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From: TSS (
Subject: The Food Standards Agency held an open Board meeting on 9 December BSE IN SHEEP GREATER RISK TO HUMANS THAN BSE IN COW
Date: December 13, 2004 at 11:31 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: The Food Standards Agency held an open Board meeting on 9 December BSE/TSE
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 13:26:35 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Board update December 2004
Monday, 13 December 2004
The Food Standards Agency held an open Board meeting on 9 December 2004
in London.

Five main papers were discussed by the Board: the Wall Review of
Casualty Testing Failures: Next Steps; Review of Over Thirty Months
Rule: Progress Report on the Assessment of Robustness of the Proposed
BSE Testing Regime; BSE and Sheep Contingency Policy; Report from the
Chair of the MHS Governing Board; and a paper on the White Paper on
Public Health: Choosing Health and the FSA’s Strategic Plan 2005/10. FSA
Chair Sir John Krebs and Chief Executive Jon Bell updated the Board on
developments since the previous meeting, and there were reports from the
chairs of the Advisory Committees in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Wall Review of Casualty Testing Failures: Next Steps
This paper asked the FSA Board to note the action taken and agree the
action planned to address the recommendations made in the report of the
independent inquiry into BSE-testing failures by the MHS in Great
Britain (the Wall Report).

The inquiry into the failure by the MHS to test an estimated 229
casualty cattle aged 24-30 months for BSE, was initiated by the FSA
Board in June 2004 following MHS internal audits and management checks
that uncovered these failures.

The inquiry was set up to find out the reasons for the failings and why
they were not identified earlier; as well as to make recommendations to
improve the robustness of the testing arrangements so as to minimise the
likelihood of this, or a similar problem, recurring.

Agency Chair Sir John Krebs reminded the Board that the incident had
been a serious failure of controls in terms of surveillance but not
directly in terms of food safety.

The Board:

* agreed the action plan put forward to address the 13
recommendations made in the report

* noted the action that had already been taken

noted that progress reports on implementation of the action plan
will be considered at future MHS Board meetings and included in
future reports to the FSA Board by the Chair of the MHS Board

Review of Over Thirty Months Rule: Progress Report on the Assessment of
Robustness of the Proposed BSE Testing Regime
On 1 December 2004 Ministers announced the start of a managed transition
towards the lifting of the Over Thirty Months (OTM) Rule following
advice from the Food Standards Agency that the current control measures
are no longer proportionate to the risk.

The OTM Rule is the BSE control set up in 1996 that automatically bans
older cattle from entering the human food chain. It is one of the two
main food safety controls in relation to BSE operated in the UK – the
other being Specified Risk Material (SRM) controls. The primary BSE
control, the removal of Specified Risk Material (SRM), which removes
more than 99% of any infectivity that may be present, will remain in place.

The announcement made clear that the final switch from the OTM rule to
testing should happen only when the FSA has advised Ministers that the
BSE testing system will be robust.

The FSA has set up an independent group to assist in providing advice on
the robustness of the proposed testing system, which will take into
account the recent failures to test some under 30 months casualty cattle.

The independent group has met so far three times. The group’s initial
report (which was attached in an annex to the paper) set out:

* recommendations for a testing regimen that should now proceed to
extended trials to assess whether or not it will be robust

* plans for taking this work forward

The group’s final report on the robustness of the proposed testing
system, following the extended trials, is planned to come forward for
discussion by the Board in May 2005.

The Board:

* approved initial report of the independent group

* agreed that achievement of the correct outcomes should take
priority over meeting the timetable

* agreed that the next stage in the process should be a full trial
of the testing system

BSE and Sheep Contingency Plan
This report considered the approach the Agency should take if BSE were
to be found in UK sheep or goats.

A number of possible risk management options were explored in the paper
ranging from the current FSA policy of allowing only resistant and
semi-resistant sheep under 12 months into the food chain, to removing
all sheep above a certain age or extending the list of specified risk
material and introducing testing in abattoirs.

Provisional costs and an indication of risk reduction were presented for
these risk management options.

The Board:

* agreed that it remains the FSA’s policy, in the event of a finding
of BSE in UK sheep, to recommend that only resistant and
semi-resistant sheep under 12 months could enter the food chain

* agreed that in the event of a finding of BSE in a UK goat, the
Agency would follow the approach being taken at EU level in
relation to a possible finding of BSE in a French goat

* agreed that a stakeholder process be initiated with the aim of
seeking views on the proportionality of the current contingency
plans and other alternatives, in relation to sheep and goats

* agreed that the outcome of the consultation process be fed back to
the Board by Autumn 2005

Report to the FSA Board by the Chair of the Meat Hygiene Service
Governing Board
This paper reported progress to the FSA Board on establishing the MHS
Governing Board and on its first meeting in November 2004.

The FSA Board:

* noted the progress that has been made in establishing the MHS
Governing Board and on the outcome of its first meeting

White Paper on Public Health: Choosing Health and the FSA’s Strategic
Plan 2005/10
A paper was tabled which outlined the provisions in the White Paper on
Public Health and which noted the inclusion of proposed actions on food
safety and and nutrition with which the Agency was involved.

Developments since previous meeting
Agency Chair Sir John informed the Board of the recent publication of
the Hampton Review. As the Agency has to comment on the report by 4
February 2005, a paper will be prepared for consideration by Board
Members in January.

Sir John and Board Member Nelisha Wickremasinghe informed the Board of a
workshop that had taken place at the Agency’s headquarters in Aviation
House, following the October Board’s discussion on sustainability.

Agency Chief Executive Jon Bell updated the Board on the Agency’s
continuing work on atypical diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. Atypical
responses had been continuing to occur, but at a much lower level than
in the previous year. There was not yet sufficient information to
conclude whether the results seen in previous years were due to a new
toxin or to an artefact of the testing method. The Chief Executive said
that the Board would continue to be updated on developments.

The Chief Executive also updated the Board on developments in relation
to the possible diversion of animal by-products into the food chain,
which had previously been reported to the Board in October.
Investigation of 13 companies had shown that they had not been
improperly supplied with animal intestines. However, inquiries had
indicated that in the case of a company in the south of England there
had not been a clear enough separation of animal by-products and those
going into the human food chain. An investigation of all rendererers and
sausage-casing manufacturers had shown no widespread improper use of
animal by-products. However, the Agency was looking at whether there was
a case for tightening legal controls in this area.

The Chief Executive also informed the Board that the Agency’s new
Strategic Plan for 2005-2010 had been published on the Agency’s website.

* Board meeting agenda: 9 December 2004

Agenda and papers

Board meeting agenda: 9 December 2004
Tuesday, 07 December 2004
Congress Centre, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS

Chairman's Introduction and Apologies for Absence 09:30 – 09:35
Item 1 Minutes of the Food Standards Agency Board Meeting, 14 October
2004, Hilton Hotel, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT1 3LP 09:35 – 09:45
Paper FSA 04/12/01
Item 2 Chairman's Report (Sir John Krebs) 09:45 – 09:55
Item 3 Chief Executive's Report (Jon Bell) 09:55 – 10:05
Items 4–9 for discussion
Item 4 Wall Review of Casualty Testing Failures: Next Steps 10:05 – 10:30
Paper FSA 04/12/02
Item 5 Review of Over Thirty Months Rule: Progress Report on the
Assessment of Robustness of the Proposed BSE Testing Regime 10:30 – 11:05
Paper FSA 04/12/03
Break 11:05 – 11:15
Item 6 BSE and Sheep Contingency Policy 11:15 – 11:55
Paper FSA 04/12/04
Item 7 Report from the Chair of the MHS Governing Board 11.55 – 12.05
Paper FSA 04/12/05
Item 8 Reports from Chairs of Advisory Committees 12:05 – 12:20
Papers FSA 04/12/06
, Paper FSA
04/12/07 & Paper
FSA 04/12/08
(Ann Hemingway, Michael Gibson, & Maureen Edmondson)
Item 9 'White Paper on Public Health: Choosing Health' and the FSA's
Strategic Plan 2005/10 12:20 – 12:35
Paper to be tabled
Any Other Business 12:35 – 12:45
Close of Meeting 12:45
Q&A Session 12:45 – 13:15

Papers provided for information
Update on Delivering the Agency's Research Strategy
INFO 04/12/01

Action Plan on Food Promotions and Children’s Diets: An Update
INFO 04/12/02

Papers Provided under Standing Orders
Future Board Agendas, Discussions and Informal Briefing Sessions
SO 04/12/01

Schedule of Board Meetings for 2005
SO 04/12/02

Record of Attendance at Board Meetings in 2004/2005
SO 04/12/03

Summary of Board Members’ Engagements
SO 04/12/04

Register of Board Members’ Interests
SO 04/12/05

Abbreviations and Acronyms
SO 04/12/06

Summary of SEAC discussion on BSE & sheep: the FSA contingency policy
The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) was provided with
background information on the analytical techniques used to detect and
discriminate BSE and scrapie in sheep samples, and the preliminary
results from
an on-going ring-trial comparing the analytical methods used by different
research groups.
SEAC was also presented with the findings from two studies modelling the:
· maximum number of sheep that could potentially be infected with BSE in
the GB
sheep flock based on testing results from retrospective and prospective
surveillance of TSEs in sheep (Simon Gubbins; VLA);
· Potential BSE infectivity in sheep together with strategies to reduce
the risk of
BSE infectivity entering the food chain based on a) the relative
susceptibilities of
sheep genotypes to BSE infection, b) removal of specified risk materials
or c)
TSE testing (Angela McClean, Oxford).
TSE test methods
SEAC noted that the analytical methods used to detect TSEs in sheep, and
distinguish BSE from scrapie, were becoming more robust. A combination
of tests
now provides a reasonably rigorous, although not completely unambiguous,
approach to distinguishing conventional scrapie from conventional BSE in
The results from the on-going ring-trial will be important to assess
more fully the
robustness of the methods. It was considered important to analyse final
data from
the conformation-dependent immunoassay (CDI) method in the ring-trial
unlike all the other methods used, it does not rely on differential
enzyme (Proteinase
K) digestion of the prion protein (PrP). Thus, it could be an important
and possibly
powerful additional discriminatory test.
SEAC considered that, using the currently available tests, the vast
majority of the
TSE's detected in sheep in prospective and retrospective surveys were
likely to be
scrapie and not BSE. Furthermore, no unambiguous case of BSE in sheep
has yet
been detected. Nevertheless, because of limitations in methodology and
the number
of samples tested this conclusion cannot be considered certain.
SEAC noted that two surveillance samples had given atypical test results
that were
inconsistent with the criteria used to define either BSE in sheep or
scrapie infection.
It was considered possible that these two atypical TSE test results
could indicate the
presence of a variant form of scrapie, a variant form of BSE, another as yet
uncharacterised TSE, or reflect a modifying effect of a particular sheep
genotype. It
was noted that tests of orally transmitted and passaged BSE in all sheep
had not yet been conducted. The committee agreed it was very important
to conduct
more research to try to establish the nature of these samples and
particular urgency
should be given to in vivo infectivity studies.
Possible prevalence of BSE in sheep
SEAC generally accepted the approach used to model the possible
prevalence of
BSE in sheep. However, it was noted that the model depended on the
ability of the
tests used to effectively detect and discriminate between scrapie and
BSE and
current tests were not yet 100% reliable (see above).
Perhaps more significantly, SEAC considered that, because many of the
included in the surveillance had come from farms with a large number of
cases, which may be more likely to report scrapie cases, the data may
have been
influenced by a selective ascertainment bias. It was agreed that basing the
calculation of the prevalence of BSE in sheep on TSE affected flocks,
rather TSE
cases, was preferable. Nevertheless, even if only flocks are considered,
the effect of
non-random sampling may have led to an underestimation of the number of
BSE cases. It was suggested that that if the modelling was restricted to
the results
obtained from active surveillance the bias could be minimised, although
such an
analysis would significantly reduce the data that could be included in
the model.
Additionally, it was suggested that data from a 2002 scrapie postal
survey, relating to
the distribution of cases on scrapie affected farms, could be compared
with the
passive surveillance data in order to assess the possible effect of the
sample bias.
Impact of risk reduction strategies
SEAC generally accepted the modelling approach used and acknowledged that it
was extremely difficult to estimate the potential BSE infectivity
entering the food
chain from tissues of infected sheep. The committee noted that the model
of BSE
infectivity in sheep was based on a large number of assumptions. For
example, the
model assumed that the pathogenesis of BSE and scrapie in sheep may be
yet this is still largely unknown. In addition, although ARR homozygous
appear to be the most resistant PrP genotype, sheep of this genotype
could not now
be considered to be completely resistant to TSE infection. SEAC noted
that, in
contrast to the assumptions made in the modelling, sheep breeds were
heterogeneous and methods of husbandry differed considerably between farms.
Also, it may not be appropriate to generalise about the prevalence and
distribution of
PrP genotypes in sheep because PrP genotype can extremely variable between
different sheep breeds.
It was noted that estimates used for the quantity of sheep tissues
entering the food
chain differed from values used by other research groups. In addition,
the effective
removal of lymph nodes was considered unrealistic.
Bearing in mind these assumptions and caveats, SEAC noted that:
· the model of BSE infectivity in sheep tissues suggested that a single BSE
infected sheep entering the food chain could present a significantly
greater risk to
public health compared with the current risk associated from a single
· although there was no evidence of a large self-sustaining epidemic of
BSE in
sheep, the model suggests that the presence of small epidemics in a few
cannot yet be ruled out;
· the models suggest that strategies based on control of specified risk
material or
TSE testing are currently unlikely to be very effective in minimising
risk of human
infection. The committee considered that should the sensitivity of TSE
tests be
improved they may be effective in the future.
· the model suggests that strategies based on the PrP genotype of sheep
would be
the most effective in reducing risk of human infection. However, the
stressed that the magnitude of the relative reductions in risk between
the various
strategies modelled could not be regarded as absolute.
SEAC Secretariat 11 October 2004


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: re-85th Meeting of SEAC - 30.11.04
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2004 14:18:53 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."

Hello Tabitha,

A kind greetings from Texas.

I had signed up for the meeting and wanted to ask a question, but it took
me too long to finally get everything working properly on my end with
the viewing. finally got things going today and got into the audio of the
meeting (will have to download an upgrade for my windows media).

ASIDE from the disturbing points made about sCJD not being tied
to BSE from some unpublished mouse bioassays (if i heard that right)
and the fact that they still today base the increase of sporadic CJD in
known BSE countries as a happenstance of better surveillance, I wish
to kindly ask a question not pertaining to the above, as disturbing as
it is (lost my mother to the hvCJD 12/14/97) and i simply have never
accepted the spontaneous/sporadic aspects of this agent in 85%+ of
all humans. never will, it's a pipe dream thought up in some back room
in the 80s to protect the industries involved (my opinion).

MY question is one about the VERMONT USA SHEEP that were
imported to the USA from Belgium and confiscated by the USDA several
years ago due to an atypical TSE, with the announcement that mouse
studies would be immediately started. I was informed by Dr. Linda
Detwiler that it
was DEFRA that was responsible for these mouse studies being put on hold
for 2 years. WHY were such important studies put off for 2 years by DEFRA?

HERE is my correspondence with Dr. Detwiler;

Release No. 0141.02

Ed Curlett (301) 734-3256
Jerry Redding (202) 720-6959


WASHINGTON, April 11, 2002 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture today
announced that tests conducted on a flock of sheep confiscated last year
from a farm in Vermont confirm that two of the 125 sheep tested positive
for an atypical undifferentiated transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
(TSE) of foreign origin. The flock of 125 sheep was confiscated in March
2001 after four animals from an associated flock tested positive for TSE
in July 2000. USDA will continue to conduct additional tests to
determine the type of TSE in these sheep.

"These results confirm our previous conclusions were correct and that we
took the appropriate preventative actions in confiscating these
animals," said Bobby Acord, administrator of USDAs Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service. "USDAs actions to confiscate, sample and
destroy these sheep were on target. As a result of our vigilance, none
of these confiscated animals entered the animal or human food supply."

The sheep, imported from Belgium and the Netherlands in 1996, were
placed under certain federal restrictions when they entered the country
as part of USDA's scrapie control efforts. In 1998, USDA learned that it
was likely that sheep from Europe were exposed to feed contaminated with
bovine spongiform encephalopathy. At that time, the state of Vermont, at
the request of USDA, imposed a quarantine on these flocks, which
prohibited slaughter or sale for breeding purposes.

On July 10, 2000, several sheep from the flock tested positive for a
TSE, a class of degenerative neurological diseases that is characterized
by a very long incubation period and a 100 percent mortality rate in
infected sheep. Two of the better known varieties of TSE are scrapie in
sheep and BSE in cattle. There is no evidence that scrapie poses a risk
to human health.

On July 14, 2000, USDA issued a declaration of extraordinary emergency
to acquire the sheep. This action was contested by the flock owners. A
federal district court judge ruled in favor of USDA based on the merits
of the case. The flock owners appealed to the Second Circuit Court
requesting a stay, which was denied. The sheep were confiscated by USDA
in March 2001 and transported to USDA's National Veterinary Services
Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, where they were humanely euthanized. Tissue
samples were collected from the sheep for diagnostic testing and USDA
will continue with additional tests which could take up to 2 - 3 years
to complete. In all, USDA has acquired 380 sheep from a total of three
flocks. All of the animals were humanely euthanized, sampled and
disposed and did not enter the animal or human food supply.

Our goal continues to be to prevent, detect and eradicate foreign animal
diseases to protect American agriculture, natural resources and
consumers," said Acord. "We will continue to utilize the scientific
results of these and other tests conducted during the last several years
to strengthen our extensive surveillance, monitoring and prevention

For more information about USDAs ongoing surveillance, monitoring and
prevention efforts as it relates to this situation, please visit


NOW, June 2004 those same test that we were told would start in
2002, have yet to be started. THE TSE those VERMONT sheep
was supposedly to have had, has yet to be confirmed.


Correspondence from Dr. Detwiler to me;

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Sheep
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 14:26:04 EDT

Mr. Singeltary.

I hope this finds you well. As you are aware I left the USDA last
year. I can only update you on the sheep before that time. Contact was
established with the UK on doing the bioassay studies. They agreed.
However, we were prioritized after their own needs, hence the delay. I
am aware that there are now additional labs in Europe running the mouse
bioassay strain typing. You will have to contact USDA for further word.

Linda Detwiler

>However, we were prioritized after their own needs, hence the delay.

IF this was the case, this is totally unacceptable. FOR something that
has been
ongoing since the 80s (BSE in SHEEP/GOATS) yet still unresolved, there is
absolutely no excuse why these studies were put off. with the other sheep
brain mix-up and now the BSE in the French Goat, I find it very
disturbing that
the Vermont Sheep studies were put off for 2 years for whatever reason,
especially with the findings Dormont*, and Jean-Philippe Deslys* et al,
The agent responsible for French iatrogenic growth hormone-linked CJD
taken as a control is very different from vCJD but is similar to that
found in one case of sporadic CJD and one sheep scrapie isolate;

YES, i am still very angry, but i want to still thank SEAC for the work
they have done, i only wish things would go much faster and that the
BSE/nvCJD only theory would be put to rest once and for all. Science
has pretty much proven that it was a pipe dream, however science
does not have near as much to do with this mess anymore as the
industry and politics do. it's simply not about science anymore.
IN the USA, you dont even hear of these new studies from the
Gov. and very little from the media...

thank you,
kindest regards,

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

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