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From: TSS ()
Date: June 27, 2005 at 8:21 pm PST

Mad cow rules may have eased impact
09:15 PM CDT on Monday, June 27, 2005

By JESSICA LEEDER / The Dallas Morning News

Industry experts credit new rules developed after the nation's first mad cow scare with keeping the disease out of the food chain and say the regulations might be minimizing the latest case's effect on the U.S. beef industry.

Federal officials said last week that a cow had tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. The discovery came 18 months after a Canadian-born dairy cow tested positive for BSE in Washington state. That prompted a new ban on slaughtering dead and unhealthy livestock for human consumption.
Mad cow disease: What you need to know
"Any animal that is down for any reason is not allowed to go into the human food chain," said Ellen Jordan, a dairy industry expert at Texas A&M University.

The rule, paired with a ban on processing high-risk parts known to contain BSE among infected animals – the spinal cord, small intestines, brains, skull and other parts of the central nervous system – has helped form an effective firewall that should allay fears of concerned beef consumers, Ms. Jordan said.

The new rules affect cattle known as "downers." The broad term is used to describe aging cattle with a variety of afflictions, ranging from broken limbs to fatal infections. Although not all downer cattle have BSE, their symptoms – inability to stand or walk, nervousness and excitability – make them difficult to distinguish from cows suffering from the rare brain-wasting disease.

Previously, farmers and ranchers were able to sell uninfected downers to processors or meat packers. But under the new regulations, the market for downer cows has been sharply reduced.

Now, only pet-food renderers can buy the animals, and payment is far below the market value of healthy cows, ranging from about $100 to $150 per animal, said David Anderson a livestock market analyst and a professor at Texas A&M's University Cooperative Extension Service.

"It's a large discount if you have one that can't make it into the market," he said.

Clear rules

While some unlucky ranchers might lose money on downers, they're glad to have clear regulations on how to handle unhealthy animals.

"It's no longer a situation where the rancher goes, 'I can go this route and get this much money, or that route and get this much,' " said Matt Brockman, executive vice president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. "The situation is whether or not the rancher's animal is ... [healthy]. If it's not, no ifs ands or buts."

Before the new United States Department of Agriculture regulations, the department came under criticism for a lack of transparent BSE protocols. Now, Mr. Brockman said, if an animal is unhealthy, ranchers know it's up to the USDA's inspectors to make a decision regarding testing and the animal's fate.

Current regulations mandate that all suspect cattle at slaughter or animal-rendering facilities be tested for BSE. While the USDA does not require farmers to report downer animals, field inspectors will conduct testing upon farmers' request.

The system, Mr. Brockman said, seems to be working.

"We're in a needle-in-a-haystack situation here. BSE has never been found in muscle meat, a steak, a roast, or a hamburger patty," he said. "We have to look to this one case and realize that BSE is not a threat to the food supply in this country."

Testing questions

In fact, the 8-year-old cow that recently tested positive for BSE was collected at pet food-type rendering plant. According to some media reports, the plant was in Texas, but officials would not confirm that Monday.

Dr. Lelve Gayle is the director of the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab in College Station, one of only seven USDA-approved state BSE testing facilities in the country.

Most of the cattle samples handled by the lab come from Texas and New Mexico, and nearly all come from rendering plants, not slaughterhouses, Dr. Gayle said.

Dr. Gayle, who is under contract to the USDA, cited a confidentiality agreement in declining to release testing information. But he said he did not know if his lab tested the infected cow or whether the animal was from Texas.

Ben Boerner, president of the Texas Grain and Feed Association, said he doesn't expect to find out.

"You don't want to implicate a feed company or a farm where there's no reason to suggest they were part of the problem," he said. "Whether the allegation is true or not, they've got a mark."


What are they? "Downer" is a physical description, not a medical term, although some downer cows can be medically ill. The Food Safety and Inspection Service defines downers, or "nonambulatory" livestock, as "animals unable to stand or showing abnormal locomotion" or "livestock that cannot rise from a recumbent [downer] position or that cannot walk."

Why are they "down"? Broken appendages sustained in transport, severed tendons, ligaments or nerve paralysis (sometimes the result of giving birth), milk fever or simply old age.

What can be done with downer animals? They can be euthanized or sold to animal rendering plants. Inspectors at the plants test some downers. If mad-cow disease is determined – or even if the tests are inconclusive – the animal carcasses are incinerated.

SOURCES: Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration

Mad cow answers may take time

Genetic tests needed to find diseased animal's herd of origin

By KAREN ROBINSON-JACOBS / The Dallas Morning News

Consumers and the U.S. beef industry, hoping for answers in the nation's second confirmed mad cow case, may face a bit of a wait.

The case confirmed Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is more complicated than the 2003 Washington state case.

Mad cow disease: What you need to know
In November, when the diseased animal originally tested negative for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, parts of it were inadvertently mixed with parts of other animals being tested, a USDA spokesman said.

That made it difficult, after the positive test result came back, to determine the herd of origin.

"There was some question about which sample came from which animal," all of which were ultimately incinerated, spokesman Jim Rogers said.

"So we're in the process of doing some genetic testing to find a genetic match to the sample," he said. That process is almost done.

Determining the herd of origin will help investigators zero in on any herd mates, siblings or offspring for testing. That could take weeks, Mr. Rogers said.

It's of key concern in Texas, home to the nation's largest cattle herd. Speculation is rife that the animal had a Texas link.

In Friday's news conference, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns stressed that the animal never entered any food chain and that U.S. beef is safe.

Humans who eat meat from cows with BSE are at risk of developing a variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare, fatal degenerative brain disorder. Contaminated feed is the suspected cause of BSE.

The 2003 case involved a dairy cow imported to Washington state from Canada. The current case involves a beef cow, which are frequently sold. It is thought to be domestic and at least 8 years old.

Mr. Rogers said finding animals that may have come into contact with the infected animal involves following a paper trail.

"It would be nice to know what they know about the cow so far," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union. "To me, 'We're not certain how long it will take' is not an acceptable answer."


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mad Cow Disease: Beef consumers beware


The second U.S. case of mad cow disease will do little to change most people's minds about whether they are at risk of dying from the human form of the ailment. But the federal Department of Agriculture's mishandling of the matter ought to worry all of us.

The seven-month delay in word of the infected animal would be simply ridiculous if it were an isolated instance of bureaucratic ineptness. In fact, the delay looks like a prime example of federal officials favoring industry profits over intensive examination of food safety. The positive finding could have been confirmed long ago.

The Bush administration's see-no-evil approach to mad cow is so extreme that it will end up unintentionally hurting dedicated American farmers and ranchers. Taiwan immediately said it was taking steps to reimpose a ban on U.S. beef imports that it had trustingly decided to lift.

Experts say mad cow represents only a very minor health concern. That's reassuring. But the dismal handling of the new case reduces the overall credibility of federal food protection. The federal authorities have shown that, when presented with any health issue, the system's first instinct is likely to be to safeguard economic interests rather than the health of Americans.

CSPI Reaction to New Mad Cow Confirmation and Administration's "Faith-Based Mad Cow Policy"

Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal

It appears the animal that recently was confirmed as positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy did not enter the human food supply. But since the United States does not have a mandatory animal tracking system, USDA's strategy is basically to cross its fingers and hope that beef from a BSE-infected animal doesn't end up on Americans' dinner plates. Call it a faith-based mad cow policy.

In May, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns put national animal identification on a slow boat and delayed implementation until 2009. Canada was able to move from a voluntary to a mandatory animal tracking system in one year. There's no reason why the United States can't implement a system just as good as Canada's just as quickly.

Happily, the risk of contracting the human form of mad cow disease is miniscule. But the benefits of a better system that allows traceability up and down the food chain is that it would allow other potentially infected cattle to be more easily found. In addition, it also would help public officials to more easily contain food-poisoning outbreaks due to E. coli 0157:H7 and other hazards, including bioterrorism.

Monday, June 27, 2005 17:07 GMT
Daily Report
By Alaron

Livestock Futures Report - June 27, 2005
LIVE CATTLE: The USDA, on Friday afternoon, confirmed its second Mad Cow case in the U.S. Final test results were positive for an 8-year old beef cow being re-tested in Weybridge, England. Published reports said the cow was U.S. born and from an east Texas beef herd. If true, it will be our first home grown case.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns apparently indicated that he was "very disappointed" that the USDA's inspector general did not consult with him before the re-opening and re-testing of the cow here. He did concede that the USDA's protocol on the testing that it perfers "might be out of date".

While the test results may not stun the American consumer, It could give pause to some foreign buyers as to the timing of the re-opening of their border to our product. It may be "wait until next year time" That, however, may have much immediate impact on the market, as we lost most of our export market on beef following the discovery of the first case of Mad Cow Disease.

With consumers of beef here fairly well desensitized to this kind of news, chances are the live cash and wholesale beef markets won't be falling off the cliff from last week's levels because of the latest discovery. If the cash market continues to soften, it will likely me more of a reflection of consumer resistance to continued very high prices of beef at retail meat counters, weak gains in their disposable incomes, and their adjustment to continued high energy costs.

I continue to hold an overall negative bias toward futures.






January 30, 2001
Print Media:
Broadcast Media:
Consumer Inquiries:


Today the Food and Drug Administration announced the results of tests
taken on feed used at a Texas feedlot
that was suspected of containing meat and bone meal from other domestic
cattle -- a violation of FDA's 1997
prohibition on using ruminant material in feed for other ruminants.
Results indicate that a very low level of
prohibited material was found in the feed fed to cattle.

FDA has determined that each animal could have consumed, at most and in
total, five-and-one-half grams -
approximately a quarter ounce -- of prohibited material. These animals
weigh approximately 600 pounds.

It is important to note that the prohibited material was domestic in
origin (therefore not likely to contain infected
material because there is no evidence of BSE in U.S. cattle), fed at a
very low level, and fed only once. The
potential risk of BSE to such cattle is therefore exceedingly low, even
if the feed were contaminated.

According to Dr. Bernard Schwetz, FDA's Acting Principal Deputy
Commissioner, "The challenge to regulators
and industry is to keep this disease out of the United States. One
important defense is to prohibit the use of any
ruminant animal materials in feed for other ruminant animals. Combined
with other steps, like U.S. Department
of Agriculture's (USDA) ban on the importation of live ruminant animals
from affected countries, these steps
represent a series of protections, to keep American cattle free of BSE."

Despite this negligible risk, Purina Mills, Inc., is nonetheless
announcing that it is voluntarily purchasing all 1,222
of the animals held in Texas and mistakenly fed the animal feed
containing the prohibited material. Therefore,
meat from those animals will not enter the human food supply. FDA
believes any cattle that did not consume
feed containing the prohibited material are unaffected by this incident,
and should be handled in the beef supply
clearance process as usual.

FDA believes that Purina Mills has behaved responsibly by first
reporting the human error that resulted in the
misformulation of the animal feed supplement and then by working closely
with State and Federal authorities.

This episode indicates that the multi-layered safeguard system put into
place is essential for protecting the food
supply and that continued vigilance needs to be taken, by all concerned,
to ensure these rules are followed

FDA will continue working with USDA as well as State and local officials
to ensure that companies and
individuals comply with all laws and regulations designed to protect the
U.S. food supply.


24. Februar 2001


Loch in der Mauer

Die BSE-Angst erreicht Amerika: Trotz strikter Auflagen gelangte in Texas verbotenes Tiermehl ins Rinderfutter - die Kontrollen der Aufsichtsbehörden sind lax.


"Löcher wie in einem Schweizer Käse" hat auch Terry Singeltary im
Regelwerk der FDA ausgemacht. Der Texaner kam auf einem tragischen Umweg
zu dem Thema: Nachdem seine Mutter 1997 binnen weniger Wochen an der
Creutzfeldt-Jakob-Krankheit gestorben war, versuchte er, die Ursachen
der Infektion
aufzuspüren. Er klagte auf die Herausgabe von
Regierungsdokumenten und arbeitete sich durch Fachliteratur; heute ist
er überzeugt, dass seine Mutter durch die stetige Einnahme von angeblich
kräftigenden Mitteln erkrankte, in denen - völlig legal - Anteile aus
Rinderprodukten enthalten sind.

Von der Fachwelt wurde Singeltary lange als versponnener Außenseiter
belächelt. Doch
mittlerweile sorgen sich auch Experten, dass ausgerechnet diese
verschreibungsfreien Wundercocktails zur Stärkung von Intelligenz,
Immunsystem oder Libido von den Importbeschränkungen ausgenommen
sind. Dabei enthalten die Pillen und Ampullen, die in Supermärkten
verkauft werden, exotische Mixturen
aus Rinderaugen; dazu Extrakte von Hypophyse oder
Kälberföten, Prostata, Lymphknoten und gefriergetrocknetem
Schweinemagen. In die USA hereingelassen werden auch Blut, Fett,
Gelatine und Samen. Diese Stoffe tauchen noch immer in
US-Produkten auf, inklusive Medizin und Kosmetika.


[BBC radio 4 FARM news] (audio realplayer LISTEN)

Risk of oral infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent in primates

Corinne Ida Lasmézas, Emmanuel Comoy, Stephen Hawkins, Christian Herzog, Franck Mouthon, Timm Konold, Frédéric Auvré, Evelyne Correia, Nathalie Lescoutra-Etchegaray, Nicole Salès, Gerald Wells, Paul Brown, Jean-Philippe Deslys
Summary The uncertain extent of human exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)--which can lead to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)--is compounded by incomplete knowledge about the efficiency of oral infection and the magnitude of any bovine-to-human biological barrier to transmission. We therefore investigated oral transmission of BSE to non-human primates. We gave two macaques a 5 g oral dose of brain homogenate from a BSE-infected cow. One macaque developed vCJD-like neurological disease 60 months after exposure, whereas the other remained free of disease at 76 months. On the basis of these findings and data from other studies, we made a preliminary estimate of the food exposure risk for man, which provides additional assurance that existing public health measures can prevent transmission of BSE to man.

Published online January 27, 2005




FDA Statement
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.



#2 TEJAS BSE COW (1st inconclusive)


APHIS Statement Regarding First Inconclusive BSE Test


Release No. 0272.04

USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623

Statement By Deputy Administrator Dr. John Clifford For The Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service

June 30, 2004

“At approximately, 3:45 p.m. today, we were notified by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa that the inconclusive screening test sample reported on June 25, tested negative for BSE upon confirmatory testing.

“NVSL used the world-recognized gold-standard test for BSE, the immunohistochemistry test to confirm this finding.”


#3 TEJAS BSE COW (2nd inconclusive)


APHIS Statement Regarding Second Inconclusive BSE Test


Release No. 0275.04

USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623

Statement By Deputy Administrator Dr. John Clifford For The Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service

July 2, 2004

“At approximately 2:45 EDT today, we were notified by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa that the inconclusive screening test sample reported on June 29, tested negative for BSE upon confirmatory testing.

“NVSL used the world-recognized gold-standard test for BSE, the immunohistochemistry test to confirm this finding.”

r i g h t ... sure thing... cause they use gw's gold standard, no WB, and antibody's from some cloned cow somewhere...tss




APHIS Statement Regarding Third Inconclusive BSE Test!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2004/11/0501.xml


Release No. 0508.04
Office Of Communications (202)720 4623

Statement by John Clifford, Deputy Administrator Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service

November 23, 2004

"The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, has determined that the inconclusive screening test sample reported on Nov. 18 has tested negative for BSE upon confirmatory testing.

"The Nov. 18 sample is the first that has tested inconclusive under an APHIS protocol announced in August that calls for public reporting of screening results only after two reactive screens. NVSL used the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, an internationally-recognized gold standard test for BSE, and received a negative result on Nov. 22. Because the Nov. 18 screening test results were reactive in both the first and second screens, NVSL scientists made the recommendation to run the IHC test a second time. On Nov. 23 they reported the second IHC test was negative. Negative results from both IHC tests make us confident that the animal in question is indeed negative for BSE.

"APHIS began an enhanced surveillance program on June 1 and to date has tested over 121,000 samples for BSE. Screening tests are designed to be extremely sensitive and false positives are not unexpected. APHIS has reported three inconclusives including the Nov. 18 sample and all have tested negative on confirmatory testing."!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2004/11/0508.xml

R I G H T !!! and cows can fly. i question all 388,000 cows tested since the june 2004 ENHANCED BSE COVER UP
i am hearing that this cow came from the Sealy area. nothing to confirm this with yet since the USDA keeps insisting on more and more secrecy. ...


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