SEARCH VEGSOURCE:

 

 

Follow Ups | Post Followup | Back to Discussion Board | VegSource
See spam or
inappropriate posts?
Please let us know.
  




From: TSS ()
Subject: CONSUMER UNION ASKS FEDS TO RETEST SUSPECT MAD COW AFTER CRUCIAL TEST OMITTED !!!
Date: February 23, 2005 at 7:07 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Consumers Union asks feds to retest suspect mad cow after crucial test omitted
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2005 20:59:48 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
To: BSE-L@LISTSERV.KALIV.UNI-KARLSRUHE.DE


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

EMBARGOED for release
9 a.m. (EST) Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005

www.NotinMyFood.org

Consumers Union asks feds to retest suspect mad cow after crucial test
omitted

USDA urged to follow internationally recognized procedures

WASHINGTON, DC. -- Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, today
asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to retest a cow suspected in
November 2004 of having mad cow disease, using a critical,
internationally recognized test that the agency failed to use. The test,
called the Western blot, is used by authorities in Japan and Europe
when making a final determination as to whether a suspect cow has the
fatal brain-wasting affliction, which can be passed on to humans.

A Consumers Union delegation met earlier this month with USDA officials
and today issued a letter to USDA Secretary Mike Johanns urging the
agency to revise its testing methods. CU is asking the agency to retest
the November cow using the Western blot and to send samples from the cow
to the United Kingdom for an independent evaluation.

Given the potential consequences to both public health and the cattle
industry if this brain-wasting disease were to become established here,
it is extremely important that every scientifically justifiable step be
taken to prevent it, said the letter signed by Michael Hansen, PhD., a
biologist with Consumers Union and spokesperson for its
www.NotinMyFood.org campaign and Jean Halloran, director of CUs
Consumer Policy Institute.

The USDA limited its confirmatory testing in November 2004 to the
immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, which it describes as the gold
standard. The result of the IHC test was negative. USDA did not perform
the Western blot test, even though it had previously used both IHC and
the Western blot test in confirming the first U.S. case of mad cow
disease, from Washington State in December, 2003. The USDA also sent
material from the 2003 Washington State cow to the United Kingdom for
further review of its results.

Scientists in Japan and Belgium have reported that suspect cows may be
negative on the IHC and still register as positive on the Western blot.
Such cows are universally regarded as infected.

The IHC test is more subjective than the Western blot test, relying on
the judgment of a skilled scientist is assessing the appearance of thin
slices of brain material under a microscope, Hansen said. The Western
blot test is more objective, with results that can be read by any
technician. In the U.S., the IHC test is performed by a USDA scientist
at a USDA laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

The cow USDA assessed in November 2004 had come up as suspect for mad
cow disease in two runs of the Biorad quick test. The Biorad test has
been used to screen over 200,000 cows for mad cow disease since USDA
began a new testing initiative in July 2004. However, all international
authorities agree that the Biorad screening test can give a false
positive result. Thus it must be confirmed by other tests. CU urges USDA
to use both Western blot and IHC for confirmation.

The USDA should operate out of an abundance of caution in its efforts
to keep the U.S. food supply safe from (mad cow disease), the letter to
Johanns stated. The experience of the United Kingdom, where millions of
cattle have been destroyed, beef exports blocked for many years and 147
people have died, painfully demonstrates the consequences of
insufficient action to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.

# # #


Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent,
nonprofit testing and information organization serving only the
consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about
products and services, personal finance, health nutrition, and other
consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products,
inform the public, and protect consumers.


===================================

February 24, 2005

Hon. Mike Johanns
Secretary of Agriculture
US Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Johanns:

We appreciate having had the opportunity to meet with you on February 9,
2005 with the Food Safety Coalition. Because we had limited time on that
occasion, we are following up with a letter explaining our concerns on
one issue that is especially important to Consumers Union: USDAs bovine
spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease,
testing procedures.

For reasons we explain below, we urge USDA to expand its testing
protocol to bring it in line with those of Europe and Japan, by
including a test called the Western blot when evaluating cows
suspected of mad cow disease, such as the suspect cow identified in
November, 2004. Under current USDA testing protocols, it is possible
that USDA will miss cases of mad cow disease that could be confirmed
through additional testing.

As Secretary of Agriculture, you face the important and very difficult
responsibility of preventing mad cow disease in the United States. Given
the potential consequences to both public health and the cattle industry
if this brain-wasting disease were to become established here, it is
extremely important that every scientifically justifiable step be taken
to prevent it. It is especially critical to understand to what extent
the disease may already be present in the United States, now that one
case was discovered in Washington State in December, 2003.

As you know, the USDA has tested some 230,000 cattle since June, 2004,
for mad cow disease. Although this seems like a large number, it is
still less than 1% of the 35 million cattle slaughtered annually in the
US. The number of cows tested should be increased.

Consumers Union also believes that USDAs testing protocol should be
expanded. USDAs testing protocol specifically does not include the
Western blot test (accompanied by a sodium phosphotungstinic acid
[NaPTA] precipitation step), a test used by all European Union countries
and Japan. When a cow in the USDA testing program is considered suspect
as a result of positives in two runs of the Biorad quick test, as
happened in November, 2004, it is sent to the USDA Ames Iowa laboratory
for further evaluation. That evaluation includes only an
immunohistochemistry test (IHC), which USDA refers to as the gold
standard. We disagree with that characterization. Recent studies in
Belgium and Japan have shown that the IHC test misses some cases of mad
cow disease. A letter in last months Veterinary Pathology, from one of
the worlds leading authorities on mad cow disease testing, pointed out
that the Western blot, when accompanied by the NaPTA step, is far more
sensitive than IHC in detecting the mad cow disease infectious agent .

In fact, USDA used both the IHC and Western blot tests to confirm its
first case of mad cow disease, in December 2003. According to a USDA
publication, the Western blot test was crucial to identifying that
case. It is thus difficult to understand why USDA did not again use the
Western blot test along with IHC on its second suspect cow.

We therefore urge you to go back and retest--using the Western blot test
with the NaPTA step--the suspect cow that was identified in November,
2004, and to send appropriate material from that cow to the United
Kingdom laboratories for an independent evaluation. We further urge you
to revise USDA policy and routinely use the Western blot test with the
NAPTA step, as well as the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, for
confirmation of suspect mad cow cases.

The USDA should operate out of an abundance of caution in its efforts
to keep the US food supply safe from BSE. The experience of the United
Kingdom, where millions of cattle had to be destroyed, beef exports were
blocked for many years, and 147 people have died, painfully demonstrates
the consequences of insufficient action to prevent the spread of mad cow
disease.

The trust of American consumers, and of foreign markets, in the safety
of American beef, rests on having confidence that USDA is utilizing the
best science available, comparable to that used in other scientifically
advanced countries.

A copy of a prior letter on this subject, which we sent to Dr. John R.
Clifford, Deputy Administrator of the Animal Plant Health Inspection
Service, is attached and we understand is in the process of being answered.

We look forward to hearing from you about whether you will direct USDA
to retest the November 2004 suspect cow and revise USDA policy to
routinely use the Western blot as well as IHC on all suspect animals.

Sincerely,

Jean Halloran, Director Michael K. Hansen, Ph.D.
Consumer Policy Institute Senior Research Associate


Cc: Dr. John R. Clifford

=====================================

ooops...

TERRY'S TEXAS MAD COWs STILL LIVES...TSS


######### https://listserv.kaliv.uni-karlsruhe.de/warc/bse-l.html ##########






Follow Ups:



Post a Followup

Name:
E-mail: (optional)
Subject:

Comments:

Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL: