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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: People die, for no reason. People starve, 'tis the season.....Mad Kane


It's been awhile since I gave my loyal 3 readers an update on the safety of our beef supply. If you are a deli meat or sausage aficianado you might like to know this.

Sausage casing group says the ban on the use of beef casing in the United States is unsound, unfair, and causing hardships for U.S. sausage-makers.

When the first – and only – case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered in the United States last December, USDA erected new firewalls to prevent the spread of the disease and to allay fears of U.S. consumers and U.S. beef-importing countries. One of the firewalls was to ban the use of small intestines from beef cattle to make casings for sausage and other meat products.

And once again politics plays a role.....

The USDA has told the sausage making industry that it is a political decision that cannot be changed until after the election, the NANCA said. By that time, inventories of beef casings produced before January 2004 will be gone and so will traditional sausages, such as ring bologna, knockwurst, liver sausage, kiska, metwurst, blood sausage, and holsteiner. “The situation is urgent,” NANCA said. “Sure, there may be artificial substitutes for natural beef casings, but who wants something artificial. Our grandparents wouldn’t have.” (story via FSNet listserv, by subscription)

Save the liverwurst.

Jane Hamilton, executive director of the Alaska Farm Bureau, was cited as saying the group is working on a proposal to try to get its state border opened to live Canadian cattle, adding, "We have historically purchased our animals from Canada. Canada is our closest neighbour. There is a lot less trauma and stress in transporting an animal from Canada instead of going all the way to the lower 48." (story via FSNet listserv, by sub.)

And what to do with cow parts that test positive for BSE....Here's the link. (pdf file)

This guidance document describes FDA's recommendations regarding the use in all animal feed of all material from cattle that test positive for BSE.

Basically the rule says this:

"Therefore, material from BSE-positive animals may not be used in any animal feed or feed ingredients. FDA recommends that any such adulterated feed or feed ingredient be recalled or otherwise removed from the marketplace. "

Sure, BSE diseased parts aren't supposed to get into the animal feed, but mistakes this one in Canada did....

CBC News was cited as saying it has learned that the diseased cow that sparked Canada's mad cow crisis in May 2003 was turned into feed and may have been mistakenly fed to other cows.The story says that documents obtained through Access to Information show the Canadian Food Inspection Agency had discovered cattle at a number of farms were eating feed intended only for pigs and chickens. That feed may have contained the rendered remains of the diseased cow. By law, cattle cannot be given feed made from rendered cows, precisely because it could spread bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Part of the problem was by the time BSE was confirmed in the suspect cow, it had already been ground up into feed. The agency estimated that feed was sold to as many as 1,800 farms and launched an investigation. They visited 200 cattle operations and found several cases where cows were exposed to the feed. LINK

Despite the controversy regarding proper BSE must go on....

Canadian Finance Minister Ralph Goodale was cited as vowing yesterday to dramatically intensify the pressure on the U.S. government to finally end the long-standing trade disputes over Canadian beef, wheat and softwood....(story via FSNet listserv, by sub)

Japan's Agriculture Ministry, considering conditions to resume U.S. beef imports, was cited as saying on Friday it needs more information on how to tell the age of American cattle, as a U.S. explanation was insufficient. (story via FSNet listserv, by sub)

And a report from Japan begs to differ

Consumers and beef producers were cited as calling on Friday for continued blanket testing for mad cow disease in Japan at a hearing of the government's Food Safety Commission in Sapporo.Many among the 150 participants criticized the government for being inclined to relax testing under pressure from the United States, which could lead to the lifting of Japan's ban on U.S. beef imports.A consumer at the Sapporo session was quoted as saying, "When a blueprint (for the recommendation) was issued in July, a trend of easing testing conditions was already set. All the discussions after that are meaningless."A beef producer accused the government of succumbing to U.S. pressure, asking, "Which is more important: Japanese citizens or the United States?" (story from FSNet listserv, by sub)

Japan will not import U.S. beef this year-paper

Reuters - A Japanese newspaper, the regional Tokyo Shimbun, was cited as reporting Monday that Japan will not resume imports of U.S. beef before next year, and that the Japanese government wants to complete a review of domestic safety regulations for beef and ensure that similar standards are in operation in the United States before resuming imports.The review of domestic regulations could take at least until the beginning of 2005, the paper said. (story via FSNet listserv, by sub)

And abroad......

New instances of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Ireland have dropped by a third from 2003, from 146 to 100, but a case has been discovered in a 6-year-old dairy cow, which was born after regulations went into effect banning the introduction of bovine materials into cattle feed. Four such cases have been found, but this is the first this year, according to the Irish Times. Irish authorities are now conducting 15 separate investigations into how infection is spread within the national herd.The decrease this year continues a pattern of significant reduction, as 268 cases were identified in 2002. Authorities say they are also puzzled by the sudden appearance of multiple infections in the same herd. Two cases each have been found in two separate herds, a rare occurrence, the Times said. (from FSNet Listserv)

And I don't know if I agree with this......

The United States does not, according to this story, plan to toughen safeguards on blood donations, despite two British cases in which recipients most likely were contaminated with mad cow disease after receiving transfusions from seemingly healthy donors.Food and Drug Administration advisers were cited as agreeing unanimously Thursday that current U.S. safeguards are sufficient. (story via FSNet listserv)

The Europeans are taking this seriously....

The European Commission was cited as saying Friday it will spend nearly 100 million euros ($123.9 million) next year on cattle testing across the 25-nation bloc to try to stop the spread of mad cow disease to humans.(story via FSNet listserv)

And what's going on in upstate New York?

State health officials are, according to this story, investigating an unusual cluster of deaths from Creutzfeldt-Jakob in Ulster County in upstate New York.The story notes that in the past three months, four people in have died from disease.However, state health officials cautioned that there was no reason to believe that any of the people who died had become ill from contaminated meat.(from FSNet listsevr, by subscription)

Want your McBSE with fries?