equitably among the government, consumers and farmers.

Indications of the program's cost can be found in Good Thunder, Minn.

That's where farmer Paul FitzSimmons uses a radio-frequency
identification system that might become the state's model. At his farm,
readers that look like tiny paddles are waved over each eartag, which
has tiny antennae. They read each 16-digit ID number to track by
computer how much each animal eats, as well as other data.

Each tag costs about $2.50, and he and his workers can tag about 10
piglets in 20 seconds. The computer hardware now costs $5,000-$6,000.
Software comes with the tags.

"If we have to go to a national ID system, in most cases I think the
industry is ready for it," FitzSimmons said. "The technology's there to
get it done, but we still have to figure out how to cover the cost."

With 100 million pigs killed each year in the United States, for
example, tag costs alone would be $250 million, he said.

Digital Angel Corp. of South St. Paul makes the radio-frequency eartags.
The firm estimates costs for the national ID system at $5 to $7 per
animal, spokesman Mike Fearing said.

That includes a complete infrastructure with a national database for
storing premise and animal ID's, another for allocating a premise number
and animal number, another for reporting activity such as animal
transfer to another premise, and finally, the tags and readers, Fearing

The state's pilot project will work with Digital Angel and farmers to
test the use of radio frequency identification in swine and beef herds,
said Dr. Bill Hartmann, executive director of the Minnesota Board of
Animal Health.

To develop the database system, the board will upload data from the
FitzSimmons farm. That will enable officials to track the movement of
hogs leaving the farm, Hartmann said.

'Visual tags' already in use

Most livestock producers already use visual tags for day-to-day animal
management, with their own numbering system. The radio frequency tags
would be the official government tag but could be used by producers for
their own management programs, Digital Angel's Fearing said.

Agriculture officials said they want a system that can work with those
now used by farmers, rather than duplicate efforts.

Peterson of the Holstein Association, which represents 35,000 members,
said it has developed a program that traces livestock with the use of
radio frequency technology. More than 1.3 million farm animals have been
registered, with information including birthplaces, animal-to-animal
contacts and slaughter locations.

The Minnesota Dairy Herd Improvement Association, a nonprofit
organization offering various testing and services to the dairy
industry, has provided animal identification with computers for 50
years, said Bruce Dokkebakken, general manager.

His 90 staff members are armed with notebook computers for checking
livestock when they drive past farms. They have more than 450,000 cattle
in a database with birth dates, herd locations and unique animal
identification that would dovetail with a national system, he said.

Joy Powell is at

too bad the average American consumer is not informed enough
on the risk of TSE in the USA bovine that we have seperate
slaugherhouses and such for export market only (EU TSE
regulations) as to protect the Foreign consumer because they are
smart enough to know the risk and that the American consumer
consumes the high risk materials. I cannot believe this...


Terry S. Singeltary Sr. wrote:

> Japan may remove cows aged 20 months or younger from test
> Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 00:15 JST

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