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Mike

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Dr. Robert Lull's Call
For BSE Testing Of
All US Cattle
SFGate.com
By Dr. Robert Lull, Steve Heilig
5-22-5


Mad cow disease remains a worrying mystery. Meat from infected animals can infect consumers with prions, which cause variant Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease, a progressive degeneration of the brain that is always fatal.

Mad cow disease (the common term for bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is caused by prions, the infectious misshapen proteins discovered by University of California researcher Stanley Prusiner, who received a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his groundbreaking work. Prusiner has referred to BSE-related diseases as "new, strange and scary."

Unfortunately, it seems that some governmental officials and agricultural leaders are not so worried about the threat that prion diseases such as BSE present -- not only to animals, but to humans as well. A human outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, caused by eating prion-contaminated beef from cattle with BSE, killed approximately 150 people in England in the 1990s. At that time, up to a third of British herds were found to be contaminated before the infection was controlled.

The one cow found to test positive in the United States in December unleashed a flurry of concern here, with much confusion over how much of a threat that case might have posed. Equally disturbing were varying allegations that the beef industry and governmental regulators were not being entirely forthcoming about the details of this case and were trying to reassure the public without enough scientific evidence to do so. There admittedly is much scientific uncertainty about how much a threat BSE poses to humans.

In recognition of that uncertainty, Japan has taken the BSE threat seriously and now routinely tests all slaughtered cattle and sheep for the presence of prion infection. The U.S. government persists in much more limited testing -- fewer than 1 percent of all cows are so tested -- arguing that scientific uncertainty makes universal testing too expensive. Yet Consumers Union has testified that such testing would add, at most, five cents a pound to the cost of beef. But Creekstone Farms in Kansas, seeking to certify its beef BSE-free and thus be able to sell it to Japan as well as concerned consumers here, have been threatened by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with legal action and severe fines to stop them from testing all their cattle for the BSE-causing prion. New tests can detect such prions in a short enough time to allow use on all animals at the time of slaughter.

Why would USDA oppose such testing? If it is positive, that would be good for human safety (one of the USDA's missions); but it could also trigger public reaction bad for the beef industry's profits. Wouldn't USDA be happy that any infected animal was detected before infecting a human? What possible justification can they have for denying beef producers who want to test every cow, at their own cost, in order to sell safety-certified beef?

At this time, testing all cows slaughtered for human consumption for the presence of BSE prions rather than late-stage full-blown neurological disease -- which is the only test now used by the USDA -- makes good sense as a public health precaution until more data are accumulated on the new rapid tests for BSE prions. This is why the San Francisco Medical Society supports this position -- as does Prusiner, the Nobel winner.

While the details of the threat are being determined, it is time to err on the side of safety, rather than on assurances from beef industry spokesmen. If it does turn out that testing 100 percent of animals is not warranted, good -- the standards could then be relaxed, and we'd all be safe rather than sorry. Right now, though, despite all assurances from those in charge, we just don't know.

Even if we cannot test all cattle, certainly there is no good reason to keep a ban on voluntary testing by responsible members of the cattle industry. This would provide consumers with a real choice regarding the safety of their beef products. It would also allow our cattle industry to reopen the markets now closed for beef sales in Japan and other countries that insist each slaughtered animal be certified negative for prions.

Congress and the public need to send our agricultural regulators at the USDA a strong message about their obligation to public health -- and consumer choice. Leading scientists agree that eating prions is a bad idea. If your doctor told you an inexpensive test could reduce your risk of contracting something that would kill you, you'd ask for that test. Likewise, isn't it time we pay the extra nickel per pound to be sure the beef we eat is free of a fatal disease?

Robert Lull, M.D., is professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, chief of Nuclear Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital and a past president of the San Francisco Medical Society. Steve Heilig is co-editor of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, director of Public Health and Education for the San Francisco Medical Society and co-director of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?

©2005 San Francisco Chronicle
 

Sandhusker

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"No scientific justification", "False advertising", "Somebody told the Japanese something at sometime" :roll: :lol: :lol:

Lull and Prusiner obviously are USDA blamers and know nothing about advertising. Don't they know they are advocating the deception of the Japanese consumers? They know nothing about sound science (except for when Prusiner won a Nobel prize)!

Divertion and Deception!

All testing would do is create the impression that beef is safe! Why in the world would we want that? Consumers buy on science - perceptions are deceiving!

A test would be a needless expense, passed down to the producer as all expenses are. Losing billions in export revenue makes more sense than that prohibitively expensive test!

Hypocrites! Blamers! R-CALF Clones! Communists! Militant Muslims!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
NEWS BREAK!!!

Sandhusker has just released a prostrate cancer test for boys less than 12 years of age.

Shall we approve it?

After all, some U.S. consumers want to buy it.

We certainly wouldn't want to stand in the way of Sandhusker's ability to market his product would we?



~SH~
 

Jeannie

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Sandhusker said:
"No scientific justification", "False advertising", "Somebody told the Japanese something at sometime" :roll: :lol: :lol:

Lull and Prusiner obviously are USDA blamers and know nothing about advertising. Don't they know they are advocating the deception of the Japanese consumers? They know nothing about sound science (except for when Prusiner won a Nobel prize)!

Divertion and Deception!

All testing would do is create the impression that beef is safe! Why in the world would we want that? Consumers buy on science - perceptions are deceiving!

A test would be a needless expense, passed down to the producer as all expenses are. Losing billions in export revenue makes more sense than that prohibitively expensive test!

Hypocrites! Blamers! R-CALF Clones! Communists! Militant Muslims!


Sandhusker, I'm confused as to where you are coming from with this post. The USDA's sole purpose is to watch over, regulate (to a certain degree), ensure the safety of american beef, and enforce the rules and regulations that have been enacted with regard to the american beef industry. (If I have any part of this wrong - and I probably do - please feel free to correct me) With regard to the BSE nightmare, WHO ELSE SHOULD BE BLAMED? Most cattlemen have honored the feed ban and adjusted their programs accordingly, is it not the job of the USDA to investigate, fine, or otherwise enforce that ban with those cattlemen that have not? Nor do I understand how testing all cattle presented for slaughter is deceiving the Japanese, providing the WB test (the most reliable) is used. Would you please explain? Thanks!
 

Mike

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Jeannie said:
Sandhusker said:
"No scientific justification", "False advertising", "Somebody told the Japanese something at sometime" :roll: :lol: :lol:

Lull and Prusiner obviously are USDA blamers and know nothing about advertising. Don't they know they are advocating the deception of the Japanese consumers? They know nothing about sound science (except for when Prusiner won a Nobel prize)!

Divertion and Deception!

All testing would do is create the impression that beef is safe! Why in the world would we want that? Consumers buy on science - perceptions are deceiving!

A test would be a needless expense, passed down to the producer as all expenses are. Losing billions in export revenue makes more sense than that prohibitively expensive test!

Hypocrites! Blamers! R-CALF Clones! Communists! Militant Muslims!


Sandhusker, I'm confused as to where you are coming from with this post. The USDA's sole purpose is to watch over, regulate (to a certain degree), ensure the safety of american beef, and enforce the rules and regulations that have been enacted with regard to the american beef industry. (If I have any part of this wrong - and I probably do - please feel free to correct me) With regard to the BSE nightmare, WHO ELSE SHOULD BE BLAMED? Most cattlemen have honored the feed ban and adjusted their programs accordingly, is it not the job of the USDA to investigate, fine, or otherwise enforce that ban with those cattlemen that have not? Nor do I understand how testing all cattle presented for slaughter is deceiving the Japanese, providing the WB test (the most reliable) is used. Would you please explain? Thanks!

Think "Facetious", Jeannie. By the way, I might add is the only word in the english language that has all five vowels in their alphabetical order.
 

Jeannie

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Ahhhhh, thanks Maple Leaf. I have always had trouble detecting sarcasm, especially in a non-face to face forum. :oops: Guess I'm just too darned literal, and it doesn't help that I'm new and don't really know a lot of the member on here yet.

Does Sandhusker get facetious a lot? I'll know to take that into account from now on.

PS Thanks for the bit of trivia! No, I didn't know that, but I do now! :D
 

Sandhusker

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Jeannie, you are absolutley correct. I was speaking tongue in cheek. If you've been on this board very long, you would of noticed those rediculous comments I made were pointed jabs at SH.

SH will not agree with anything R-CALF is for (allowing US packers to BSE test product for Japan) and will go to great lengths to take the contrary position - even making things up such as the notion that a US packer that would be allowed to provide tested product to Japan would be false advertising. You are right, there is no deception involved in providing tested beef to Japan. Not only are they the ones who brought it up, it is their law!. Pretty cut and dried for most folks, unless it's just not in you to agree with R-CALF in any way. Do some research on SH's posts and you'll see what I mean. Not much logic there and a lot of juvinile taunts and name calling - but we love him. A little comedic relief is always welome!

Yes, you are correct as well about the USDA's job to ensure the safety of american beef - to Americans. SH thinks the USDA needs to also ensure the safety of the Japanese. I guess he thinks the Japanese Agricultural Ministry is incapable.

And finally, I totally agree with you the USDA is to be blamed for this BSE problem. They dropped the ball with the Japanese deal, the Canadian deal, and finally this deal. I'm pretty sure if Lichtenstein had a deal they would of messed that up as well!
 

Jeannie

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Thank you, Sandhusker. Actually, I'm pretty new to the boards - about 3 days I think. Maybe 4! I've gone back and read a lot of the previous posts, but haven't really gotten a handle on a lot of the members yet. You had me really confused! But, that's ok! I understand now! :D
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Well now, knowing Sandhusker as well as we do, how can we know if he meant what he just said? Was he being facetious or not? :???:

We all know that he can't be serious all the time. Cuz he just wouldn't make sense often enough.

I think that he and ~SH~ are pulling the wool over our eyes, so to speak. They are probably best buddies in the beerhall when in the same state. (GEt it? Like in state of drunkeness?)

OOOps! Maybe this is getting beyond facetious into farcical.

Whatever. :roll: :roll: :lol:
 

Jeannie

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Maple Leaf Angus said:
Well now, knowing Sandhusker as well as we do, how can we know if he meant what he just said? Was he being facetious or not? :???:

We all know that he can't be serious all the time. Cuz he just wouldn't make sense often enough.

I think that he and ~SH~ are pulling the wool over our eyes, so to speak. They are probably best buddies in the beerhall when in the same state. (GEt it? Like in state of drunkeness?)

OOOps! Maybe this is getting beyond facetious into farcical.

Whatever. :roll: :roll: :lol:


:lol2: :lol2: It had the feel of authenticity about it. I believe you have a point there! :lol2:
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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reader (the Second) said:
Think "Facetious", Jeannie. By the way, I might add is the only word in the english language that has all five vowels in their alphabetical order

abstemious
and a few more
someone just introduced me to this game recently

Aw Reader, now you just went and took all of Mike's fun away with that word! :)
 

Mike

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reader (the Second) said:
Think "Facetious", Jeannie. By the way, I might add is the only word in the english language that has all five vowels in their alphabetical order

abstemious
and a few more
someone just introduced me to this game recently

Abstemious was not in the English book I studied from reader. :wink:
Southern schools don't teach those types of words! :???:
 

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