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From: TSS ()
Subject: Re: No sign of mad cow in 1997 cows (WHY WAS WB USED IN 1997 AND NOT 2004?)
Date: April 16, 2005 at 8:29 am PST

In Reply to: No sign of mad cow in 1997 cows (WHY WAS WB USED IN 1997 AND NOT 2004?) posted by TSS on April 16, 2005 at 8:23 am:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: No sign of mad cow in 1997 cows (WHY WAS WB USED IN 1997 AND NOT 2004?)
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 10:27:29 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
References: <>

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

just feed it to the pigs ;

USDA vet: Texas mad cow breach not unique

By Steve Mitchell
United Press International
Published 5/4/2004 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- The recent case of a Texas cow that displayed
symptoms consistent with mad cow disease but slipped through the cracks
of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's surveillance plan is not an
isolated incident, an agency veterinarian and a consumer advocate told
United Press International.

The revelation that the cow was not tested has generated alarm among the
public and Congress, and a USDA veterinarian said cows displaying
central nervous system disorders, such as the one in Texas, often are
not tested for mad cow -- even though the department considers these
animals the most likely to be infected with the disease.

"Sometimes Veterinary Services (the USDA branch responsible for picking
up brains for mad cow testing) won't even show up," the veterinarian,
who requested anonymity, told UPI. "If you tell them the cow is under 30
months (old), they won't bother with it."

The USDA recently announced an expanded mad cow surveillance plan aimed
at testing an unspecified number of cows over 30 months old. The
agency's position is cows under 30 months are unlikely to test positive,
even if infected, because the disease can take several years to
incubate. Yet, more than 20 cows under this age have tested positive
worldwide, including one as young as 20 months in the United Kingdom.

Felicia Nestor, senior policy adviser to the Government Accountability
Project in Washington, a group that works with federal whistleblowers,
told UPI she is looking into claims from USDA inspectors there may be
other suspicious animals that have gone unreported.

"From the evidence we have so far, we know (the Texas case) is not an
isolated incident," Nestor said.

USDA spokesman Ed Loyd told UPI the agency's procedure is to test any
and all cows exhibiting central nervous system disorders for mad cow

Asked whether cows showing such symptoms were sometimes not tested, Loyd
responded: "What I'm saying is that that's not the procedure. If there's
a specific instance where such things are occurring, we should know
about it ... so we can take the appropriate action."

If the Texas cow was infected, it would represent the second case of mad
cow disease detected in U.S. herds in five months. The first and only
confirmed case among U.S. cattle occurred in Washington state last December.

Because the Texas animal's brain tissue was not retained for testing, it
will never be known with any certainty whether the cow had mad cow
disease or was suffering from some other condition, such as poisoning or

In this case, a USDA veterinarian condemned the cow on April 27 at Lone
Star Beef in San Angelo, Texas, because it had signs of a central
nervous system disorder. The veterinarian apparently failed to abide by
USDA regulations, however, and did not withhold brain samples for mad
cow testing. The USDA is investigating why proper protocol was not
followed but so far has released few details about the situation.

An official statement from Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA's Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Barbara Masters, acting
administrator of the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service,
offered no explanation of why protocol was breached.

"Standard procedures call for animals condemned due to possible CNS
disorder to be kept until (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)
officials can collect samples for testing," the statement said.
"However, this did not occur in this case."

Although the cow's meat did not make it into the human food supply, the
carcass was sent to a rendering plant, which could still entail risks
for spreading mad cow disease among U.S. herds and possibly to people,
consumer groups say. The concern is that humans can contract a fatal,
incurable brain disorder called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from
eating meat infected with the mad cow pathogen.

"The USDA should be investigated," Michael Hansen, senior research
associate with Consumers Union in Yonkers, N.Y., told UPI. "Somebody
needs to get to the bottom of this story. Maybe there's some kind of
innocent explanation for this, but it does not engender confidence in
the agency if an animal exhibiting neurological signs consistent with
the disease is not even tested."

The system breakdown has caught the attention of at least one member of
Congress. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, ranking member on the Senate
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, called the USDA's
failure to test the animal "inexcusable."

Harkin, one of the most vocal critics of the USDA in Congress, said the
incident "calls into question the credibility of USDA's recently
announced testing program."

Beverly Boyd, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of Agriculture,
said "industry sources" who saw the cow told her it more likely was
suffering from an injury and not CNS disease symptoms.

"Animals are injured all the time at packing houses," Boyd said. "This
is just one of the many instances that occur every day."

Still, the only conclusive way to rule out mad cow in animals with
suspected CNS symptoms is to conduct a test.

Patty Lovera of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen in
Washington, said the incident "confirms questions we've been asking
since January about who looks at these animals if they go to rendering.
The answer right now is no one, which is not comforting."

DeHaven and Masters wrote, "The Food and Drug Administration's feed ban
prohibits rendered products from this or any other cow to be fed to
other ruminants."

Hansen disputed that statement. Although the FDA proposed strengthening
feed ban measures after the mad cow case last December, to date those
improvements have not gone into effect, he said.

This means, for example, blood from the Texas cow is still permitted to
go into calf milk replacer, Hansen said. In addition, its brain and
spinal cord -- the most infectious parts if the animal had mad cow --
can be added to chicken feed, he said. This poses a risk because chicken
litter waste, which can contain some remnants of chicken feed, can be
scooped up and incorporated into cattle feed.

"If this animal were positive, yes, there is still concern," Hansen said.

FDA issued a statement late Tuesday saying its investigation into the
incident found the animal in question had been rendered into meat and
bone meal, which is used as livestock feed. FDA said the material is
being held by the rendering firm and the agency has banned the use of it
in poultry feed. However, the material will be permitted to be used in
pig feed because the agency says pigs are not susceptible to mad cow

To prevent the Texas situation from happening again, DeHaven and Masters
said the USDA "is providing comprehensive training" on mad cow
collection protocols to agency employees to "help ensure that clear
communications occurs regarding collecting samples."

Nestor said, however, some agency inspectors involved with mad cow
surveillance have told her they are not receiving any training. These
inspectors would be responsible for holding an animal like the Texas cow
for testing, Nestor said.

"If they didn't spot the signs, the cow would go right on in to the
slaughterhouse," she said.


Steve Mitchell is UPI's Medical Correspondent. E-mail

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

USDA orders silence on mad cow in Texas

By Steve Mitchell
United Press International
Published 5/11/2004 10:16 PM

WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has
issued an order instructing its inspectors in Texas, where federal mad
cow disease testing policies recently were violated, not to talk about
the cattle disorder with outside parties, United Press International has

The order, sent May 6 by e-mail from the USDA's Dallas district office,
was issued in the wake of the April 27 case at Lone Star Beef in San
Angelo, in which a cow displaying signs of a brain disorder was not
tested for mad cow disease despite a federal policy to screen all such

The deadly illness also is known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Both the USDA and its Inspector General -- amid allegations that an
offsite supervisor overruled the opinion of the inspectors onsite and
made the final decision not to test the animal -- have opened up
investigations to determine why agency policy was violated.

The order, which was obtained by UPI, was issued by Ijaz Qazi, circuit
supervisor for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service's Dallas
district, which covers the entire state. It reads: "All BSE inquiries
MUST be directed to Congressional Public Affairs Phone 202-720-9113
attention Rob Larew OR Steve Khon. This is an urgent message. Any
question contact me. Ijaz Qazi."

Although the language might sound innocuous, experienced inspectors
familiar with USDA parlance have taken to referring to the notice as a
"gag order."

The National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals -- the national
inspectors union -- considers the order a violation of inspectors' free
speech rights and is considering legal action against the USDA for
breaching the labor agreement they have with the agency.

Inspectors alleged the order also suggests the agency is concerned about
its personnel leaking damaging information about either the Texas case
or the USDA's overall mad cow disease surveillance program, which has
come under fire since the discovery of an infected cow in Washington
state last December.

"Anytime the government suppresses an individual's freedom of speech,
that's unconstitutional," Gary Dahl, president of Local 925, the
Colorado inspectors union, told UPI.

Stanley Painter, chairman of the National Joint Council, said the USDA
has sent out notices in the past stating inspectors cannot talk to

"It's an intimidation thing," Painter told UPI. Inspectors have the
right to talk to anybody about any subject, as long as they clarify they
are not speaking on behalf of the USDA and they are not doing it on
government time, he said.

USDA spokesman Steven Cohen said he was not familiar with the notice
from the Dallas office. He said he would look into it, but did not
respond by UPI's publication time. In general, Cohen said, "There's an
expectation any statement on behalf of the agency would come from the
office of communications (in Washington.)"

Asked if employees could speak freely as long as they clarified that
their views did not reflect those of the agency, Cohen said, "We'd
rather that agency policy be communicated by those in a position to
speak for the agency."

Qazi told UPI the notice was not issued in conjunction with the Texas
case and it was routine agency practice that outside inquiries be
referred to the Washington office. He said inspectors are free to talk
to outside parties, including reporters, and he did not consider the
e-mail a violation of the labor agreement with the inspectors.

Painter said the USDA's efforts to keep its employees from talking about
mad cow would be better spent "with issues like protecting the consuming
public instead of trying to hide things." He added he would "just about
bet his last nickel" agency management was attempting to suppress
information about the Texas case.

"To keep federal employees from reporting government waste, misuse of
appropriations -- those types of things -- that's not a good thing
either," Dahl said. "If there is something wrong, let's get it out in
the open -- let's get it fixed. We're working for the public, the
American consumers. I think they have the right to know this," he said.

"And believe me there's so many indicators saying that the USDA's mad
cow testing program is broken," Dahl added.

At least one member of Congress, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, agrees.

Harkin, a long-time critic of the USDA, sent a letter to Agriculture
Secretary Ann Veneman on Monday, saying the Texas incident "calls into
question the effectiveness and reliability of USDA's current and
proposed surveillance system."

The USDA has proposed testing more than 200,000 cows -- or 10 times its
current rate -- in an expanded program scheduled to begin June 1. Harkin
wrote in the five-page letter, however, that given the realities of the
cattle industry, it is "quite doubtful" the USDA will be able to test
that many cows, particularly because it had difficulty finding 20,000
last year.

"We simply cannot tolerate a BSE testing system that fails to give valid
answers to critical questions for U.S. consumers and foreign customers,"
Harkin said in the letter, which sharply criticizes the agency's failure
to address explicitly how its new surveillance program will be implemented.

"We look forward to receiving (Harkin's) letter and having the
opportunity to review it and respond to him," USDA spokesman Ed Loyd
told UPI. "USDA has acknowledged there was a failure in not testing that
cow in Texas for BSE, so we are all working to ensure that does not
occur again."

Jim Rogers, a spokesman for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service, which oversees the agency's mad cow surveillance program, told
UPI the agency has tested about 15,500 animals since fiscal year 2004
began, on Oct. 1, 2003. However, the agency has refused to identify the
states and facilities from which the cows originated. Rogers said UPI
would have to seek that information through the Freedom of Information Act.

The question is central to the USDA's implementation of its expanded
surveillance program. Downer cows -- those unable to stand or walk --
made up the bulk of the animals the agency tested for mad cow in
previous years, but these were banned from being slaughtered for human
consumption in December. This means the agency inspectors no longer can
obtain brain samples from these cows at slaughterhouses as they could in
the past.

Furthermore, the USDA has not provided any evidence it has worked out
agreements with rendering facilities or ranchers, where downers and dead
cows are now most likely to be found, to obtain the extra animals for

Loyd said the agency is "working very hard to get animals on the farm
that would never show up in a processing facility," and he was "not
aware of any issues" that would delay the launch of the new program.

However, he was unable to provide the names or locations of the
rendering facilities where the agency will be obtaining cow brains for
BSE testing. He said he would look into it but did not return two
follow-up phone calls from UPI before publication.


Steve Mitchell is UPI's Medical Correspondent. E-mail

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

Feds reviewing Texas mad cow breach

By Steve Mitchell
United Press International

Washington, DC, May. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Inspector General launched a review Wednesday of the recent breach of
federal mad cow testing policy in Texas, United Press International has

A cow appeared at Lone Star Beef in San Angelo, Texas, last week that
had signs of a central nervous system disorder. Although USDA policy
dictates that all such animals be tested for mad cow disease because
they are considered the most likely to be infected, agency inspectors
did not follow the protocol in this instance and the animal's brain
tissue was not examined.

"We're reviewing the process involved with the Lone Star Beef plant in
San Angelo to determine what happened," David Gray, counsel to USDA's
Office of the Inspector General, told UPI late Wednesday. reported early Wednesday that unnamed government and
industry sources, who claimed to have first-hand knowledge of the Texas
incident, said a USDA employee in Austin, some 225 miles from Lone Star
Beef, overruled the agency inspectors at the plant and made the decision
not to test the cow.

Gray said the OIG had not yet determined whether there was any
malfeasance by USDA employees. At this point, the probe is only a
review, not an audit or an investigation, he added.

The review will seek to determine "why did it happen and then we'll
determine where to go from there and take appropriate action," he said.

The USDA said previously it has launched its own investigation into why
the mad cow testing procedure was breached in Texas, but the OIG's
review will be independent from that, Gray said.

USDA officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Lone Star Beef issued a statement saying it had been "instructed by the
USDA to dispose of the animal."

Although the carcass of the Texas cow was banned from the human food
supply, it was transferred to a rendering facility. The Food and Drug
Administration announced Tuesday the rendered material from the cow had
been placed on hold but would be permitted to go into pig feed. If the
rendering firm elected not to use it for pig feed, the material would be

Acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford told UPI the cow's brain and
spinal cord -- the most infectious parts of an animal infected with mad
cow disease -- were included in the rendered material.

Because there is no way to test the animal for mad cow at this point,
Crawford said the agency must respond as if it were infected. The
concern is humans can contract a fatal, incurable brain disorder called
variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating meat contaminated with the
mad cow pathogen.

The FDA will closely monitor the rendered material and ensure the
rendering facility that processed it is decontaminated, Crawford said.

The OIG is currently conducting two investigations related to the USDA's
mad cow testing program. One is focused on allegations the USDA
veterinarian involved in the case of the infected animal detected in
Washington last December falsified documents to indicate the cow was a
downer, or unable to stand, after it tested positive.

The other investigation is classified as an audit and is aimed at
reviewing the USDA's mad cow surveillance program, both before and after
the Washington case, which is the first and only confirmed incident of
mad cow in U.S. herds. The OIG is examining whether the agency's
policies have been implemented consistently or whether there are
regional variations, among other topics.

Asked if the Lone Star Beef incident might be included in the overall
audit, Gray said, "It's too early for me to say."


Steve Mitchell is UPI's Medical Correspondent. E-mail

No mad cow tests at Texas firm in 2004

By Steve Mitchell
United Press International
Published 5/14/2004 11:06 AM

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture did not
test any cows for mad cow disease in the past seven months at the same
Texas facility where federal testing policies for the deadly disorder
were violated last month, United Press International has learned.

The USDA also failed to test a single cow in 2002 at another Texas
slaughterhouse that processes high-risk, downer cows, according to
agency testing records obtained by UPI under the Freedom of Information
Act. Downer cows are unable to stand or walk, which can be an indication
of mad cow disease, as well as other disorders.

USDA spokesman Jim Rogers told UPI the agency has not conducted any mad
cow tests at Lone Star Beef Processors, in San Angelo, Texas, this
fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2003.

The revelation comes in the wake of a case at Lone Star last month, in
which a cow that had exhibited signs of a brain disorder was not tested
for mad cow disease, despite a USDA policy to test all such cows because
they are considered the most likely to be infected.

Allegations have emerged that an offsite USDA supervisor made the
decision not to test the cow. Both the USDA and its Inspector General
have launched investigations to determine why agency policy was violated
in this case.

As UPI previously reported, USDA's mad cow testing records for the past
two years show only three tests had been conducted at Lone Star in 2003
and none in 2002.

The low-level of testing irks consumer advocates because Lone Star, the
18th largest slaughterhouse in the country, processes high-risk, older
dairy cattle, slaughtering approximately 172,000 per year.

These cows have a high likelihood of being infected compared to other
cattle because they have the most chance of being given feed containing
mad-cow-infected tissue and they are old enough for the disease to have
run its two- to eight-year incubation course. The cow in Washington that
tested positive last December was an older dairy cow, and the cow that
tested positive in Canada in May of 2003 was an older cow.

"We have, in my opinion, a government policy (on mad cow disease) of
'Don't look, don't find,'" said Howard Lyman, a former rancher turned
vegetarian, who has insisted mad cow is present in U.S. herds and has
called for increased testing for several years. The concern is humans
can contract a fatal, incurable brain-wasting disorder called variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating meat infected with the mad cow

"When you're slaughtering 35 million head of cattle and testing as few
cows as the USDA does, it's like sending a blind man to find a needle in
a haystack," Lyman told UPI. The agency tests less than 1 percent of
cows slaughtered annually.

USDA's Rogers said the reason no tests were done at Lone Star so far
this fiscal year "is that facility generally doesn't take downers,"
which is the type of animal the agency's surveillance efforts focus on,
because they are more likely to be infected than seemingly healthy animals.

Lone Star spokeswoman Rosemary Mucklow, who also represents the National
Meat Association, told UPI the decisions to test cows are made by the
USDA, not the company. She added that Lone Star did not process many, if
any, downer or sick animals.

"If there's no target animals, we're probably not going to be hanging
out there or looking," Rogers said.

However, at nearby San Angelo Packing, a facility that does process
downers, the USDA conducted no tests in 2002 and 45 mad cow tests in the
first 10 months of FY 2003, according to the agency's mad cow testing
records. San Angelo is the 22nd largest slaughterhouse in the country,
processing some 142,000 cattle per year, according to Cattle Buyers
Weekly magazine.

Remarking on USDA's position that its surveillance program focuses on
downer cows, Lyman -- referring to the cow with brain disorder symptoms
that was not tested at Lone Star last month -- said, "It looks to me
like they don't test them no matter what they are."

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., also finds the failure to test the Texas
cow troubling and thinks it might be indicative of a larger problem with
the USDA's surveillance system. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann
Veneman on Thursday, Waxman notes the agency's own internal document
from 1997 explicitly said they were not testing some cows with signs of
brain damage.

The document, a Veterinary Services Memorandum, states: "Based on
formation provided by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the
number of adult cattle (2 years of age or greater) condemned at
slaughter due to CNS signs is much greater than the number whose brains
have been collected for testing."

The testing breakdown in Texas "would be worrisome even if it were an
isolated event, but I am concerned it may reflect wider problems with
the surveillance program," Waxman told UPI. "I have asked USDA to
develop processes to ensure that all such cattle are properly tested and
tracked," he added.

Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian, called the lack of
testing at Lone Star in the past seven months "disgraceful."

It will make it difficult "for the USDA get the confidence of the
consumer or the foreign markets if they're not testing these high-risk
dairy cattle," Friedlander said. More than 50 nations, including Japan
-- the largest importer of U.S. beef -- have closed their borders to
U.S. beef in response to the Washington state mad cow case, and many
have not yet reopened them.

In an interview with UPI, Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA's Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service, which oversees the agency's mad cow
testing program, confirmed that San Angelo processed downer animals, and
said more than 200 mad cow tests had been conducted at the firm since
the beginning of FY 2003, on Oct. 1, 2002.

However, spokesman Ed Loyd had told UPI previously only 90 animals had
been tested during that time at San Angelo. USDA records obtained by UPI
show no tests in FY 2002 and only 45 tests from October 2002 through
July 2003, at San Angelo.

A woman at San Angelo Packing, who refused to identify herself, declined
to comment, saying the president of the company, whom she also would not
identify, was out of town.

Asked about the lack of tests at San Angelo in FY 2002, DeHaven said the
USDA's surveillance plan collects samples by region, not by individual

"With few exceptions we've met those (regional) goals," DeHaven said.
"So while we may not have hit every slaughter plant within a region, we
would have collected an appropriately geographically dispersed
population in each region."

One exception to USDA's achievement of its regional goals occurred
during FY 2003, which ended in September. That year, the agency failed
to get enough tests to meet its target goal in the region that includes
Washington state, where the mad-cow-positive animal was detected just
two months later in December.

UPI previously reported that no tests were conducted in the state for
the first seven months of 2003 and no tests were conducted for the past
two years at Vern's Moses Lake Meats in Moses Lake, Wash., where the
infected cow was discovered.

The USDA plans to launch an expanded surveillance plan beginning on June
1, which will include testing 20,000 older, healthy animals at 40
slaughter plants.

DeHaven said he did not know if that would include samples from San
Angelo or Lone Star and he declined to release a list of the names of
the 40 slaughter plants.

"We have it internally (but) I don't know that we want that to be
public, quite honestly," he said. "I do have a bit of concern about
putting that out publicly for fear that it might cause them (the
slaughterhouses) to be less cooperative."


Steve Mitchell is UPI's Medical Correspondent. E-mail

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

May 4, 2004

Media Inquiries: 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

Statement on Texas Cow With Central Nervous System Symptoms

On Friday, April 30 th , the Food and Drug Administration learned that a
cow with central nervous system symptoms had been killed and shipped to
a processor for rendering into animal protein for use in animal feed.

FDA, which is responsible for the safety of animal feed, immediately
began an investigation. On Friday and throughout the weekend, FDA
investigators inspected the slaughterhouse, the rendering facility, the
farm where the animal came from, and the processor that initially
received the cow from the slaughterhouse.

FDA's investigation showed that the animal in question had already been
rendered into "meat and bone meal" (a type of protein animal feed). Over
the weekend FDA was able to track down all the implicated material. That
material is being held by the firm, which is cooperating fully with FDA.

Cattle with central nervous system symptoms are of particular interest
because cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, also known
as "mad cow disease," can exhibit such symptoms. In this case, there is
no way now to test for BSE. But even if the cow had BSE, FDA's animal
feed rule would prohibit the feeding of its rendered protein to other
ruminant animals (e.g., cows, goats, sheep, bison).

FDA is sending a letter to the firm summarizing its findings and
informing the firm that FDA will not object to use of this material in
swine feed only. If it is not used in swine feed, this material will be
destroyed. Pigs have been shown not to be susceptible to BSE. If the
firm agrees to use the material for swine feed only, FDA will track the
material all the way through the supply chain from the processor to the
farm to ensure that the feed is properly monitored and used only as feed
for pigs.

To protect the U.S. against BSE, FDA works to keep certain mammalian
protein out of animal feed for cattle and other ruminant animals. FDA
established its animal feed rule in 1997 after the BSE epidemic in the
U.K. showed that the disease spreads by feeding infected ruminant
protein to cattle.

Under the current regulation, the material from this Texas cow is not
allowed in feed for cattle or other ruminant animals. FDA's action
specifying that the material go only into swine feed means also that it
will not be fed to poultry.

FDA is committed to protecting the U.S. from BSE and collaborates
closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on all BSE issues. The
animal feed rule provides crucial protection against the spread of BSE,
but it is only one of several such firewalls. FDA will soon be improving
the animal feed rule, to make this strong system even stronger.


oops !

hmmm, feed it to the pigs ???

Research Project: Transmission, Differentiation, and Pathobiology of
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies


National Animal Disease Center
Virus and Prion Diseases of Livestock

Title: Evaluation of a Diet Free of Animal Protein in Germfree Swine

item Wiseman, B - NEXTRAN, INC
item Kunkle, Robert - bob


Submitted to: Xenotransplantation
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2005
Publication Date: March 1, 2005
Citation: Loynachan, A.T., Pettigrew, J.E., Wiseman, B.S., Kunkle, R.A.,
Harris, D.L. 2005. Evaluation Of A Diet Free Of Animal Protein In
Germfree Swine. Xenotransplantation. 12:149-155. Interpretive Summary:
Basic research into the potential to use organs harvested from swine for
the purpose of transplantation to save human lives has identified
potential immunological and transmissible infectious disease obstacles.
BSE has been transmitted to swine following intracerebellar inoculation,
indicating the potential susceptibility of pigs to prion infections.
Although neither natural nor experimental oral transmission of
spongiform encephalopathies has been recorded in pigs, concerns about
the transmission of prion proteins in feed have led to the development
of a diet free of animal protein (DFAP). This study describes a method
to rear neonatal pigs in a manner that precludes exposure to
environmental microorganisms and animal-derived proteins. Twenty pigs
were derived by Cesarian-section and housed in sterile bubble-pens.
Duplicate trials were conducted in which germ-free pigs or pigs
intentionally colonized exclusively with the bacterium Lactobacillus
paracasei subspecies paracasei were fed either a traditional milk-based
diet (Esbilac) or the experimental DFAP. On the whole, the pigs in all
groups remained healthy, however, two pigs fed the DFAP developed mild
diarrhea and gained less weight. The pigs were euthanized at 16 days of
age. Examinations revealed no evidence of contamination or disease. The
use of the probiotic, Lactobacillus paracasei, did not confer any
measurable growth advantage to pigs fed either diet. The experimental
DFAP was capable of sustaining life, but was not as efficacious as the
conventional milk-based diet as based upon weight gain and feed-conversion.

Technical Abstract: Two experiments were conducted in which germfree
pigs or pigs monoassociated with Lactobacillus paracasei subspecies
paracasei were fed either a traditional milk-based diet (Esbilac) or an
experimental diet free of animal protein (DFAP). Throughout the 16-day
study, animals' general disposition, total weight gain, feed conversion,
and bacterial contamination were monitored. At the conclusion of the
study the animals were euthanized, necropsied and tissues sampled for L.
paracasei isolation. General pig disposition remained consistent between
treatment groups and trials, except for two animals that developed mild
diarrhea during trial 1. All pigs remained viable during the study
irrespective of the diet fed or probiotic inoculation. Germfree pigs fed
the Esbilac diet gained on average a total of 1034 (+/- 63.0) g, and had
a feed conversion ratio of 0.17 (+/- 0.01) g of gain per 1 ml of diet.
Germfree pigs fed the experimental diet gained on average a total of 599
(+/- 151) g, and had a feed conversion ratio of 0.10 (+/- .02) g of gain
per 1 ml of diet. Monoassociated pigs fed the Esbilac diet gained on
average a total of 862 (+ 70.3) g, and had a feed conversion ratio of
0.14 (+/- 0.01) g of gain per 1 ml of diet. Monoassociated pigs fed the
experimental diet gained on average a total of 563 (+/- 96.8) g, and had
a feed conversion ratio of 0.09 (+/- 0.02) g of gain per 1 ml of diet.
L. paracasei established extensively in pigs fed either the Esbilac or
experimental diets. L. paracasei had no effect (p>0.05) on piglet growth
and did not display any interactions based on the diet fed. Statistical
differences (p<0.05) were noted on measured growth parameters between
trial 1 and 2, and on measured growth parameters based on the diet fed.
In conclusion, a diet free of animal protein has been developed and has
been shown to be capable of sustaining life in piglets up to 16 days of


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