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Corvallis, OR, United States
My personal obsession with prion diseases with smidges of music I like and rescue dog advocacy from a disabled Oregonian.


Song in my head: Mama don't let your babies grow up to be bloggers.......Worldwide Pablo


It has been more than a week...lets see what the USDA has been up to ensuring beef consumers they won't get a brain wasting disease....We had negotiations with Japan regarding BSE testing....seems like the talks are stalled until next month......

BSE discussions conclude in Japan

As U.S. and Japanese officials ended two days of BSE Technical Working Group discussions Wednesday, the two sides remain divided over safeguards against bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Peter Fernandez, the Agriculture Department official who led the U.S. delegation, called the meeting "an important first step in restoring beef trade between our two countries," but said the countries disagreed on some areas, without being more specific.
At the meeting, Japanese officials reiterated that a strict inspection scheme was necessary to ensure food safety, Agence France Press reported.

The two countries are locked in a debate about how to restore American beef exports to Japan, which were cut off after a cow in Washington state tested positive for BSE last December.

The group is expected to meet again next month in the United States.
(LInk via FSNet listserv, by subscription)

and the USDA sugarcoats the meeting...

Press statement by Dr. Peter Fernandez Chairman, US BSE Technical Working Group Associate Administrator, Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA
USDA News Release No. 0198.04 |Link|

This first meeting of the US/Japan BSE Technical Working Group was an important first step in restoring beef trade between our two countries. Over the past two days, we and our Japanese counterparts have engaged in a frank and open dialogue on our respective BSE surveillance and control systems.
We had the opportunity yesterday to visit a modern, well-run slaughter facility in Gunma prefecture. This was a valuable opportunity for our team to see first-hand the SRM removal and testing procedures that Japan has implemented. This visit was followed by a day and half of meetings in which we were able to openly discuss the areas of main importance, including the definition of BSE, SRMs, surveillance, feed bans and country risk categorization. We found many areas where we are in agreement, and some areas where further discussion is needed. This meeting has been very productive and provided a good start to this process. We look forward to continuing our discussions next month when we host the next meeting in the United States.

and the WaPo writes...

USDA allowed Canadian beef in despite ban

The U.S. Agriculture Department, according to this story, allowed American meatpackers to resume imports of ground and other "processed" beef from Canada last September, just weeks after it publicly reaffirmed its ban on importing those products because mad cow disease had been found in Canadian cattle.
The story says that in the next six months, a total of 33 million pounds of Canadian processed beef flowed to American consumers under a series of undisclosed permits the USDA issued to the meatpackers, permits that remained in effect until a federal judge intervened in April.

Woopsie....USDA screwed up.....

USDA admits problems with Canada beef imports
May 20, 2004
WASHINGTON - According to these stories, U.S. Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Thursday scolded the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its performance in protecting consumers against mad cow disease after the agency admitted it allowed Canadian beef imports that went beyond previously announced restrictions.
The stories note that USDA said about 10 million pounds of beef were allowed into the United States from Canada since last summer, including hamburger, bone-in beef and processed beef. Last August, the USDA announced that it was only allowing boneless beef from young Canadian animals into the United States.
Following a briefing by USDA officials on Capitol Hill, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, was cited as saying the USDA admitted "mistakes were made" and products were allowed entry that were not on public lists.

33 or 10 million? Freaks..., and the UK, Canada, and Japan know little regarding the incubation period of vCJD...

Thousands may be vCJD carriers, UK scientists fear
May 20, 2004
LONDON - A UK government-funded study in the Journal of Pathology was cited as reporting that around 4,000 people in Britain may unwittingly be carrying the prion protein responsible for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).
The story says that scientists examined more than 12,500 appendices and tonsils removed in the late 1990s from people in the highest risk group, mainly aged in their twenties.
Dr David Hilton, one of the authors of the study, was cited as saying that three of the samples tested positive for vCJD and calculated that this would suggest that 3,800 people in Britain could be carrying the infective agent.

Reassurance is crucial in mad-cow disaster
May 21, 2004
The Vancouver Sun

The discovery a year ago this month of one sick cow has, according to this editorial, cost the Canadian economy more than $6 billion so far and the crisis is far from over.
The editorial says that documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun have raised troubling questions over whether the federal government has done all it can to prove to the world that BSE is once again under control in Canada.

Experts are forecasting 60 more cases of mad cow
May 16, 2004
The Japan Times

A Cabinet Office report, complied by an expert panel under the government's Food Safety Commission, which met Friday, was cited as estimating that about 60 more cases of mad cow disease are expected to occur in Japan, with the number likely to peak in 2005 and 2006.
The story notes that Japan has so far confirmed 11 cows to have been infected with the disease, officially called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, since the first case in September 2001

consumers had been promised new cattle feed rules 4 months ago....

FDA not yet ready to announce mad cow feed rules

WASHINGTON - Rae Jones, a spokeswoman for U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, was cited as saying the FDA will not say when it will announce the new safeguards that it promised four months ago to protect the U.S. animal feed supply from mad cow disease, adding, "No announcement today," and "no time frame for when announcement will be made."
Earlier in the day, two food industry officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the FDA could announce its proposed rules as early as Friday. They said the FDA may first publish regulations for the food supply, then issue the feed rules later.
A USDA official indicated to congressional staff on Thursday that FDA action was imminent, according to a Senate aide who attended the briefing.
(Via FSNet listserv)

and because the USDA made a big woopsie last month....


The U.S. Agriculture Department will implement measures to ensure that all condemned cattle, determined unsafe to eat, are tested for mad cow disease, Reuters reported Friday citing a department official.
"Food safety officials at U.S. beef plants would be able to order testing of suspect cattle without first consulting regional veterinarians," Reuters said, quoting the official of the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The action was in response to revelations of the department's failure last month to test a condemned cow at a Texas slaughterhouse for mad cow disease, even though the animal showed symptoms associated with the brain-wasting illness, Reuters said
. (Via FSNet listserv)

and an important study shows......

Mad Cow-Like Proteins Found in Sheep Muscle

Malformed proteins called prions that are thought to cause brain-wasting diseases like mad cow have been found in low concentrations in sheep muscle, French scientists reported.

But the researchers at the National Veterinary School in Toulouse emphasized that the findings did not mean that lamb or mutton posed any danger to people, according to The New York Times .

Up to now, the proteins had been found exclusively in animal brains and other body parts that people don't normally eat.

further proof the USDA screwed up....

Following USDA's admission of failures on mad cow

Following admissions by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it violated its own mad cow disease prevention regulations by allowing high risk Canadian meat into the U.S., independent cattle producers joined the nation's leading consumer advocacy organizations today in calling on USDA to maintain the current ban on Canadian beef and cattle imports until a scientific risk analysis can be conducted by a balanced panel of experts under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). After bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- also known as mad cow disease -- was detected in a native Canadian cow last May, USDA banned imports of cattle and beef from Canada.

The Consumer Federation of America and Public Citizen were joined by the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund - United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) in urging USDA to halt a proposed regulatory change that would permit the resumption of cattle and beef imports from Canada until the NAS risk analysis is completed, and public hearings can be held on the issue. R-CALF and the consumer groups said both USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should oversee the NAS study to ensure it addresses both animal and human health.

In a letter sent today to Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman, the groups also called for tracking and testing of all Canadian cattle now in the U.S., for a definitive study to determine the actual prevalence of mad cow disease in the Canadian cattle herd, and to test all Canadian cattle slaughtered for beef destined for the U.S. Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, separately endorsed the proposals.
"The Bush Administration's actions in response to BSE-infected cows in the U.S. and Canada raise questions of both competence and integrity
(Press release from FsNet listserv)

I'll take a Whopper....hold the meat.

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