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From: TSS (
Subject: Bush/USDA Mad Cow Malfeasance Exposed; Food Cartels Threaten Public Health
Date: January 17, 2005 at 6:22 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Bush/USDA Mad Cow Malfeasance Exposed; Food Cartels Threaten Public Health
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 20:12:17 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################

Bush/USDA Mad Cow Malfeasance Exposed;
Food Cartels Threaten Public Health

by Marcia Merry Baker

Even before Congress reconvened this month, several Senators and Rep.
Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) challenged the new U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) rule announced Dec. 29, which would lift the U.S. ban
on Canadian live cattle imports as of March 7, a ban imposed 19 months
ago when a Canadian BSE case was found in May 2003. Congress has the
right to modify or cancel such an administrative rule, and such actions
are being pursued. Republican Sen. Conrad Burns (Montana) has called for
the USDA to delay opening the U.S. border to Canadian cattle.

On Jan. 4, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Waxman demanded a review by the
USDA, questioning its grounds for making its new rule; Waxman and Conrad
contest the USDA assertion that Canada is containing BSE risk by
controlling its cattle feed. On Dec. 30, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)
called for decisions based on "science, not on politics." On Dec. 22,
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) scored the USDA for its lax inspections
of U.S. beef facilities. On Jan. 11, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) demanded
a hearing on the new USDA rule.

Their point is underscored by two new cases of BSE just confirmed this
month in Alberta, Canada. One case was announced Jan. 2, and the other
Jan. 10; they are in different locations in Alberta, and unrelated,
except that the common denominator is considered to be contaminated
cattle feed, going back seven or eight years ago. The one BSE case found
in the U.S. in December 2003, was likewise from an animal originating in
Alberta, and attributed to tainted cattle feed in Canada. Meantime,
cattle feed routinely comes into the United States from Canada.

A look at the epidemiological particulars involved in BSE in North
America, and the pattern of public health inaction, and cover-up by the
relevant agencies during the Bush Administrationin the USDA, the Food
and Drug Administration, and related institutionsshows the same "Go Flu
Yourself" attitude that led to the sudden lack of 50% of the expected
influenza doses for the U.S. this flu season.

Secondly, the insistence on re-opening the U.S. border to Canadian
cattle, comes from the wing of the international synarchist financial
and commodities cartels, which have positioned their operations (beef
slaughtering, food processing, cattle feed, and so on) worldwide on
extensive cross-border networks of facilities. The prominent names
include Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Louis Dreyfus, Tysons,
and others.

Even before the second Bush Administration was sworn in, this cartel
demanded that the USDA get the Canadian border open again. The first
week in January, Tysons, one of the largest meat processors in the U.S.,
made a big public relations announcement that they were being forced to
close their West Point, Nebraska, beef plant, and furlough workers at
some others, for lack of sufficient cattletranslated: because of the
Canadian imports ban, 1 to 2 million cattle a year are not allowed into
the U.S.

Cargill, the privately held mega-multinational, based in Minnesota, has
slaughtering facilities in Alberta, which prior to May 2003, were
exporting 60 percent of their beefto the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and
elsewhere, all of which stopped after May, 2003, when "Canadian"
productread "Cargill" productwas banned. Also, Cargill is the world's
largest cattle feed processor, producing in Canada under labels
including Cargill, Agribrands, and Purina.

Cattle Feed Crucial

The cattle feed issue is pivotal, both politically, and also as far as
what is known about BSE epidemiologically. On Jan. 4, the USDA released
its 500-page "Minimal-Risk Nations" rule, and presented several
rationalizations for why Canada showed minimal risk of BSE, and why the
bans against imports into the U.S. should be lifted. The weakest
"reasoning" is the statistical argument that not many BSE cows are being
found, relative to the 5.5 million cows in Canada.

However, the foremost reason given by the USDA for re-opening the border
is that Canada is exerting "effective" controls over what goes into its
cattle feed.

In fact, this lie is double-headed. There has been inadequate
enforcement of regulation of cattle feed not only in Canada, but also in
the United States. Over the past 19 months, occasional samples of cattle
feed entering the U.S. from Canada have been found to contain animal
protein matter, barred under both Canadian and U.S. BSE health
precautions. FDA "import alerts"just slaps on the wristhave been
imposed on the processors, which have included some of the world's
largest, such as ADM and Louis Dreyfus.

But first, consider the science issue involved, then the record.

Though much is not understood about the BSE category of diseases, called
transmissable spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), it has been advocated
since the 1970s that ruminant waste parts not be recycled back into the
livestock feed chain, as a precaution of baseline sanitation in the case
of TSEs. There was special concern in Britain in the 1970s, because of
an extensive outbreak of sheep scrapie (the name for TSE in sheep), and
the fear that the infective agentnot well understoodmight somehow make
a species jump.

In 1979, it was the imperial refusal of British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher to heed British veterinary and public health scientists on
thisThatcher decreed that the British feed industry will
"self-regulate"that allowed a vast flow of waste parts from infected
sheep, and other animals, to be recycled back into the cattle feed
chain. By the mid-1980s, the BSE outbreak occurred, eventuating in
180,000 U.K. cow cases, with 3.5 million animals culled. Under Lady Mad
Cow Thatcher, the infection spread worldwide, through exports of live
animals and feed.

Therefore, depending on a nation's trade relations for cattle and beef
with Britain directly, or indirect connections, during the 1980s and
subsequently, a nation may have a greater or lesser presence of the BSE
problem. Significant numbers of cases showed up in Europe, a number in
Japan, and elsewhere. The United States, with next to no imports of
British cattle and beef, has not confirmed a native case of Mad Cow.
Canada, with closer ties to Britain, found its first case of a BSE cow
in 1993, but the animal had been imported from the U.K. in 1987. Then
since May 2003, four animals born in Canada have been confirmed with
BSE. The disease has a years-long gestation period before it becomes

France, Japan, Ireland, and other nations have imposed very stringent
rules to attempt to reduce the disease, involving surveillance of
healthy animals, individual identification for cows, and so on. Equally,
there are strict measures to keep BSE out of the food chain. The jump of
the bovine form of TSE to humans is called variant Creutzfeld Jacob
Disease, or vCJD, and has been documented in Britain.

In Japan, every cow going to slaughter is tested. In France, every
second cow is tested at the slaughter house. Last year, 54 cases of BSE
were found in France. This follows a consistent decline since the
compulsory screening at the slaughter houses, and national surveillance
and testing were implemented. France had in 2001, 274 BSE cases; in
2002, 239 cases; in 2003, 137 cases; in 2004, 54 cases. The intention is
to contain and fight the disease to its elimination.

In contrast, the regulatory record in North America has been slack and
devious, from practices at slaughterhouses, to cattle feed,
surveillance, and testing. On Dec. 22, 2004, Sen. Frank Lautenberg
demanded an investigation by the USDA into the allegations by the
National Joint Council of Food Inspection union, that "materials,
including spinal cords which carry Mad Cow disease, are indeed making it
into the human food supply."

On cattle feed, action has been slow to come, and not strongly enforced.
In 1997, the U.S. and Canada passed laws to ban certain cow parts from
being recycled back into feed. But no serious follow-up was implemented.
Then, after the May, 2003, BSE cow in Canada, more stringent bans on
risky parts from cattle carcasses were announced in Canada on July 18, 2003.

In the United States, following the BSE case in Washington state (which
originated in Canada), the FDA announced on Jan. 26, 2004, a ban on the
use of cattle blood as a protein supplement for calves, and also
proscribed the use of chicken litter as cattle feed (because cow parts
could still be added to chicken feed, and thus end up being cycled back
into cattle feed).

However, none of these partial and late-in-the-game proscriptions have
been effectively enforced.



Conrad/Waxman Letter To Gov. Michael Johanns

On Jan. 5, 2005, a letter was sent from Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), to Gov. Michael Johanns, the incoming
Secretary of Agriculture, calling for his review of the newly announced
U.S. Department of Agriculture decision to lift the ban on live cattle
imports from Canada as of March 7. The letter states:

A principal rationale for USDA's decision is that Canada has a
"rigorous" and "effective" feed ban in place, which prevents the spread
of "mad cow disease" by preventing protein derived from cattle from
being fed to cattle.

It appears, however, that USDA has failed to review significant evidence
that calls into question the effectiveness of the Canadian feed ban....

The letter summarizes four findings in this regard, and then includes
six more pages to elaborate on the key points. Here is the conclusion,
and excerpts from the attachments.


USDA's decision to allow imports of cattle from Canada rests in
significant part on its determination that the enforcement of the
Canadian feed ban has been "rigorous" and "effective." There is
significant evidence that calls these findings into question. This
evidence includes a series of import alerts from FDA, as well as
internal Canadian documents. It does not appear that this new evidence
has been reviewed by USDA.

The New Evidence

To evaluate the Canadian feed ban, USDA appears to have relied
principally on two documents. The first is Canada's BSE risk assessment,
which was published in December 2002. USDA characterizes this document
as showing ''high levels of compliance with the feed ban by routine
inspections of both renderers and feed mills."

In fact, Canada's risk assessment showed that in 1999, of 65 feed mills
inspected, 20 (31%) were not in compliance, including four that did not
have written procedures to prevent contamination of feed. In 2000, 108
feed mills were inspected, of which 38 (35%) were not in compliance,
including 14 that did not have written procedures to prevent contamination.

USDA also cited a July 30, 2004, memo from Canada;s chief veterinarian
to Dr. John Griffen, deputy administrator of USDA's Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service. USDA desribed the memo as indicating that:

[W]ith respect to the Canadian commercial feed industry, non-compliance
of "immediate concern" has been identified in fewer than two percent of
feed mills inspected during the period April 1, 2003, to March 31, 2004.
Those instances of noncompliance of "immediate concern" are dealt with
when identified.

USDA explained that "noncompliance of 'immediate concern' " includes
cases where prohibited materials contaminate feed. The Department did
not disclose the amount of feed involved nor how problems have been
"dealt with." The Department also has neither released the June 30,
2004, memo to the public nor provided complete information about
compliance with the feed ban from 2001 to 2004.

Recently, evidence has emerged to suggest that USDA's assessment of the
Canadian feed ban may be mistaken. Three developments in particular
raise serious questions about the effectiveness of the ban.

Import Alerts. On several occasions since October 2003, and most
recently on August 24, 2004, FDA has issued formal "import alerts" that
permit the detention of animal feed that could cause the spread of BSE
in the United States. These alerts, which are based upon "random
sampling and analysis ... for the presence of animal tissues," have
repeatedly cited feed made by Canadian companies.

FDA has found muscle tissue in 15 Canadian products, animal hair in five
(including bovine hair in two cases), blood in eight, and bone in two.
Over the last 15 months, FDA has cited products from 17 Canadian
companies, including some of the largest feed producers in the country.
A summary of these import alerts is included as Attachement 2. [See table].

To be removed from FDA's "import alert" list, companies must show
corrective actions, including, at a minimum, "a description of the
current processes being used to prevent contamination" and "verification
that the processes are adequate." But not all Canadian companies have
apparently been able to meet this standard. Nine "import alerts" on
animal feed because of BSE risk are still active todayeight are against
feed companies based in Canada.

Contaminated "vegetarian" feed. On December 16, 2004, the Vancouver Sun
reported that "secret tests" by Canadian regulators of 20 of 28 samples
of vegetarian animal feed manufactured in Canada contained "undeclared
animal materials." The tests found that more than half of all samples of
feed used in Canada were contaminated. In an internal memo, a senior
government regulator called the test results "worrisome."

In response to this disclosure, Canadian officials stated that the tests
did not prove the presence of dangerous animal proteins (such as those
derived from cattle). However, according to the Vancouver Sun, Canada
decided against conducting additional testing that may have determined
whether the contamination was from cattle protein.

Additional problems with enforcement of the feed ban have also recently
come to light. According to the Vancouver Sun, another memo written by a
senior Canadian regulator stated that more than one in five Canadian
feed mills continue to be out of compliance with the feed ban
requirements. The Vancouver Sun also reported that in 2003, seven
facilities were found to have "major noncompliance," including three
that were "failing to prevent the contamination" of cattle feed. In one
of these cases, the contaminated feed was actually consumed by cattle.

Canada's own assessment. On December 10, 2004, the Canadian Food
Inspection AgencyCanada's food safety agencyproposed changes to its
feed ban. In explaining the need for these changes, the agency described
gaps in its current approach.

In a section of the proposal called "vulnerabilities of current feed ban
regulatory framework," the agency stated that"the current framework
provides opportunities for prohibited proteins to be accidentally
included in or cross-contaminate feeds for ruminants." The agency
explained that assessing compliance with the current feed ban "remains
difficult" because of the absence of "definitive testing methods." The
agency also found that "opportunities for misuse of feed on farms with
multiple species represent an area of vulnerability." The agency
concluded that "[t]he present feed ban might have been acceptable
without the incidence of BSE in this country; but with it, there is a
need to strengthen the key points crucial to preventing the spread of
the disease."

Based on this analysis, the Canadian government has proposed prohibiting
specified risk materials, such as brains and spinal cords, from animal
feed and prohibiting the use of dead stock or condemned carcasses for
animal feed. Canada has also proposed extending these prohibitions to
pet food, segregating specified risk materials during the slaughter
process, and using new procedures to identify specifed risk materials
and dead stock.

A 75-day comment period for the proposal, which has yet to take effect,
ends February 24, 2005.

* Extensive footnotes have been omitted. The full letter and appendices
are available on the website of the House Of Representatives Government
Reform Committee, Minority Office, at
Among the detailed references provided are: articles from the Vancouver
Sun, Dec. 16-17, 2004, and two critical footnotes. One is a reference to
the "USDA Rule": U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy; Minimal-Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities, 70
Federal Register 459-553 (Jan. 4, 2005). The other is: Canadian Food
Inspection Agency, Risk Assessment on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
in Cattle in Canada (December 2002) (online at This
report concluded that the chance of a single case of BSE originating in
Canada was 7 in 1000. Subsequently, three cases have been identified).
[This has now increased to foured.].


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