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From: TSS ()
Subject: DeLauro Questions Testing That May Allow Injured Cattle Back into Food Supply
Date: May 2, 2005 at 7:26 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: DeLauro Questions Testing That May Allow Injured Cattle Back into Food Supply
Date: Mon, 2 May 2005 08:54:56 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
To: BSE-L@aegee.org


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kate Cyrul
Friday April 22, 2005 (202) 225-3661

DeLauro Questions Testing That May Allow Injured Cattle Back into Food
Supply

-- Calls for Agriculture Department to Institute National Animal
Identification System --

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to Secretary Johanns today, Ranking
Member of the Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Congresswoman Rosa
L. DeLauro (Conn.-3) questioned the Agriculture Department testing that
may allow injured cattle back into the food supply. Last week, Secretary
Johanns said the department is considering lifting the ban on injured
cattle, put in place 15 months ago after the first case of “mad cow”
disease in the country. Johanns suggested it was now safe due to an
agriculture study. Previous cases have shown that a cow’s injury can be
a sign of “mad cow.”

“APHIS never tells the reader how it will overcome the major flaws
identified by the IG such as the fact that its sampling program is
voluntary, that it is not geographically viable, and that a significant
number of cattle, such as downers that would be expected to be tested in
a European study, are not being presented to be tested at all,” DeLauro
wrote in the letter. “In fact, the APHIS study certainly contrasts
unfavorably with testing protocols in the United Kingdom where all
cattle over thirty months of age, and all fallen or downer cattle are
tested for BSE.”

The full text of the letter follows.

April 22, 2005

The Honorable Mike Johanns

Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Jamie Whitten Building

1400 Jefferson Drive SW

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Johanns:

I am writing to express my concern about recent reports that you are
considering allowing some injured cattle to enter the human food supply
based on the “increased surveillance” program run by the Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This action, in my opinion, is
questionable based upon the August 2004 report of the Inspector General
of USDA, as well as the contradictory follow up issued by APHIS itself
the following month.

During your testimony before the Appropriations Subcommittee on
Agriculture, you and I discussed meeting to discuss food safety, and the
management of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) issue in
particular. I hope we will have the opportunity to discuss these
proposed changes soon.

In August of 2004, the Inspector General’s Office of USDA found several
troubling issues surrounding the expanded testing program that inhibit
APHIS reaching its stated goal – to determine if “…BSE is actually
present in the population and if so, at what level.” At that time the IG
raised several important issues about the surveillance program and plan.
They pointed out that:

· Sampling is not truly random because participation in the program is
voluntary (the IG asserts that while APHIS has authority to collect
samples it chose not to exercise this authority except in federally
inspected slaughter facilities.)

· As the plan was then designed APHIS could not obtain a statistically
appropriate geographical representation of the U.S. cattle population.
This is true both because the program is voluntary and the universe of
high risk cattle is difficult to identify, obtain and test.

· APHIS’ plan assumes BSE is confined to high-risk cattle – something
that has been refuted in other countries.

Following those and other findings, the IG asked APHIS to fully disclose
the assumptions that it made in designing its sampling plan and clarify
the limitations that exist in the data it collects. APHIS did publish
its “ USDA BSE Surveillance Plan: Background On Assumptions and
Statistical Inferences” in September 2004. However, this document does
little to clarify the current surveillance plan underway in the U.S. or
to enhance its credibility.

APHIS does admit in the statement that their study of the condition of
cattle presented for possible testing - as measured between May 2003 and
May 2004 has resulted in the probability that: “those animals that had
neurological deficits sufficient to lead to injuries – are now being
condemned ante-mortem or not being presented for slaughter.” Therefore,
by APHIS’ own report animals that should be examined because they
qualify as “downers” are not being tested. Their effort to have these
animals presented for testing voluntarily is also not working.

In its statement APHIS indicates that it is not conducting a study of
prevalence, but rather is attempting to detect BSE in the U.S. cattle
population at or above a specified prevalence with a specified degree of
confidence. But by making the admission that the universe is low of
“high risk” animals that should be tested in order for APHIS to detect
BSE it seems to contradict possible achievement of this goal. And again
later in the statement APHIS declares that the testing protocol will
help to determine parameters around probable prevalence level of BSE in
the United States. Which is it - detection or probable prevalence? Can
either be accomplished by this particular study?

APHIS never tells the reader how it will overcome the major flaws
identified by the IG such as the fact that its sampling program is
voluntary, that it is not geographically viable, and that a significant
number of cattle, such as downers that would be expected to be tested in
a European study, are not being presented to be tested at all. In fact,
the APHIS study certainly contrasts unfavorably with testing protocols
in the United Kingdom where all cattle over thirty months of age, and
all fallen or downer cattle are tested for BSE.

In the context of excusing itself from not using randomized sampling in
the targeted population, APHIS uses the fact that it has not implemented
a National Animal Identification System and therefore it is not feasible
to “compare the tested group characteristics to the targeted population
using criteria such as age, breed, and geographical location.” The lack
of comparability is undoubtedly true, again putting into question the
study itself.

These are only a few of the flaws in the APHIS testing, which is less a
plan or a program, than it is a sampling program without a statistically
planned model for the use of such samples.

Mr. Secretary, before you alter what animals can enter the human food
supply, I strongly suggest that you move forward on a real National
Animal Identification System, and that a team of statisticians and risk
assessors evaluate the so-called BSE Surveillance Plan in a thorough and
scientific manner.

Having lost, by USDA’s own estimates, approximately $2 billion last year
in beef exports due in part to lack of credibility in the USDA’s BSE
management program it is critical for us to institute excellent and
internationally accepted management programs for BSE. We need new and
aggressive leadership at USDA for the good of producers as well as
processors, and to ensure we are adequately protecting the health of our
citizens in the short and long term.

I look forward to discussing these issues with you in the near future.
Please have your staff contact Nancy Mulry at (202) 225 3661 to find a
convenient time to meet.

Sincerely,

Rosa L. DeLauro

Ranking Member

Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and
Drug Administration and Related Agencies

###

http://www.house.gov/delauro/press/2005/April/downer_cows_04_22_05.html

DeLauro renews call for mandatory testing of cattle
by Pete Hisey on 5/2/2005 for
Meatingplace.com


Congresswoman Rose DeLauro (D-Conn.) has renewed her call for national
testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy testing following the
release of a Kansas State University study showing that the beef
industry could have recovered some of the billions of dollars it lost
from banned exports had USDA allowed voluntary testing of exported cattle.

"Restoring confidence in our nation's food supply benefits U.S.
consumers, U.S. producers and the U.S. economy," said DeLauro, the
ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. "I
cannot understand why USDA refuses to put a national system in place
when our country is still trying to recover financially from the 'mad
cow' case in Washington [in 2003]."

The K-State study (see Meatingplace.com K-State: BSE has cost industry
billions in lost imports
)
suggested that had voluntary testing of slaughtered cattle been allowed
immediately after the crisis, several key markets could have been kept
open, and the impact to U.S. producers, estimated as being between $3.2
billion and $4.7 billion, could have been softened. Creekstone Farms,
among others, attempted to voluntarily test every animal it slaughtered
to reassure export customers, but USDA refused to supply the companies
with test kits. USDA says that universal testing is expensive,
unnecessary and possibly dangerous.

http://www.meatingplace.com/MembersOnly/webNews/details.aspx?item=14182

TSS

############ https://www.lists.uni-karlsruhe.de/warc/bse-l.html ############






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