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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: To those who'd right his wrongs...... I dedicate this song. It's time we show DeLay the door....................................Mad Kane


It has been a few weeks since I updated my mad cow article collection. Lets take a look how the food regulators try to keep BSE out of our burger supply......The articles are snipped from FSNet listserv, a food safety listserv available by subscription. I try and provide links to articles if they are given or if I can find them.

A company has filed for a patent to detect BSE in animals and humans. Currently, samples are analyzed post mortem.

Company files patent applications for BSE blood test

Oceanside, Calif.-based SeraCare Life Sciences, a supplier of diagnostic products for the life science industry, has filed patent applications in the United States for an Immuno-PCR test, a blood-based test for infectious prions, the proteins that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. -LINK-

Washington threats Japan with sanctions if it doesn't re-open cattle trade with the United States

Japan tells US to be patient over resuming US beef imports

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, the Japanese government's spokesman, was cited as asking the United States to be patient Wednesday as it decides how to test cattle for mad cow disease amid fresh threats by Washington to retaliate unless Japan reopens its market to US beef, adding, "I hope the US side would wait and see the Japanese discussions. We fully understand that US businesses have strongly urged the US government for a resumption. There has been close communication between the Japanese and US governments. We have been working hard to resolve the issue while seeking a profound understanding of each other." -LINK-

And in another article, Japanese consumers regard this mad cow threat with high concern.....

[Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary]Hosoda was further cited as indicating that Tokyo would not be rushed on a food safety matter of high concern to the Japanese public, adding, "The government would like to keep an eye on the developments and think about the issue. Both sides need to continue the discussions further." -LINK-

And to the north of us.......

Canada mulls legal challenge to U.S. cattle ban

A disappointed Canadian government was cited as pledging on Wednesday to fight the ban on the export of young cattle to the United States following a court decision in Montana that held up plans to allow the cattle shipments. -LINK-

How is this for the newest trend in consumer safety? Proposed bills would keep animal outbreak investigations secret........

When rumor hit the commodities trading floor in Chicago three years ago that Kansas cattle had contracted foot-and-mouth disease, prices, according to this story, plummeted, and a rumor that lasted only a day cost the beef industry an estimated $50 million and forced agriculture officials to spend weeks assuring consumers that the food supply was safe.The story says that lawmakers across the country are working on ways to keep livestock disease investigations secret until absolutely necessary. Proposals already have passed in Idaho and Wyoming, while lawmakers in Colorado, Maryland and Utah are considering bills this spring. -LINK-

We don't want your stinkin' cattle...........................

Senate votes to keep out Canadian cattle

The U.S. Senate was cited as voting Thursday to overturn the Bush administration's decision to lift a ban that was imposed on Canadian cattle nearly two years ago because of mad cow disease.The White House was cited as saying that Bush would veto the measure if it ever reaches his desk, warning that continuing to refuse Canadian beef will damage efforts to persuade other countries to buy U.S. beef. -LINK-

These beef bans are a pain in the ass....lets change the rules!!

A source at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo was cited as saying Friday that the United States is likely to propose a new international rule governing the incidence of mad cow disease and beef trade amid a beef trade row with Japan, and that Washington will offer the proposal at a general meeting in Paris in May of the World Organization for Animal Health.The story says that the proposal will feature measures prohibiting nations from imposing a blanket ban on beef imports from countries where cases of mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, have been found. -LINK-

The incubation period of BSE is unknown.............

BSE 'may have entered baby food in 70s'

Scientists are, according to this story, to test a hypothesis that young people who have died from the human form of BSE were infected by contaminated baby foods as far back as 1970. The story says that the controversial idea supposes that some meat products were harmful to people 16 years before BSE in cows was even recognised, and 25 years before young adults began dying from its dreadful human equivalent. -LINK-

Good news from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.......

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has tested 263,115 high risk cattle as of March 6 with no BSE positive cases found, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) enhanced surveillance program which began in June 2004. This cumulative total has surpassed its projected goal of testing 20,000 cattle per month over a 12-18 month period. -LINK-

Mad cow is a symptom of sick agriculture

E.G. Vallianatos, a former analyst with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the author of the forthcoming book, This Land Is Their Land: How Corporate Farms Threaten the World, writes in this op-ed that once again, mad-cow disease has struck the cattle of Canada. Now it's not whether the disease will cross the Canadian-American border, but when. -LINK-

Violations to the Canadian cattle ban have occurred......

Two men were arrested Friday for smuggling Canadian cattle into the United States last summer in violation of a ban imposed because of mad cow disease.

Two men were, according to this story, arrested Friday for smuggling Canadian cattle into the United States last summer in violation of a ban imposed because of mad cow disease. -LINK-

The Government Accountability Office had some harsh words for the FDA.......If you think the government is protecting our food supply this....

The U.S. Government Accountability Office was cited as questioning the effectiveness of the most important U.S. safeguard against mad cow disease in a report on Monday and accused the Food and Drug Administration of "overstating" feed mill compliance with a ban on cattle remains in animal feed, adding, "We believe FDA is overstating industry's compliance with the animal feed ban and understating the potential risk of BSE for U.S. cattle in its reports to Congress and the American people."The story notes that the FDA has repeatedly claimed that the industry has a 99 percent compliance rate with the 1997 ban. -LINK-

U.S. appeals court to hear US-Canada beef trade case

The U.S. National Meat Association was cited as saying Monday that a federal appeals court had agreed to hear an emergency appeal of a lower court ruling that banned U.S. imports of young Canadian cattle. -LINK-

EU sees 40 pct drop in mad cow cases in 2004

European Commission officials were cited as saying on Tuesday that cases of mad cow disease in the European Union fell by nearly 40 percent last year and were the lowest since 1988, evidence that the disease may be coming under control. -LINK-

Johanns: No more beef documents for Japan

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns urged Japan to announce a specific timetable for reopening its market to American beef, preferably while Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice is in Japan on Friday and Saturday. During a brief press conference Tuesday, Johanns said that the U.S. is getting increasingly frustrated with the delay in reopening the border, and said that he has no intention of providing more documents about the beef industry, as requested by the Japanese. The U.S. has already provided everything the Japanese need to know, he said, according to Jiji News Service. -LINK-

Egypt, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are negotiating the reopening of US beef markets.....

Foreign markets plan to reopen to U.S. beef

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to work with foreign governments to regain export markets that have been closed to U.S. beef and beef products since Dec. 2003. -LINK-

What fascinates and intrigues me about mad cow disease is the unknowns associated with the disease itself. Prions, sometimes called rogue proteins, are the culprit. Yet we don't know who are the carriers and how it has affected our national blood supply. These are all critical questions we need to understand as the disease is being tracked.

"So much remains unknown about prion diseases even as new information comes to light practically daily. No one really knows how many people may be harboring vCJD without clinical symptoms and could potentially transmit the infection via blood transfusion," according to Joseph Cervia, MD, a leading infectious disease expert and medical director of Pall Corporation. He outlined the myriad questions and uncertainties surrounding vCJD and other prion diseases. These include the length of the incubation period from time of exposure to the onset of symptoms; the number of people potentially harboring vCJD who are asymptomatic; the relationship to other neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's Disease; and whether other prion diseases, such as CWD found in elk and deer across the U.S., can also cross the species barrier to humans, as is the case with BSE in cows. -LINK-

If mad cow disease is such a low risk why is funding for BSE projects and research increasing?

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that almost $2 million in funding has been redirected to enhance research on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and that $5 million has been awarded to 17 colleges and universities to establish a Food Safety Research and Response Network. -LINK-

Even US Secretary of State Condi Rice warns Japan on potential trade troubles if they don't resume beef imports.

The story notes that Rice issued the warning in both meetings with her Japanese counterpart Nobutaka Machimura and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, according to the officials. -LINK-

I'll have more mad cow articles posted soon. That's enough ruminating for one night. Until then.....Want your McBSE with fries?