Mad Cow News For April and May 2009
Tons of beef suspected of mad cow disease sold
About 13 tons of American beef were falsely sold as Australian products five years ago in defiance of a disposal order issued after a case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was reported in the United States. Korean Times Link
Report on the investigation of the fifteenth case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada
On November 3, 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sampled a Holstein cow under Canada's National BSE Surveillance Program. Brain samples were received by the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (BCMAL) Laboratory, where they were screened for BSE using a Prionics rapid test. The result of this preliminary test did not rule out BSE. Canadian Food Inspection List
US: FDA announces confirmation of the effective date of the BSE final rule
The Food and Drug Administration today announced that the final rule entitled ‘‘Substances Prohibited From Use in Animal Food or Feed,’’ will become effective on April 27, 2009. However, to allow renderers additional time to comply with the new requirements, the Agency has established a compliance date of October 26, 2009. The additional 6 months will provide time for those affected to identify appropriate methods for disposing of material prohibited from use in animal feed by this rule. FDA is encouraging affected parties who are able to begin complying with the rule to do so as soon as possible.
In the April 9, 2009, Federal Register FDA proposed to delay the effective date of the final rule for 60 days and provided a period of 7 days for public comment. The agency received over 400 comments from state and national cattle producer organizations, individual cattle producers, renderers, meat processors, dairy organizations, State agriculture agencies, and consumers.
Many of the comments indicated that certain entities were not adequately prepared to comply with the final rule and that adequate alternative carcass disposal methods had not been developed. However, a significant number of comments received opposed delaying the effective date of the final rule due to public and animal health concerns.
In consideration of all comments received, FDA believes the most appropriate action is to confirm the April 27, 2009, effective date, and establish a compliance date of October 26, 2009, for those who need additional time to address compliance and implementation concerns. Cattle Network Link
US: New techniques developed for TSE testing
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Eric Nicholson and veterinarian Robert Kunkle have found a way to facilitate the diagnosis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), a deadly group of diseases that can develop in a range of mammals, including humans.
A TSE can only be definitely diagnosed after an animal has died. During the diagnosis, researchers typically check tissues for abnormal proteins called prions using a technique called Western blotting, or with immunohistochemistry. Western blotting is used for fresh or frozen tissues. Tissue that has never been frozen and has been fixed in formalin--a solution used to preserve biological specimens--is tested with immunohistochemistry. Sometimes only formalin-fixed tissues are available for testing. USDA Link
BSE case confirmed in ALBERTA
OTTAWA -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an 80-month-old dairy cow from Alberta. No part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems. Canadian Food Inspection Link
UK: 'Mad cow' disease kills 22-year-old Bilsthorpe man
A 22-year-old Bilsthorpe man has died from a suspected case of the incurable Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) — better known as 'mad cow' disease.
Andrew 'Rew' Hawker died at King's Mill Hospital on 7th May after being struck down by pneumonia while he fought the degenerative neurological disorder. Chad.co.uk Link
CANADA: Are we eating American beef raised on chicken manure?
When you think of cattle feed very few of us probably imagine chicken manure. Certainly it would be the last thing that would enter the mind of most of us from farmers to eaters. Some time ago the NFU was approached about the possible practice of feeding chicken litter to cattle in the United States, and potentially in other nations that export their beef to Canada. I say possible because it is really difficult for a farm organization in Canada to nail down what exactly is happening with this issue. Having spent a great deal of personal time trying to research this issue it has proven impossible to find the "smoking gun" of how widespread this practice is. Frankly it is going to take an enterprising news agency or journalist to follow this issue further. At this point it is hard to know where the truth really lies.
Here's what we do know. Canada has banned this practice. The United States has not banned the practice of feeding chicken manure to cattle -- quite the opposite in fact. KSU.edu Link