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From: TSS ()
Subject: Livestock tracking deficient, audit says TEXAS state agency has outdated records and technology
Date: July 15, 2005 at 5:01 am PST

July 15, 2005, 1:30AM

Livestock tracking deficient, audit says
Study done in wake of a mad cow case finds state agency has outdated records and technology
By TERRI LANGFORD
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Texas officials rely on an antiquated computer system and incomplete information to keep track of the state's livestock, particularly animals exposed to disease, a Texas State Auditor's Office report revealed Thursday.


Basic information, such as the name and address of an animal's owner, was often missing from Texas Animal Health Commission test records, the audit found.

"Although the agency has established processes for the surveillance of livestock and for the prevention, eradication and control of livestock diseases, the agency should improve its documentation," it stated.

The report's results come shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed last month that a Texas cow had bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as mad cow disease.

The audit did not say if the record-keeping problems could result in a diseased animal slipping through a government-industry system of safety checks. And a commission official insisted that the points raised in the audit do not translate into harm for the public.

"They didn't make any findings that we didn't do our job," said Gene Snelson, the commission's attorney. "It didn't create any risk out there."

Still, the report pointed out concerns about how diseased animals are tracked and monitored in Texas.

The animal health commission is responsible for protecting the livestock industry in the state from diseases and pests. The audit examined records kept by the commission from Sept. 1, 2003 to Feb. 28, 2005.

According to the audit, blood and tissue samples sent to the agency for testing were sometimes mailed late to the agency, missing a 48-hour commission deadline.

Auditors did say, however, that none of the samples' quality was compromised and all were testable. But it recommended that the agency have veterinarians adhere more strictly to the commission's deadlines about sample recovery.

Also, some paper permits used to regulate the transportation of diseased, exposed and non-tested livestock in Texas were either missing critical pieces of information or a hard copy of the permit was nowhere to be found at the agency, as required by the USDA.

A sample of 34 livestock blood tests found that owner name and address information in 29 tests — 85 percent — were incomplete. These blood samples, collected at slaughterhouses and tested by the agency, are used to determine if an animal is diseased.

Auditors also noted that until April, the commission had not applied for homeland security funding that would help pay for a better system of data keeping.

"The agency indicated that it did not apply for one specific homeland security grant due to lack of time and personnel," auditors wrote.

The commission is small in relation to other state agencies. Snelson said the commission is equipped with a $4 million annual budget that includes only 40 inspectors who must evaluate livestock in 254 Texas counties.

Texas has 13.8 million head of cattle alone, about 15 percent of the nation's cattle market.

Yet, the method the commission uses to track quarantine information for cattle and other livestock does not contain the most current information about diseased livestock located by the agency, auditors found.

"The lack of an accurate, up-to-date database for hold orders, quarantines and releases may result in a failure or follow up on potential cases of disease," the audit stated.

Such a "hold order" was placed on the herd the Texas mad cow came from, restricting the herd's movement until it could be determined that no other cow had the disease.

That hold order has been lifted after subsequent tests on 67 other cows in the herd were negative for the fatal brain-wasting disease.

The location of the Texas mad cow has not been revealed.

On Thursday, the Texas Animal Health Commission notified the Houston Chronicle that it was challenging the newspaper's formal request for information about the cow, including its location and other documents.

"Because we are handling this matter in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture there are a number of documents that have claims of being confidential under federal law," Snelson said in an e-mail to the Chronicle. "We have notified our USDA that we have documents for which they may want to assert a privilege as being confidential and requesting their comments."

The issue will be decided by the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Snelson said the fact that the records involve a mad cow makes the records more worthy of protection — because of the negative connotation the disease carries.

By contrast, if the public wanted to know the owner and location of a cow infected with tuberculosis, the agency would likely release them.

"Yeah, you would get that," Snelson said.

Although 150 people died after a mad cow outbreak in the United Kingdom in 1986, no cow infected with the disease is known to have made it into the food system in the United States.

The 12-year-old Texas cow found to be infected was already dead and sold to a Waco pet food company, but it was not used to make pet food.

terri.langford@chron.com

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/3267113



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.

####

http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/NEW01061.html


Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration

Minneapolis District Office
Central Region
212 Third Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Telephone: (612) 758-7119
FAX: (612) 334-4142


June 9, 2005

WARNING LETTER

CERTIFIED MAIL
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

Refer to MIN 05-15

Michael J. Langenhorst
President
Anamax Corporation
P.O. Box 10067
Green Bay, WI 54307

Dear Mr. Langenhorst:

Our inspection of your rendering plant located at 505 Hardman Avenue South, South St. Paul, Minnesota, from January 12-20, 2005, revealed significant deviations from the requirements set forth in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations , Part 589 .2000 (21 CFR 589 .2000), Animal Proteins Prohibited in Ruminant Feed. This regulation is intended to prevent the establishment and amplification of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Because you failed to follow the requirements of this regulation, products being manufactured and distributed by your facility are adulterated within the meaning of Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. 342(a)(4)], and misbranded within the meaning of Section 403(a)(1) of the Act [21 U.S.C. 343(a)(1)].

Our investigation found that you failed to provide for measures to prevent commingling or cross-contamination and to maintain sufficient written procedures [21 CFR 589.2000(e)] in that:

1. You failed to use clean-out procedures or other means adequate to prevent carryover of protein derived from mammalian tissues into feeds that may be used for ruminants.

2. You failed to maintain written procedures specifying the clean-out procedures or other means to prevent carryover of protein derived from mammalian tissues into feeds that may be used for ruminants.

Our investigation also found that you failed to label products that may contain protein derived from mammalian tissues with the statement, "Do not feed to cattle or other ruminants." For example, your Feather Meal and Stabilized Poultry By-Product Meal lack this statement, even though the absence of sufficient measures to avoid commingling or cross-contamination may result in these products containing protein derived from mammalian tissues. Because your products do not bear this caution statement, they are misbranded under Section 403(a)(1) of the Act [21 U.S .C. 343(a)(1)).

The above is not intended as an all-inclusive list of violations. As a manufacturer of materials intended for animal feed use, you are responsible for ensuring that your overall operation and the products you manufacture and distribute are in compliance with the law.

You should acknowledge this letter within 15 working days of receiving and include any additional corrective actions concerning your facility. We have received your letter dated January 31, 2005, which replies to the Form FDA-483 issued on January 20, 2005, and your letter dated February 25, 2005, that states all corrections have been implemented. The corrections you have reported appear to be adequate but will be evaluated further during our follow-up inspection.

Your response should be directed to Compliance Officer Jane E . Nelson at the address on the letterhead. If you have any questions regarding this letter, you may phone Ms. Nelson at (612) 758-7119.

Sincerely,

/S/

W. Charles Becoat
Director
Minneapolis District


http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/g5373d.pdf


TSS




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