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Mike

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U.S. Meat Supply at Risk of Mad Cow Disease






February 6, 2006


• USDA Report Warns Meat Supply at Risk of Mad Cow Disease
• Two Drugs Offer Hope Against Mad Cow Disease
• Canada Finds Another Case Of Mad Cow Disease
• FDA Proposes Stricter Mad Cow Safeguards
• U.S. Will Strengthen Mad Cow Safeguards, FDA Chief Says
• Consumers Union Wants More Data on Mad Cow Testing
• Mad Cow Concerns Trigger Beef Recall In Six States
• Meat Industry Ignores Mad Cow Regulations
• More ...
The U.S. Agriculture Department's Inspector General warns beef inspectors aren't strictly following cattle screening rules, increasing the risk of mad cow disease in the nation's meat supply.

The report said it found cases where rules covering the slaughter of cattle were being ignored.

For example, 29 suspect cows were slaughtered at two of a dozen meatpacking plants reviewed in an audit. The report says the animals were incapable of walking, and at least 20 of them fell into the category of "downer" cows, animals whose condition can't be explained by injury. It is these "downer" cows that are considered to be the highest risk for mad cow disease.

Department regulations prohibit the slaughter of "downer" cows for any reason. The report said it's possible more suspect cattle are entering the food supply because USDA's record keeping is in need of improvement.

The Inspector General's report said auditors found no cases of banned tissues entering the human food supply.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, which is responsible for slaughter house inspections, said it will clarify its policy for slaughtering downer cattle and issue new guidance to its more than 6,000 inspectors as soon as possible.

The regulations excluding "downer" cattle from the food supply were initiated after the first case of mad-cow disease was identified in the U.S. in December 2003. Mad-cow disease attacks the brain of livestock. It has been blamed for more than 150 human deaths in Britain.
 

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