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Depressing the market

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Big Muddy rancher

Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Big Muddy valley
We have all heard about canadian cattler flooding to the US and depressing the market. I found this interesting as we have told the US producers about the Quality of Canadian cattle and I guess the US feeders knew that all along.

"The 25 year average (pre-BSE) spread between and Alberta 550 pound steer and a US 550 pound steer is CDN$2.75. In other words, historically Alberta steer calves brought a premium to US steer calves. However, since 2003 this has not been the situation. Even after the border opened in late July the spread remained historically wide. Last week’s spread between and Alberta 550 pound steer and a US 550 pound steer was CDN$15.25."

I guess we weren't dumping cattle after all. The buyers just found quality they couldn't get else where.


Well-known member
Sep 3, 2005
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Office of Inspector General OIG

Semiannual Report to Congress FY - 2005 - First Half


Stopping BSE at the Border—USDA Needs To

Strengthen Controls Over Canadian Beef Imports

Following the detection of a Canadian cow with bovine

spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”)

in May 2003, we examined the Animal and Plant Health

Inspection Service’s (APHIS) oversight of the importation

of beef products from Canada. Following requests from

four U.S. Senators, we began several reviews in June

2004 to explore whether USDA did not follow appropriate

safety measures, beginning sometime in the fall of 2003,

in allowing expanded Canadian beef imports into the

United States.

After the initial halt of imports, in August 2003 the

Secretary announced a list of low-risk products that would

be allowed from Canada. APHIS also allowed an

expansion in the type of Canadian facilities that could

produce items for export to the United States. The

gradual expansion occurred because agency employees

included products similar to those on the published lowrisk

list, but APHIS did not communicate this broadly.

As a result, from August 2003 to April 2004, APHIS issued

permits for products with questionable eligibility. Contrary

to publicly stated policy, the agency allowed the import of

products from Canadian facilities that produced both

eligible and ineligible products, increasing the possibility

that higher-risk product could be inadvertently imported.

APHIS also issued permits to allow the import of more

than 63,000 pounds of beef cheek meat with questionable

eligibility because the agency did not establish a clear

definition for “boneless beef.” Further, we found that

FSIS did not always communicate effectively about the

eligibility status of beef cheek meat, specifically to import

inspectors. In addition, APHIS issued 1,155 permits for

the importation of ruminant (e.g., cow, goat) products

from Canada without ensuring that the agency had an

appropriate system of internal controls to manage the

process for a suddenly overwhelming volume of requests.

From May through September 2004, we identified more

than 42,000 pounds of product with questionable


APHIS generally agreed to institute procedures for

communicating changes in policy and monitoring the

consistency between agency practice and publicly stated

policy, as well as to strengthen controls and finalize

procedures to issue and monitor permits. FSIS generally

agreed to implement controls to communicate the specific

eligibility of product when its eligibility status changes and

to implement an edit check in its import information

system to identify ineligible product. (Audit Report No.

33601-1-Hy, APHIS Oversight of the Importation of Beef

Products from Canada)


Restaurant Owner Sentenced for Smuggling Beef

from Japan, Importation of Which Is Prohibited Due

to Disease Concerns

In January 2005, a Los Angeles restaurant owner was

placed on probation for 60 months, to include 800 hours

of community service, after he pled guilty to smuggling

beef from Japan. Under 9 Code of Federal Regulations

(C.F.R.) § 94, beef from Japan is a prohibited product

for United States importation due to disease. On two

occasions in 2001 and 2002, inspectors in Anchorage,

Alaska, intercepted shipments sent from Japan that

were manifested as “book,” but upon inspection by

USDA and the United States Customs Service, were

found to contain approximately 25 kilograms of beef

inside a Styrofoam ice chest. Both shipments were

addressed to the restaurant owner. Shipping records

showed that the restaurant owner had received 13

shipments manifested as “book” from the same sender

in Japan in 2001 and 2002. All but one of the shipments

were in the same weight range as the two intercepted

shipments. The shipper and the restaurant owner were

subsequently indicted for various charges including

conspiracy and smuggling. An arrest warrant was

issued for the shipper, who is still in Japan.


MAD COW MARKET TIMING, if waiting 7+ months to confirm a case of mad cow
disease in TEXAS is not market
timing (that's after succeeding in covering up another mad cow with
absolutely no test at all), i don't know what is $$$

Subject: Releasing mad-cow test results debated Susan Combs Texas Ag Comm
wants to cover-up Texas mad cows
Date: July 27, 2005 at 6:51 am PST

July 27, 2005, 12:11AM

Releasing mad-cow test results debated
Do regulators protect market or consumers?
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

AP file
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns tours a Utah beef processing plant
in May.

Mad cow found in U.S. cow from Texas 6/24

• The connection between mad cow disease and humans
(Requires Flash plug-in)

Phone hot lines:
• USDA meat and poultry hot line: 1-888-674-6854
• Regular updates at 1-866-4USDACO.

• USDA news release on BSE finding 6/24
• Active USDA meat recalls
• Overview of the disease

Video courtesy Associated Press. (Free Real Player required.)

News of mad cow disease alone can move markets, stall trade negotiations and
prompt nations to grow more skeptical of American beef.

The most recent case in Texas proved to be no different.

Although beef markets reacted mildly in late June to the confirmation of the
nation's first home-grown case, damage was done. Nations such as Taiwan and
Indonesia quickly restricted beef purchases from the U.S.

The bottom line, industry observers say: The type and timing of the
information released by regulators can make all the financial difference in
the world to ranchers, meat packers or anyone whose livelihood is tied to
the price of beef.

But trying to find consensus among state and federal agencies can be
difficult, as two recently obtained letters from Texas regulators to the
U.S. Department of Agriculture show.

In December 2004, a month after a U.S. animal tested inconclusive for the
brain-wasting disease, the heads of the Texas Agriculture Department and
Texas Animal Health Commission expressed concerns with how the USDA handles
such cases.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs suggested federal regulators wait
until animals are confirmed positive or negative before disclosing results
to the public.

"While markets may bounce back, enormous amounts of money can be lost in the
interim," Combs wrote. "In fact, during the last inconclusive announcement,
it is estimated that the market dropped $25 per head on cattle, resulting in
hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to our cattle industry."

Outside market hours
The heads of the Texas Animal Health Commission, however, said the USDA
should continue to announce inconclusive test results immediately upon
receiving them, outside of market hours.

"Experience has shown it is impossible to prevent rumors from any number of
sources," wrote Bob Hillman, executive director of the Animal Health
Commission, and Richard Taylor, chairman. "Uncertainties and rumors are far
more damaging to the market than known facts."

Ideally, Hillman said in an interview, the government wouldn't release any
results until all confirmatory testing is done. But he'd rather the
announcements be made to preempt inevitable leaks.

"If you can't protect the data, put it out there," he said.

USDA spokeswoman Amy Spillman said the department makes announcements after
markets close whenever an animal tests inconclusive as part of its efforts
to be as transparent as possible.

Both state agencies did agree, however, on keeping a lid on information that
could hurt markets.

Both said the USDA should work with market regulators, the Commodity Futures
Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, to "identify
and encourage implementation of penalties that will strongly discourage
comments" by labs, test manufacturers, and others that could fuel volatility
or damage the market.

The USDA already has safeguards in place because an internal watchdog that
investigates illegal leaks turns over information to the Justice Department,
a spokeswoman said.

But the suggestion by state officials smacks of the Texas food-disparagement
law that gave rise to Texas ranchers' $10.3 million lawsuit against TV talk
show host Oprah Winfrey, said Michael Hansen, a senior research associate
with Consumers Union.

He questioned if state officials are too concerned about protecting the
industry from the effects of negative news.

A split mission
The Texas Agriculture Department's comments aren't surprising, given its
primary goal is to promote Texas agriculture. But the Texas Animal Health
Commission also lists on its Web site that part of its mission is "to
protect human health from animal diseases and conditions that are
transmissible to people."

Humans who eat infected meat can contract a variant of the brain-wasting
ailment, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The Texas Animal Health Commission, much like the USDA, is split between its
obligations to the public and to the cattle industry, Hansen said.

"It seems as though they're more concerned about trade and economic interest
of the cattle industry then either human public health or animal public
health," he said, adding that the disclosure of tests that come back
inconclusive are in the public's interest. "I would think that the debacle
over the November cow perfectly shows why you have to have a more open and
transparent system."

Hillman declined to comment on Hansen's remarks.

Initial screening last year on the 12-year-old Texas Brahman crossbreed that
was confirmed as infected came back inconclusive, but results from a
different test were negative, so the USDA cleared the animal of the disease.

Last month, the agency's internal watchdog ordered a third type of test that
came back positive. Pressure from consumers for more testing helped spur the
USDA to retest the animal, consumer groups say.

"If the inconclusive wasn't announced, we may have never known if it was
positive," Hansen said.

Cattle ranchers also want to shield the markets, and some say releasing the
cow's origins could help.

Shane Sklar, director of the Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas,
said secrecy encourages ranchers to turn in suspect cattle for testing
because they can avoid stigma associated with the disease, but it also fuels
uncertainty in the markets.

"As a rancher, the only reason I would like to know is to put an end to the
volatility in the marketplace, because it will either have a disruption and
then we can go back to normal, or we don't have anything at all," he said.
"But speculation adds to volatility in the market. From that point, I would
like to know, but for other reasons I'm not as anxious."

Should public know?
Consumer groups have insisted the public should know the cow's origins,
despite government officials' concerns for the privacy of the rancher.

If they knew which ranch the animal came from, ranchers could determine if
they have a cow from the same ranch or purchased similar feed as the rancher

"If we don't know where an infected cow comes from, we will always view
these as isolated incidents when they may be connected and may be a sign of
a larger problem in the U.S. industry," said Craig Culp, spokesman for the
Washington-based Center for Food Safety.

[email protected]



>>>Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs suggested federal regulators
wait until animals are confirmed positive or negative before disclosing
results to the public.

"While markets may bounce back, enormous amounts of money can be lost in the
interim," Combs wrote. "In fact, during the last inconclusive announcement,
it is estimated that the market dropped $25 per head on cattle, resulting in
hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to our cattle industry."<<<

Susan Combs by no means has public and consumer health at heart while she is
protecting the cattle industry. She is oblivious to mad cow disease. Her
soul purpose is to protect the cattle industry at all cost, including my
mothers life (DOD 12/14/97), or maybe one of your family members from any
strain of mad cow disease in TEXAS. SHE helped cover-up mad cow disease in
TEXAS both on that inconclusive that was positive so many times it will make
your head spin. PLUS, the other mad cow in TEXAS they rendered without
testing at all, that came from the top out of Austin. THEY should be tried
for murder. corporate homicide is what i call it. they knew for years, but
kept on keeping on.

IF, that positive, positive, positive, inconclusive, negative, and then 8
months later POSITIVE BY WEYBRIDGE mad cow in TEXAS would not have been made
public back in November, people like myself that KNEW that cow was positive
and that the USDA/COMBs et al were covering it up due to lack of proper
testing, IF that news would not have been brought fourth to the public, that
cow would have NEVER tested positive for mad cow disease. it was the fact
that the data that was put forth in the public domain, that the public came
forth and demanded that the testing be done properly and retested. THIS is
what the industry and Susan Combs does not want to happen. They wish to keep
it private and to manipulate the markets to there benefit, and not release
the mad cow data to the public. I wrote Susan Combs on many occasions about
this positive, positive, positive, incl. neg., and finally POSITIVE TEXAS
MAD COW and about the one that got away, but the only thing that Susan Combs
does is send me back a bought and paid for rubber stamped letter from the

----- Original Message -----
From: SusanCombs
To: Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2005 11:56 AM
Subject: RE: no mad cow cover up in TEXAS???

Dear Mr. Singeltary:

Thank you for contacting the Texas Department of Agriculture about the
isolated case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy found in a Texas cow. I
can assure you there has been no cover up by the state’s cattle industry or
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has kept the public informed at
every step in the process.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that the safety procedures
worked. This animal was banned from the food or feed supply, and
long-standing safeguards have been in place to protect public health.
Because the animal was unable to walk, it was removed from the food supply
and was processed at a facility that handles animals unsuitable for human
consumption. The carcass was incinerated.

Texas and American cattle producers are committed to producing and ensuring
a safe food product – the same safe product their families are consuming. As
far back as the late 1980s, the cattle industry began working with the U.S.
government to take precautions and establish firewalls to protect public and
animal health from BSE.

The United States has had an active surveillance program for BSE since 1990
to test a representative sample of the adult cattle population in the United
States. With the discovery of a Canadian cow in Washington state in 2003,
USDA expanded the surveillance program to test hundreds of thousands of high
risk animals The surveillance program is designed to specifically determine
whether BSE exists in the U.S. cattle population and if so, at what level.

The number of tests under the surveillance program far exceeds the level
recommend by the World Animal Health Organization. With the original goal of
testing 268,000 animals in a year, USDA would be able to find the disease if
it occurred in as few as 1 in 10 million adult cattle with a 99 percent
confidence level. Since the beginning of the program in June 2004, USDA has
tested more than 400,000 animals and found only this one case, which
confirms estimates that the prevalence of this disease in the U.S. cattle
population is extremely low.

In regards to this particular animal, the laboratory in Weybridge, England
found a very low level of abnormal prion protein in the brain. In addition,
the abnormalities were isolated and not consistent throughout the brain –
making it possible for one sample to test negative while another sample
might test positive, which was the reason for the varying results.

Our cattle producers are working hard to produce the safest beef product in
the world, and their strong vigilance is a solid commitment to American


Susan Combs


From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr. [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 12:11 PM
To: SusanCombs
Subject: no mad cow cover up in TEXAS???

Greetings Honorable Susan Combs,

no cover-up of mad cow disease in Texas ???

if not, then maybe you can explain the 7+ month delay in the announcement of
the secret postive test on that postive, positive, inconclusive, negative,
postive, cow that WAS going to be slaughtered for human consumption, but
THEN went down and was sent to the champion pet food plant.

OR maybe you can explain to me the mad cow that got away. the one MAD COW
TEXAS rendered without testing at all.

please explain these things to me if there is no cover up of TEXAS MAD COW

thank you,
with kindest regards,

I am sincerely,

Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
P.O. Box 42
Bacliff, Texas USA 77518

FDA Statement
May 4, 2004
Media Inquiries: 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

Statement on Texas Cow With Central Nervous System Symptoms
On Friday, April 30 th , the Food and Drug Administration learned that a cow
with central nervous system symptoms had been killed and shipped to a
processor for rendering into animal protein for use in animal feed.

FDA, which is responsible for the safety of animal feed, immediately began
an investigation. On Friday and throughout the weekend, FDA investigators
inspected the slaughterhouse, the rendering facility, the farm where the
animal came from, and the processor that initially received the cow from the

FDA's investigation showed that the animal in question had already been
rendered into "meat and bone meal" (a type of protein animal feed). Over the
weekend FDA was able to track down all the implicated material. That
material is being held by the firm, which is cooperating fully with FDA.

Cattle with central nervous system symptoms are of particular interest
because cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, also known as
"mad cow disease," can exhibit such symptoms. In this case, there is no way
now to test for BSE. But even if the cow had BSE, FDA's animal feed rule
would prohibit the feeding of its rendered protein to other ruminant animals
(e.g., cows, goats, sheep, bison).

FDA is sending a letter to the firm summarizing its findings and informing
the firm that FDA will not object to use of this material in swine feed
only. If it is not used in swine feed, this material will be destroyed. Pigs
have been shown not to be susceptible to BSE. If the firm agrees to use the
material for swine feed only, FDA will track the material all the way
through the supply chain from the processor to the farm to ensure that the
feed is properly monitored and used only as feed for pigs.

To protect the U.S. against BSE, FDA works to keep certain mammalian protein
out of animal feed for cattle and other ruminant animals. FDA established
its animal feed rule in 1997 after the BSE epidemic in the U.K. showed that
the disease spreads by feeding infected ruminant protein to cattle.

Under the current regulation, the material from this Texas cow is not
allowed in feed for cattle or other ruminant animals. FDA's action
specifying that the material go only into swine feed means also that it will
not be fed to poultry.

FDA is committed to protecting the U.S. from BSE and collaborates closely
with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on all BSE issues. The animal feed
rule provides crucial protection against the spread of BSE, but it is only
one of several such firewalls. FDA will soon be improving the animal feed
rule, to make this strong system even stronger.



IN TEXAS, we feed our cattle ruminant protein, and lots of it. but remember
(the fda cannot seem to get this right)

.1 gram is lethal;


January 30, 2001
Print Media:
Broadcast Media:
Consumer Inquiries:


Today the Food and Drug Administration announced the results of tests
taken on feed used at a Texas feedlot
that was suspected of containing meat and bone meal from other domestic
cattle -- a violation of FDA's 1997
prohibition on using ruminant material in feed for other ruminants.
Results indicate that a very low level of
prohibited material was found in the feed fed to cattle.

FDA has determined that each animal could have consumed, at most and in
total, five-and-one-half grams -
approximately a quarter ounce -- of prohibited material. These animals
weigh approximately 600 pounds.

It is important to note that the prohibited material was domestic in
origin (therefore not likely to contain infected
material because there is no evidence of BSE in U.S. cattle), fed at a
very low level, and fed only once. The
potential risk of BSE to such cattle is therefore exceedingly low, even
if the feed were contaminated.

According to Dr. Bernard Schwetz, FDA's Acting Principal Deputy
Commissioner, "The challenge to regulators
and industry is to keep this disease out of the United States. One
important defense is to prohibit the use of any
ruminant animal materials in feed for other ruminant animals. Combined
with other steps, like U.S. Department
of Agriculture's (USDA) ban on the importation of live ruminant animals
from affected countries, these steps
represent a series of protections, to keep American cattle free of BSE."

Despite this negligible risk, Purina Mills, Inc., is nonetheless
announcing that it is voluntarily purchasing all 1,222
of the animals held in Texas and mistakenly fed the animal feed
containing the prohibited material. Therefore,
meat from those animals will not enter the human food supply. FDA
believes any cattle that did not consume
feed containing the prohibited material are unaffected by this incident,
and should be handled in the beef supply
clearance process as usual.

FDA believes that Purina Mills has behaved responsibly by first
reporting the human error that resulted in the
misformulation of the animal feed supplement and then by working closely
with State and Federal authorities.

This episode indicates that the multi-layered safeguard system put into
place is essential for protecting the food
supply and that continued vigilance needs to be taken, by all concerned,
to ensure these rules are followed

FDA will continue working with USDA as well as State and local officials
to ensure that companies and
individuals comply with all laws and regulations designed to protect the
U.S. food supply.


From: TSS (216-119-144-34.ipset24.wt.net)
Date: January 27, 2005 at 7:03 am PST

Risk of oral infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy agent in

Corinne Ida Lasmézas, Emmanuel Comoy, Stephen Hawkins, Christian Herzog,
Franck Mouthon, Timm Konold, Frédéric Auvré, Evelyne Correia, Nathalie
Lescoutra-Etchegaray, Nicole Salès, Gerald Wells, Paul Brown, Jean-Philippe
Summary The uncertain extent of human exposure to bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE)--which can lead to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
(vCJD)--is compounded by incomplete knowledge about the efficiency of oral
infection and the magnitude of any bovine-to-human biological barrier to
transmission. We therefore investigated oral transmission of BSE to
non-human primates. We gave two macaques a 5 g oral dose of brain homogenate
from a BSE-infected cow. One macaque developed vCJD-like neurological
disease 60 months after exposure, whereas the other remained free of disease
at 76 months. On the basis of these findings and data from other studies, we
made a preliminary estimate of the food exposure risk for man, which
provides additional assurance that existing public health measures can
prevent transmission of BSE to man.

Published online January 27, 2005


It is clear that the designing scientists must

also have shared Mr Bradley’s surprise at the results because all the dose

levels right down to 1 gram triggered infection.



6. It also appears to me that Mr Bradley’s answer (that it would take less
than say 100

grams) was probably given with the benefit of hindsight; particularly if one

considers that later in the same answer Mr Bradley expresses his surprise
that it

could take as little of 1 gram of brain to cause BSE by the oral route
within the

same species. This information did not become available until the "attack

experiment had been completed in 1995/96. This was a titration experiment

designed to ascertain the infective dose. A range of dosages was used to

that the actual result was within both a lower and an upper limit within the

and the designing scientists would not have expected all the dose levels to

infection. The dose ranges chosen by the most informed scientists at that

ranged from 1 gram to three times one hundred grams. It is clear that the

scientists must have also shared Mr Bradley’s surprise at the results
because all the

dose levels right down to 1 gram triggered infection.


Re: BSE .1 GRAM LETHAL NEW STUDY SAYS via W.H.O. Dr Maura Ricketts

[BBC radio 4 FARM news]



2) Infectious dose:

To cattle: 1 gram of infected brain material (by oral ingestion)



Medical Sciences
Identification of a second bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy:
Molecular similarities with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Cristina Casalone *, Gianluigi Zanusso , Pierluigi Acutis *, Sergio Ferrari
, Lorenzo Capucci , Fabrizio Tagliavini ¶, Salvatore Monaco ||, and Maria
Caramelli *

*Centro di Referenza Nazionale per le Encefalopatie Animali, Istituto
Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d'Aosta, Via
Bologna, 148, 10195 Turin, Italy; Department of Neurological and Visual
Science, Section of Clinical Neurology, Policlinico G.B. Rossi, Piazzale
L.A. Scuro, 10, 37134 Verona, Italy; Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale
della Lombardia ed Emilia Romagna, Via Bianchi, 9, 25124 Brescia, Italy; and
¶Istituto Nazionale Neurologico "Carlo Besta," Via Celoria 11, 20133 Milan,

Edited by Stanley B. Prusiner, University of California, San Francisco, CA,
and approved December 23, 2003 (received for review September 9, 2003)

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, are
mammalian neurodegenerative disorders characterized by a posttranslational
conversion and brain accumulation of an insoluble, protease-resistant
isoform (PrPSc) of the host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrPC). Human and
animal TSE agents exist as different phenotypes that can be biochemically
differentiated on the basis of the molecular mass of the protease-resistant
PrPSc fragments and the degree of glycosylation. Epidemiological, molecular,
and transmission studies strongly suggest that the single strain of agent
responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has infected humans,
causing variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The unprecedented biological
properties of the BSE agent, which circumvents the so-called "species
barrier" between cattle and humans and adapts to different mammalian
species, has raised considerable concern for human health. To date, it is
unknown whether more than one strain might be responsible for cattle TSE or
whether the BSE agent undergoes phenotypic variation after natural
transmission. Here we provide evidence of a second cattle TSE. The disorder
was pathologically characterized by the presence of PrP-immunopositive
amyloid plaques, as opposed to the lack of amyloid deposition in typical BSE
cases, and by a different pattern of regional distribution and topology of
brain PrPSc accumulation. In addition, Western blot analysis showed a PrPSc
type with predominance of the low molecular mass glycoform and a
protease-resistant fragment of lower molecular mass than BSE-PrPSc.
Strikingly, the molecular signature of this previously undescribed bovine
PrPSc was similar to that encountered in a distinct subtype of sporadic
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.


C.C. and G.Z. contributed equally to this work.

||To whom correspondence should be addressed.

E-mail: [email protected] .



>> Differences in tissue distribution could require new regulations
>> regarding specific risk material (SRM) removal.


full text ;


It was, however, performed in the USA in 1979, when it was shown that cattle
inoculated with the scrapie agent endemic in the flock of Suffolk sheep at
the United States Department of Agriculture in Mission, Texas, developed a
TSE quite unlike BSE. 32 The findings of the initial transmission, though
not of the clinical or neurohistological examination, were communicated in
October 1988 to Dr Watson, Director of the CVL, following a visit by Dr
Wrathall, one of the project leaders in the Pathology Department of the CVL,
to the United States Department of Agriculture. 33 The results were not
published at this point, since the attempted transmission to mice from the
experimental cow brain had been inconclusive. The results of the clinical
and histological differences between scrapie-affected sheep and cattle were
published in 1995. Similar studies in which cattle were inoculated
intracerebrally with scrapie inocula derived from a number of
scrapie-affected sheep of different breeds and from different States, were
carried out at the US National Animal Disease Centre. 34 The results,
published in 1994, showed that this source of scrapie agent, though
pathogenic for cattle, did not produce the same clinical signs of brain
lesions characteristic of BSE.


Visit to USA ... info on BSE and Scrapie



Mad Politician Disease


July 29, 2004

Statement of Senator Tom Daschle on USDA’s Recall of Canadian Beef

WASHINGTON, DC - The Bush Administration announced today that 41,000
pounds of additional Canadian ground beef were allowed into the U.S.,
despite a current ban resulting from a Canadian Mad Cow Case.

Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a recall notice
for 170,000 pounds of beef products that included the 41,000 pounds of
illegally imported Canadian ground beef. Senator Daschle issued the
following statement on USDA's actions:

"I am troubled that additional Canadian ground beef has been allowed
into the United States - despite a ban on such products. The Bush
Administration has wrestled with multiple issues related to the Canadian
border since the discovery of Mad Cow disease in Canada in May of 2003.
That's why I am glad the USDA's Inspector General agreed to my request
for an investigation into the regulatory policy and enforcement lapses
that undermined producers' and consumers' confidence in the agency.

"The Bush Administration should take this opportunity to announce they
will not re-open our border to additional Canadian beef products until
the Inspector General has completed her investigation and the necessary
policy reforms are put in place.

"Many of my colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee have joined
me in calling for an oversight hearing. Producers in South Dakota and
across the country deserve answers, and this latest recall announcement
only underscores the need for USDA to appear before Congress and provide



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today sent a letter to
Comptroller General David Walker requesting the Government
Accountability Office (formerly the General Accounting Office) look into
questions regarding the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) handling of
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) surveillance. Since the discovery
of the disease in a cow in Washington state, a number incidents and
statements by USDA officials have raised concern about the department’s
approach to handling this issue.

“USDA is still stumbling to pull together a coherent strategy and
program of BSE testing and other measures to protect U.S. consumers and
our beef industry against the risks of BSE,” Harkin said. “While I
believe these risks are pretty small, we cannot be complacent until USDA
collects the information. Without information, we are only speculating
and whistling in the dark."

Specifically, Harkin cited questions as to the downer status of the
Washington state cow, failure to take samples from a suspicious cow at a
Texas slaughter facility, and concerns about the scientific and
statistical basis for USDA’s revised testing system.

Last week, USDA’s Office of Inspector General issued a scathing report
citing many shortcomings in USDA’s approach. Harkin is calling on GAO to
review additional concerns, including:

Has USDA identified the most scientifically valid sub-populations and
the proper statistical number of cattle to determine effectively the
prevalence of BSE in the United States?

Has USDA made provisions to obtain all the samples necessary to
determine accurately the existence and prevalence of BSE in the United

Has USDA implemented effective procedures to assure that all parties
collecting samples for BSE testing are properly trained?

Is the voluntary sample submission protocol effective for obtaining a
sample population representative of the at-risk cattle population?

Has USDA identified proper incentives to assure suspect cattle on farms
will be reported?

Has USDA made provisions to assure the federal and state actions in the
surveillance plan are well coordinated?

Are there effective procedures and policies in place to ensure effective
coordination and co-regulation of BSE surveillance by APHIS and FSIS? A
copy of the letter is available upon request.


Daschle criticizes USDA
By Denise Ross, Journal Staff Writer

NEW UNDERWOOD — Criminal charges should be on the table for U.S.
Department of Agriculture officials who allowed Canadian beef into the
United States when a ban on such imports was in place, Sen. Tom Daschle,
D-S.D., said Saturday.

"I can't for the life of me understand why somebody hasn't been indicted
for allowing 33 million pounds of Canadian beef into the United States,"
the Senate minority leader told a crowd of more than 100 at the New
Underwood Community Hall on Saturday.

Daschle referred to an ongoing controversy that has led to Congressional
hearings and reaches up to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann

Since last September, USDA allowed 33 million pounds of ground and other
processed beef to enter the United States from Canada after USDA
officials had publicly reaffirmed a ban on such beef imports.

In late June, USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong agreed to Daschle's
request for an investigation into the covert Canadian beef imports.

The ban sprang from the discovery in May 2003 that a Canadian cow had
mad cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE. USDA began
easing restrictions on such imports in August 2003, but ranchers and
others complained the process was not open and that USDA did not follow
its own import bans.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that keeps USDA
from importing processed Canadian beef as part of a lawsuit filed in
Montana by R-CALF USA.

USDA officials have acknowledged in May of this year that they did not
follow the proper process in allowing some processed beef in from
Canada. They have said the science behind their actions was sound and
said meat packers were required to keep the beef, which posed no danger
for BSE, separate from other cuts of beef that were at risk.

Daschle suggested the need for criminal charges at a barbecue hosted by
his campaign in the small town in ranch country east of Rapid City. The
meeting had been promoted as a discussion of new drought policy but was
a stock campaign event during which Daschle emphasized the need for
affordable health insurance, the running four-year lack of a rise in
middle-class incomes and problems with federal education policy.

Contact Denise Ross at 394-8438 or [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>


By Carey Gillam

LOUISBURG, Kan. (Reuters) - The brown-and-white spotted calves appear
happy and healthy as they amble through the tall grass of a northeastern
Kansas field, never straying far from their mothers.

But back at the barn -- and in countless barns, feedlots,
slaughterhouses and packing plants around the United States -- the
health of cattle like these has become a hot-button issue.

Calls for widespread testing of the nation's beef supply have stretched
from Tokyo to Arkansas City, Kansas, after the United States detected
its first-ever case of "mad cow disease" in December.

The news sent shock waves through domestic markets and triggered an
immediate halt to important international trade, including deals with
Japan, which typically buys about $1.4 billion of U.S. beef annually.

Still, the U.S. government has refused to support widespread testing of
the nation's cattle herds. Instead, the Agriculture Department has
launched a limited voluntary testing program that its own inspector
general said may be scientifically invalid.

Critics are also accusing the government of favoring big businesses that
oppose extensive testing, at the expense of small cattle companies that
back it.

"It is truly a mess," said Thomas McGarity, who teaches food safety law
at the University of Texas and heads the Center for Progressive
Regulation think tank.


Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly called mad cow, is feared
around the world because it can trigger fatal brain disorders in humans
if they eat certain tissue from an infected animal. But the
brain-wasting disease is rare, and transmissions to humans are even more
uncommon. The only known U.S. case was found in a cow in Washington state.

Japan and many other countries routinely test their slaughtered cattle
for the disease and have demanded that beef they buy from the United
States must prove free of mad cow.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture says widespread testing is
unnecessary. Its new "surveillance" program, expected to cost taxpayers
$70 million, aims to test about 270,000 animals in the next 18 months,
compared with about 35 million slaughtered annually. Continued ...

Only animals that show certain symptoms will be tested through the
program, which depends on voluntary participation.

As of Monday, some 23,000 cattle had been tested, with no detection of
the disease. The government hopes to show it is virtually nonexistent in
U.S. herds.

"The testing is a one-time enhanced surveillance program where we will
test as many as we physically can," said USDA spokesman Jim Rogers. "It
will give us a snapshot of our animal health among that population."

But criticism is rapidly growing louder.

In an audit released earlier this month, the USDA inspector general said
the testing program was poorly designed, falsely assumed only high-risk
animals could be infected, and inappropriately relied on voluntary
submissions for testing.

Last week, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa requested an
investigation, saying the government's strategy appeared to be "stumbling."

And of the 12 university-based laboratories designated to handle the
testing, five that were supposed to be operating by June 1 still have
not received the green light by the USDA to get under way.

Meanwhile, in trade talks this month, the Japanese continued to insist
that all the beef they buy must test free of mad cow.


Some private beef companies who have seen their profits sink because of
lost sales to Japan have asked the USDA to allow them to buy
government-licensed kits that they could use to test their entire herds
at their own expense. They believe they could then market the beef as
free of the disease and restart their Asian sales.

But the government has refused those requests. The Organization for
Competitive Markets, an independent farmers group out of Nebraska, and
other critics say the USDA's position favors corporate agriculture over
small businesses.

The large processors that supply a mostly unconcerned domestic market
have not seen their businesses suffer the way specialty suppliers of
beef have, and critics say they don't want to pay for increased testing
or have to compete with companies that do.

Those representing the U.S. meat industry say the U.S. government's
testing program is more than adequate.

"We're confident in the statistical confidence of the program," said
American Meat Institute spokeswoman Janet Riley. "We think it is an
extremely comprehensive program."

Riley said widespread testing of young and otherwise healthy animals
would be unscientific and largely pointless, and allowing private
companies to test their own animals would be unprecedented.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.





USDA mad cow test unreliable on dead cows

By Steve Mitchell
United Press International
Published 7/16/2004 5:54 PM

WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) -- A new study suggests the mad cow disease
test used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its new surveillance
program may be unreliable and could be missing cases of the deadly
disorder under the majority of conditions in which it is used.

The USDA's monitoring program, which began June 1, relies on a rapid
test manufactured by Bio-Rad Laboratories of Hercules, Calif.

The Bio-Rad test, however, may be unreliable on brain samples that come
from cows that die on the farm or other locations, according to a study
by Japanese researchers that appears in the May issue of the Journal of
Veterinary Medical Science. These types of animals account for
approximately 70 percent of the animals the agency has tested so far,
USDA officials told reporters earlier this week in response to a
scathing report from the agency's Inspector General that cited numerous
problems in the USDA's mad cow surveillance program.

Another type of test called a western blot performed reliably in the
experiment, but this is a slower test that is not feasible for screening
thousands of animals per week as the USDA now is doing. The agency has
licensed a rapid version of this test, manufactured by the Swiss firm
Prionics, but so far it has not been approved for use in the 12 labs
conducting initial mad cow screenings.

"In this study, we showed that several problems undermine the utility of
the (Bio-Rad test) with deteriorated samples, whereas (western blot)
remains very dependable," Takashi Yokoyama and other researchers from
the Prion Disease Research Center in Tokyo -- one of only three mad cow
disease reference laboratories recognized by the international
authority, the World Organization for Animal Health -- wrote in the

"Therefore, (western blot) might be the only reliable procedure to
detect (the mad cow pathogen) in severely damaged samples from fallen
stock," the researchers concluded.

The western blot test used in the study was different from the Prionics

In the study, Yokoyama and colleagues simulated conditions of decaying
carcasses, such as would be found in cows that are left in the field for
one to four days after death.

The Bio-Rad test detected prions -- the agent believed to cause mad cow
-- in all of the samples, but the signals began to drop off
significantly after only one to two days of simulated decay. In
addition, the Bio-Rad test failed to detect prions in the samples with
higher dilution levels.

Testing experts said the study findings could pose problems for the
reliability of USDA's mad cow surveillance plan because under its
testing strategy cases that test negative might not truly be negative.

"This is quite heavy stuff," Markus Moser, a molecular biologist and
chief executive officer of Prionics, told United Press International.

This means the Bio-Rad test could "result in mistakenly false results"
on animals that lie around for a few days after death before a sample of
their brain is collected, Moser said.

Bio-Rad Vice President Brad Crutchfield defended the company's test,
saying it had been extensively tested by experts in the United Kingdom
on 250 degraded samples from infected animals and had not missed a
single case. This study is not yet published but was conducted by the
U.K.'s Veterinary Laboratories Agency -- one of the three
world-recognized mad cow testing labs -- which consequently chose
Bio-Rad's test as its rapid test of choice. The test is also used in
Germany, Belgium, Japan and Canada.

Crutchfield conceded, however, the western blot type of test often is
the best choice when confirming liquefied samples.

"Indeed, for many governments around the world, the Bio-Rad western blot
is often used," he said.

The USDA's Beth Johnson, an adviser to Agriculture Secretary Ann
Veneman, told UPI, "Certainly, (the study is) a valuable piece of
research ... that adds to our wealth of knowledge."

Johnson added the impact on the USDA's testing would be minimal,
however, because "most of the samples we get from on the farm or dead
animals are not at that point" where the tissues are decaying and in a
liquefied state.

Johnson was unable to cite specific percentages for how many samples
have been in a deteriorated state by the time they were tested.

Current and former USDA veterinarians said it may not be known how much
time passes before a sample is collected from animals that die on the
farm and it could be six days or longer -- time enough for significant
decay to have set in.

"I don't think we have any idea (how much time passes before a cow's
brain is sampled after death) because we don't have any access to
farms," a USDA veterinarian who requested anonymity told UPI.

Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian who left the agency in
1995, said as many as nine days can pass in some cases. It could be two
to three days after the animal dies before the farmer calls a renderer,
who could in turn take two to three days to come out to the farm. It
could be another two to three days before the USDA is notified and
collects a sample, Friedlander said.

"The key question is what percentage of brains the USDA has sampled
since June 1 are dead or have been deteriorating on the farm for a few
days," Michael Hansen, a biologist and senior research associate with
the watchdog group Consumers Union in Yonkers, N.Y., told UPI. "If
that's any kind of significant fraction, they should be using other
tests or retesting those animals."

"It does again raise yet more questions and makes you wonder about the
whole program," Hansen said. "If they're testing all these dead and
decaying animals, the deadstock, you'd think they'd be aware of all of
the limitations and actually have tried to determine which test is most

The Japanese researchers said the problem with the Bio-Rad rapid test
encountered in their study appears to be that as the brain tissue begins
deteriorating it also may cause changes in the prion that interfere with
the way the test operates.

Any test that relies on the same technology used in the Bio-Rad "might
have problems with dead stock," Stuart Wilson, a molecular pathologist
and scientific director at Microsens Biotechnologies, told UPI.
Microsens, based in London, manufactures technology used in a mad cow
test made by Idexx Laboratories, which has been licensed by the USDA but
not approved for use yet.

Moser agreed and said his company makes a rapid test -- separate from
its western blot test -- that uses similar technology to Bio-Rad's and
it has encountered problems with detecting mad cow infection in decaying
tissue samples.

Wilson said the Idexx test is similar to Bio-Rad's but uses a little
different technology that might help it avoid problems with detecting
infection in decaying brain samples.

Wilson cautioned the Japanese study is just one experiment that would
need to be confirmed before the results are fully accepted.

Moser said it is not uncommon in Switzerland for the tissue samples to
be somewhat deteriorated by the time they are tested.

"Most of the samples we get ... are mostly liquid," he said. It also
depends on the time of the year.

"In summer, it's worse than winter," due to the hotter weather, which
causes the carcasses to begin decaying more rapidly, he said.

If the Japanese results hold true, this could pose significant
challenges for the early stages of USDA's monitoring program, which was
initiated just as summer and warmer temperatures were beginning in the
United States.


Steve Mitchell is UPI's Medical Correspondent. E-mail [email protected]

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International



######### http://mailhost-alt.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/warc/bse-l.html ##########


-------- Original Message --------

***Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 16:12:06 -0600***

From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
To: [email protected]

######## Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #########


The US plans to measure the incidence
of mad cow disease in its cattle with a
test that its own officials have said gives
too many false positives. Some experts
fear the choice reflects an official desire
to downplay the impact of the first
positive BSE tests that emerge, when
they turn out not to be confirmed.

Last week the US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) approved two tests,
including one made by the Californian
firm BioRad, for screening up to 300,000
cattle for BSE, starting in July. No more
tests will be licensed for months.
Announcing the testing plan, chief
veterinary officer Ron DeHaven cautioned
that "there will be positive results",
many of them false.

BioRad's antibody-based test for the
prion protein that causes BSE has given
numerous false positives in Belgium and
Germany. And in Japan only 8 of 113 cattle
that repeatedly tested positive with
BioRad were confirmed by slower tests
that do not give false positives.

The USDA even wrote last May that
"it is well known" that tests like
BioRad's give false positives. It states
that other kinds of quick tests are more
suitable for testing for very low levels of
BSE, which are expected in the US.

The second quick test approved by
the USDA, made by Maine-based IDEXX,
could also in theory give false positives.
It remains unclear how reliable it is,
because there has been little practical
experience with the test so far. It is not
yet approved for use in Europe, where
the vast majority of BSE tests are done.

Debora MacKenzie,
Brussels correspondent,
New Scientist.
tel +32-2-245-0412
fax +32-2-245-0552
mobile +32-49-754-0444



odd that the USDA et al approves two US-OWNED tests that are
_known_ to give false positives, when they know other rapid
TSE test are much more reliable. IT's like they purposely do
not want to find any TSE in the USA bovine, so they pick the
worst test available. The USDA own experts think BioRad is
not suitable for supposedly BSE/TSE free and low incidence
areas, so why did they choose this test and or the IDEXX,
which i dont think has even been submitted to the EU for evaluation
and has no commercial experiance to my knowledge. You could
almost get the feeling they are deliberately skipping over
Prionics for the least supperior TSE rapid test. I believe
the Canadians finally did choose prionics. maybe paul or marcus
might comment? seems if North America is going to be a
consolidated BEEF trading market amongst themselves and expect
to export there tainted products everywhere, they could at least
come up with the same TSE rapid Test. how can one use a less
reliable test and the other use a more reliable test, and it
all be the same? i know there is a word Dehaven used, but it
slips my mind now, (consolidated markets) that's not it,
but you get the just of my thoughts, i think;-)...TSS

----- Original Message -----
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr." <[email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>>
To: <[email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>>
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 6:57 PM

> ######## Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy <[email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>> #########
> greetings list members,
> > -------- Original Message --------
> > Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 13:55:42 -0500
> > From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr." <[email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>>
> > Reply-To: BSE-L
> > To: BSE-L
> > References:
> >
> >
> snip...
> > on the other, i wonder if this is another faked incident like the feed
> > bag
> > event in texas a couple of years back ("the system worked!"). surprise
> > surprise this one won't be confirmed. in essence, a drill to train
> > trading
> > partners not to respond to a positive test kit result. dull the
> > response of
> > media and public. a steady drumbeat of "inconclusive" positives and
> > anticlimatic followups 4-7 days later (say friday pm before 4th of july
> > weekend) of which occasionally one will be positive as "expected" so
> > as not
> > to be newsworthy.
> >
> > the lack of detail makes it impossible for the press to follow up,
> > "refused
> > to identify if the
> > suspect animal was a cow or a steer, its age, location or any other
> > information. not going to be any tv crews swarming around a
> > slaughterhouse
> > or interviewing another dave lothan. total control. just a statistic.
> >
> > problem solved...
> >
> snip...
> >i don't share your view (patty hearst syndrome?) that usda has been
> >transparent or honest. how could they be unaware, during the long
> >process leading to BioRad, of the very low false positive rates observed
> >Europe, yet the chief guy at usda has repeatedly turned the rates
> >completely upside down, from 1 in 1000 to 999 in a 1000 for a biorad
> >positive being confirmed positive.
> >
> >while i don't know how many false positive or total tests japan has done,
> >the rates you cite from japan are not consistent with europe or usda.
> >at face value, you are quoting a 1 in 5 chance of confirmation. with 2
> >cows, that is 16/25 of both being negative or 9/25 of one or more true
> >positives, that's 36%, making a liar out of the usda guy (who is not a pr
> >person but way up in the professional staff).
> >
> >for a $20 rapid test kit it makes sense to run a presumptive positive
> >another couple of times the same day. this lowers the rate to 1 in
> >without the ridiculous 4-7 day delay which in my opinion is solely
> >to make yet another Friday pm announcement on the biggest meat buying
> >weekend of the year (since they can't stall until christmas eve this
> >plus give them 3-6 days to ramp up their pr engine plus tip off friends
> >the commodities pit again.
> >
> >i think it is a little manipulative not to disclose the ages of the cow
> >whether they are from the same test lab. like the market is not making
> >speculation now?
> >
> >it is very very clear to me that they do not want to test large numbers
> >cows in the manner of japan and europe. this is not because of kit
> >economics but because every last country that has done so, has found
> >numbers than their ag agencies had ever indicated possible.
> >
> >while we can wait for their next announcement, the truth is we have no
> >whether a non-confirmation will be the truth because testing is a totally
> >closed agency shop, eg Creekstone.
> >
> > they would never never never allow a university lab like prusiner's to
> >their hands on this sample. why don't you throw your weight behind
> >some sample retested in europe with biorad and prionics and by prusiner,
> >just to restore confidence in usda?
> >
> >i do feel it is possible for there to be glitches in start-up with so new
> >many labs getting going, though i am not aware of anything technically
> >groudnbreaking, quite the contrary, about the biorad tests
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> NOW, why are we using the BIO-RAD _if_ PRIONICS is better?
> OR maybe PRIONICS is not as complicated as BIO-RAD?
> either way, we have some 8,585 (BSE-expanded) test so far and the
> 1st of 2 positive ''inconclusives'' in the 1st month is negative. OH,
> forget about the mad cow in TEXAS, that don't count though?
> something seems terribly wrong here.
> Terry S. Singeltary Sr. wrote:
> > ######## Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy <[email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>>
> > #########
> >
> > Release No. 0272.04
> >
> > Contact:
> > USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623
> >
> >
> >
> > Statement By Deputy Administrator Dr. John Clifford For The Animal And
> > Plant Health Inspection Service
> >
> > June 30, 2004
> >
> > At approximately, 3:45 p.m. today, we were notified by the USDA
> > National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa that the
> > inconclusive screening test sample reported on June 25, tested negative
> > for BSE upon confirmatory testing.
> >
> > NVSL used the world-recognized gold-standard test for BSE, the
> > immunohistochemistry test to confirm this finding.
> >
> >
> > http://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0272.04.html
> >
> > TSS
> >
> > ######### http://mailhost-alt.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/warc/bse-l.html
> > ##########
> >

By Steve Mitchell
United Press International
Published 7/13/2004 7:57 AM

WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture in late
2002 warned against using the same mad cow disease test the agency now
is using in its expanded surveillance program for the deadly disorder,
United Press International has learned.

The USDA said governments should not authorize the test, which is
manufactured by Bio-Rad Laboratories in Hercules, Calif., because it can
give false positives -- results that are ruled negative on follow-up
testing -- and "will cause loss of consumer confidence in beef and beef
products," the agency wrote in a letter to the World Organization for
Animal Health in Paris.

The OIE, as it is known by its French initials, establishes
international standards for animal disease issues.

The USDA recommended countries employ a different test manufactured by
the Swiss firm Prionics -- a test the agency has licensed but has not
yet put into use. The USDA's reason for the delay is the Prionics test,
which has not yielded a false positive in more than 20 million tests in
Europe, still must pass through the agency's validation procedures.

Concerns about false positives with the Bio-Rad test became a reality
recently during the first month of the USDA's expanded surveillance
plan, launched June 1 in response to the only confirmed U.S. case of mad
cow last December. The agency reported two preliminary positive results,
which caused concern among the public and havoc in the cattle futures
markets until both were ruled negative on follow-up testing several days

So far, seven of the 12 state laboratories participating in the USDA's
mad cow surveillance plan are using the Bio-Rad test and the remaining
five are expected to opt for the test when they begin testing operations.

Experts on testing and mad cow disease have suggested one reason the
USDA might have opted for Bio-Rad is the same reason it advised against
it in 2002: its potential to yield false positives.

By releasing preliminary positives -- or inconclusives, as the USDA has
deemed them -- that are later ruled negative, the agency could
desensitize markets, consumers and foreign trading partners to real
positive cases when and if they occur, the sources said.

"Bio-Rad was approved as a way of getting people used to a possible case
if there ever was one," a veterinarian with expertise in mad cow disease
told UPI.

"They (USDA officials) know it has a high false positive rate ... The
more inconclusives they have, the easier it is to 'mix something up' and
have all negative tests," said the veterinarian, who requested anonymity.

The veterinarian's comments were ec


Well-known member
Sep 3, 2005
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"They (USDA officials) know it has a high false positive rate ... The
more inconclusives they have, the easier it is to 'mix something up' and
have all negative tests," said the veterinarian, who requested anonymity.

The veterinarian's comments were echoed by other experts in this field,
who also declined to be named.

USDA spokeswoman Julie Quick did not respond to UPI's question of
whether this was the agency's intended strategy. However, John Clifford,
USDA's chief veterinary officer, acknowledged at a recent news
conference that release of the inconclusive results could have that affect.

"We want to minimize the impacts upon the markets," Clifford said. "We
feel like that after we get this information out there a couple of times
that hopefully it will continue to minimize that impact."

To date, more than 15,000 cows have been tested under the surveillance
plan and USDA officials have said they expect many more false positives
as the agency seeks to conduct thousands of mad cow tests per week over
the next 12 to 18 months.

Mad cow disease is otherwise known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy
or BSE. Officials have said they also expect to find additional BSE cases.

Consumer groups and some members of Congress expressed concern about the
USDA's decision to use the Bio-Rad test after the two false positives.

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., recently sent a letter to Agriculture
Secretary Ann Veneman urging her "to seriously consider the reliability
of your tests and to rigorously evaluate BSE screening tests used
internationally that may offer more accurate results."

The concern to consumers is people can contract an incurable brain
disorder called variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease from eating meat
infected with the mad cow pathogen. More than 150 people worldwide have
become infected, but none of the cases has been linked to U.S. beef.

"Why are we using Bio-Rad instead of Prionics if they are as bad as the
(USDA) would have us believe with all these 'inconclusives?'" asked
Terry Singletary, coordinator of CJD Watch, an advocacy group for
patients and family members. His mother died of a rare form of CJD
called Heidenhain Variant, which has not been linked with mad cow disease.

"Do they really want to find all the cases, or are we just playing a
(public relations) game?" asked Singletary, who has been sharply
critical of the USDA's approach to mad cow. "How many more are we going
to expose to this deadly pathogen?"

Brad Crutchfield, Bio-Rad's vice president, said the science and
experience with his company's test in Europe establishes its soundness
and reliability. Bio-Rad has yielded false positives only once every
300,000 tests, he said, adding that the false positives will decrease as
the U.S. labs acquire more experience.

"The issue has nothing to do with the test, it has to do with the
notification process," Crutchfield said, referring to the USDA's
decision to notify the public of inconclusive results before they were
confirmed or ruled out with confirmatory tests.

Heads of several state labs contacted by UPI said the agency allowed
them to choose among five licensed rapid tests, including Bio-Rad's.
However, outside testing experts said it was curious that all the labs
chose the same test.

"It is slightly peculiar that it went all to one supplier for no other
reason than you would want different tests because they give different
results," said Roger Rosedale, chairman of Microsens Biotechnologies, a
company in London that manufactures technology used in tests for
detecting mad cow disease and similar disorders. One of Microsens'
clients is Idexx Laboratories, which makes a competing mad cow test to
Bio-Rad and Prionics.

At the time the labs were making their choices, the USDA said Bio-Rad
was the only test the agency had "field tested," which apparently is a
prerequisite for putting the tests into use.

The Bio-Rad test "was the only one that had been field tested, so that's
limiting," said USDA's Quick. So although the USDA had licensed the
other rapid tests, they may not have been available for use even if the
laboratories had selected them.

The department also purchased the equipment needed to run the Bio-Rad
test for the labs, some of which otherwise would not have been able to
afford the machinery due to budget constraints.

A source with an American company that manufactures tests for detecting
animal disease said it was unusual for the USDA to approve a test and
then require field testing. Field trials are usually done before
approval, the source said.

"With other tests, if you get USDA approval, you're all set," the source
said. "This is something new."

Asked why the USDA was not using the Prionics Check test, as it had
recommended in the 2002 OIE letter, Quick said it is still being "field
tested." In the letter, however, the agency did not cite the need for a
field test or validation procedure.

"Certain tests, such as the rapid tests, may not give an accurate
picture of the BSE situation in a country or zone," the USDA wrote. "It
is well known that certain rapid tests such as the Enfer and Bio-Rad
tests have recorded false positive BSE results. For BSE-free countries
or zones, the use of rapid BSE tests that give false positive results
will cause loss of consumer confidence in beef and beef products."

A better approach would be to use the Prionics Check test, the agency


"For BSE free countries or zones, the use of histopathology,
immunohistochemistry and the Prionics 'check' immunoblot test would
provide a definitive diagnosis of a BSE suspect case," the letter stated.

Quick insisted the agency's statement was not intended to recommend
against the Bio-Rad test. Instead, she said, it was meant to recommend
that countries not simply rely on rapid screening tests as a way to
confirm a case of mad cow disease.

No other testing experts UPI contacted interpreted the statement that
way and Quick, who acknowledged she was not familiar with the technical
details of the tests, declined to make Clifford or other USDA officials
available to discuss the issue or offer clarification.

The USDA's decision not to release the samples from the two
inconclusives for verification by outside labs has also come under
question. The agency used a test called immunohistochemistry, or IHC, to
determine the animals were not infected with mad cow, but experts said
this is not always a foolproof test and it can miss cases.

Markus Moser, Prionics' chief executive officer and a molecular
biologist, noted that Germany was considered BSE-free when using the IHC
test. When officials there began using the Prionics rapid test in 2000,
he said, they found several cases and so far have detected more than 300
infected animals.

Stuart Wilson, Microsens' scientific director and a molecular
pathologist, noted in a document he recently prepared on false positives
that there have been instances when Bio-Rad was used more than a few
months before the animal developed symptoms and they were found
correctly to be positive, but IHC incorrectly ruled them negative.

"In a cow that you don't know is infected or not, it can always appear
IHC positive (or negative) simply by changing the IHC timing," Wilson
wrote in the document.

"This was one of the biggest problems with investigating tonsils in
asymptomatic humans in the United Kingdom," the document said, referring
to a recent study that indicated as many as 3,800 people in England may
be unwittingly incubating vCJD.

In the December mad cow case, the USDA had the results confirmed by the
Weybridge laboratory in the United Kingdom, which is one of the three
mad cow disease testing reference laboratories recognized by the OIE.
The other two are in Switzerland and Japan.

"It must by definition create doubt if they're not allowing any other
... OIE reference laboratory have access to them," Rosedale said. "It's
not to suggest (the USDA) guys are not competent, but why would they not
release it?"


Steve Mitchell is UPI's Medical Correspondent. E-mail [email protected]

Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International



######### http://mailhost-alt.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/warc/bse-l.html ##########

From: TSS (216-119-144-18.ipset24.wt.net)
Subject: MAD COW DISEASE AND TEXAS POLITICS Congressman Lampson and Senator
Hutchison just more BSeee
Date: June 29, 2004 at 2:21 pm PST


I wrote my Congressman, Congressman Nick Lampson and to
Senator Kay Baily Hutchison about my concern with the mad
cow in TEXAS and about my overall concern about BSE/TSE in
the USA. YOU would have swore the reply I got was directly
from the Industry. NO WHERE did they voice any concern
with human health. I know one thing, Nick Lampson would
have got no more votes from me, but the re-drawing of the
maps took care of that anyway. BUT both Lampson and Hutchison
seem to know nothing of the science of human/animal TSEs,
all they seem to be concerned with is the 'states economy'
and 'to work with Texas farmers and ranchers',
to hell with human health aspect. IF they did, they would
be more concerned about why that TEXAS mad cow which was refused
to be tested and sent directly to the render. what good is this
783 million dollars and more inspectors, if the ones you have
are refusing to test a mad cow to confirm it. IF Senator
Kay Baily Hutchison wants to do something productive, she
should find out why that TEXAS MAD COW was sent directly
to the render without testing, and she should become more
involved with Senator Waxmans investigation of this...

Congress of the United States;

House of Representatives




June 14, 2004

Mr. Terry Singeltary
PO Box 42




Dear Mr. Singeltary:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the safety of American
beef. I appreciate
hearing from you.

When the recent case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy was found in
American beef, many
people became concerned about the safety of American beef. The tainted beef
was from
Canadian cows, and the USDA, along with the meat packers and ranchers in
both countries are
working to resolve this issue. We must work hard to guarantee the safety of
our food supply in
an economically efficient manner.

On January 1st, 2004 this bill was referred to the House Committee on
Agriculture. If it reaches
the House floor I will follow it closely with your thoughts in mind.

Thank you for contacting me and please feel free to contact me with your
concerns in the future.


Member of Congress


P.S. Be sure to visit my web page and sign up for the E-mail Newsletter
featuring monthly updates on issues important
to you. Visit the site at: http://www.house.gov/lampson.

20515-4309 (202) 225-6565


300 WILLOW, SUITE 322, BEAUMONT, TX 77701 (409) 838-0061
601 ROSENBERG, SUITE 216, GALVESTON, TX 77550 (409)762-5877
1350 NASA ROAD 1, SUITE 224, HOUSTON, TX 77058 (281) 3331884
TOLL FREE 888-838-0061



"United States Senate"

WASHINGTON, DC 20510-4304

June 15, 2004






Mr. Terry S. Singeltary, Sr.

PO Box 42

Bacliff, TX 77518-0042

Dear Mr. Singeltary:

Thank you for contacting me regarding bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE), also
known as mad cow disease. I appreciate your views on this important issue.

I share your concerns regarding BSE and understand the serious impact the
would have on our state's economy. With nearly fourteen million head of
cattle, the Texas cattle
industry represents nearly half of our state's agricultural community.

The quality of food in the U.S. is the highest in the world. We have some of
the most
stringent inspection laws, and no meat comes into the U.S. that is not up to
our standards.
Federal regulations in place for seventeen years have served to keep our
food supply safe by
prohibiting the importation of cattle from countries where BSE does exist.

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2004 provides
$783.8 million
in funding for the Food Safety Inspection Service. This is an increase of
more than $29 million
from fiscal year 2003. I am currently working, as a member of the Senate
Committee, to ensure funding for food safety and inspections is sufficient,
and as the Agriculture Appropriations bill come before the full Senate for a
vote, I will monitor this matter closely. I will continue to work with Texas
farmers and ranchers to make sure that we are doing all we can to prevent
BSE and other livestock diseases from affecting U.S. consumers and

I appreciate hearing from you and hope you will not hesitate to keep in
touch on any
issue of concern to you.

Kay Bailey Hutchison



We have some of the most stringent inspection laws, and no meat comes into
the U.S. that is not up to our standards.

HEY, with lies like this, who needs the truth, which she would not know

PROTECT THE INDUSTRY AT ALL COST, including human health$$$

commodities, futures and gw's bse mrr policy is all this is about anymore...TSS


Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
Reaction score
Big Muddy rancher said:
We have all heard about canadian cattler flooding to the US and depressing the market. I found this interesting as we have told the US producers about the Quality of Canadian cattle and I guess the US feeders knew that all along.

"The 25 year average (pre-BSE) spread between and Alberta 550 pound steer and a US 550 pound steer is CDN$2.75. In other words, historically Alberta steer calves brought a premium to US steer calves. However, since 2003 this has not been the situation. Even after the border opened in late July the spread remained historically wide. Last week’s spread between and Alberta 550 pound steer and a US 550 pound steer was CDN$15.25."

I guess we weren't dumping cattle after all. The buyers just found quality they couldn't get else where.

Is quality the only factor that effects price, BMR?

Big Muddy rancher

Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
Reaction score
Big Muddy valley
Sandhusker said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
We have all heard about canadian cattler flooding to the US and depressing the market. I found this interesting as we have told the US producers about the Quality of Canadian cattle and I guess the US feeders knew that all along.

"The 25 year average (pre-BSE) spread between and Alberta 550 pound steer and a US 550 pound steer is CDN$2.75. In other words, historically Alberta steer calves brought a premium to US steer calves. However, since 2003 this has not been the situation. Even after the border opened in late July the spread remained historically wide. Last week’s spread between and Alberta 550 pound steer and a US 550 pound steer was CDN$15.25."

I guess we weren't dumping cattle after all. The buyers just found quality they couldn't get else where.

Is quality the only factor that effects price, BMR?

Since not alot of cattle are fed in Montana I doubt that the cattle were just driven across the border so their would be more frieght on cattle out of Alberta And since we do export calves I would if I was buying cattle only pay more if I was getting more quality.


Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
Reaction score
Alberta Canada
Big Muddy when I read that report I looked at the accompanying chart. The spread now favors American 550 wt calves according to the chart. IE we are down $17 cwt.

The charts were producer paid prices so a high freight bill would make the calves closer to par at the feedlot.

The trend in the chart was that we are closing the gap created by BSE.

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