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Well-known member
Sep 3, 2005
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Release No. 0047.06
Terri Teuber (202) 720-4623
Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623


WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2006 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the results of an investigation into the ineligible shipment of veal that was sent to Japan last month. He also released a comprehensive USDA report that details the findings of the investigation and actions taken by USDA.

"The thoroughness of this report demonstrates just how serious we are about addressing this incident and providing assurance to our trading partners that our system is among the best in the world," said Johanns. "I believe our actions fully address the facts that led to this incident and provide added protections on a broader scale to prevent similar problems in the future."

The report, which totals 475 pages, establishes several facts surrounding the ineligible shipment, including noting that it posed no risk to human health. The report lays out the unique circumstances surrounding this shipment: it was the first shipment of veal sent to Japan; only two plants were certified to ship veal to Japan; and both of them were delisted before any other shipments were sent to Japan. In addition, veal had only recently been added to the U.S. export agreement with Japan.

The document relayed to Japan contains two distinct reports: an investigation by the Food Safety and Inspection Service and an audit by the Office of the Inspector General. In total, it contains eleven findings: five resulting from the FSIS investigation and six from a separate Inspector General's audit, with the findings closely mirroring each other.

The report concludes that mistakes were made by the plants involved with the shipment and by USDA inspection personnel. Those mistakes resulted from a lack of understanding of which products were eligible for shipment to Japan. The ineligible product included veal with the vertebral column intact and veal offal.

In addition, the report concludes that FSIS inspection program personnel at the establishment were not sufficiently aware of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Export Verification program and should not have certified or approved the shipment of ineligible product to Japan.

USDA is taking several actions in response to the findings of this report, in addition to the actions that were announced on January 20, when USDA learned of the ineligible shipment. These actions go beyond the circumstances of this incident to incorporate further efficiencies and protections into the U.S. export system. These actions can be summarized as follows:

All FSIS inspectors who work in plants that are certified to export beef are undergoing additional mandatory training to ensure they fully understand U.S. export agreements.

USDA will require plants to maintain a list of specific products they are certified to ship to any country, instead of a blanket export certification and that list will be kept readily available to USDA inspectors.

USDA inspectors in the plants will be notified of changes to a plant's eligibility to export at three separate times in the certification process: when the plant applies for certification, when the plant is audited and when a plant is certified or delisted.

Final export certification cannot be completed until in-plant inspectors have undergone additional training, ensuring coordination between AMS and FSIS.

Initiating with the resumption of exports to Japan, USDA will require a second signature on every shipment of beef for export, unless a trading partner indicates a second signature is not necessary for U.S. exports to that country.

The report is available on the web at: www.fsis.usda.gov. Additional appendices to the report, which are not posted on the web, are available by contacting USDA's Office of Communications at (202) 720-4623 or FSIS at (202) 720-9113.

Japan Export Investigation Report (Feb 17, 2006; PDF Only, 2.4MB)

AUDIO: Johanns Holds Conference Call To Discuss Results Of USDA Investigation Of Ineligible Shipment To Japan

Last Modified: 02/17/2006


boy, i feel safer don't you

:lol: :lol: :lol:

`Downer Cows' Entering Meat Supply, USDA Inspector General Says

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. government inspectors sometimes allow cattle that
can't walk to be slaughtered, contrary to rules aimed at preventing mad-cow
disease, the Agriculture Department's Inspector General said in a report.

The inspector general said that at two of 12 slaughter plants reviewed in an
audit, 29 non-ambulatory cattle were slaughtered over a 10-month period, and
that 20 had been identified as ``downers'' with no records of acute injury.

This violates USDA policy that excludes ``all non- ambulatory disabled
cattle from the human food supply,'' the IG said as part of a 118-page
review of how the department enforces rules meant to prevent mad-cow
disease. The report, which said the USDA must also improve record-keeping,
was released on the Inspector General's Web site.

The report was released at a delicate time in negotiations between the U.S.
and Japan over the safety of U.S. beef. Japan, normally the biggest overseas
customer for the meat, suspended imports on Jan. 20 after banned tissue was
found in a shipment of veal. The Japanese government had only allowed
imports to resume in December, following a two-year ban because of mad-cow

Japan bought $1.7 billion in U.S. beef in 2003, before banning the meat,
along with scores of other nations. Japan's purchases accounted for almost
half of total U.S. beef shipments of $3.8 billion that year.

The USDA ordered that downer cattle be excluded from the human food supply
after the first case of mad-cow disease was found in the U.S. in December
2003. The brain-wasting livestock illness has a fatal human form blamed for
more than 150 deaths in the U.K., where the disease first surfaced in the
1980s. The U.S. confirmed its second BSE case in June, in an animal born in

The U.S. slaughters about 35 million head of cattle a year.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Daniel Goldstein in Washington at at [email protected]

Last Updated: February 2, 2006 16:37 EST



FEB. 2 4:52 P.M. ET Investigators could not determine whether beef
slaughterhouses and packing plants obeyed safeguards designed to keep mad
cow disease from reaching humans, an Agriculture Department audit found.

The audit, performed throughout 2005 and released Thursday, turned up a case
of mad cow disease last year in a Texas cow.

The department's inspector general didn't find that at-risk tissues --
brains, spinal cords and other nerve parts from older animals -- had entered
the food supply.

But investigators found it impossible to say whether slaughterhouses were
following the rules, according to the report.
The rules were made in response to the first U.S. case of mad cow disease,
in 2003. They say at-risk tissues must be removed when older animals are
slaughtered. Infection levels from mad cow disease are believed to rise with

The Agriculture Department cited slaughterhouses or processing plants more
than 1,000 times in 2004 and 2005 for violating the rules.

A department official pointed out that's less than 1 percent of all
inspections. Those citations have been dropping, said Kenneth Petersen,
assistant administrator for the department's Food Safety and Inspection

Officials have already taken steps to better enforce the rules, said FSIS
administrator Barbara Masters.

"FSIS is confident it is successfully carrying out its mission to protect
public health," Masters said.


On the Net:

Food Safety and Inspection Service: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/

Copyright 2005, by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Audit Report Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program – Phase II and Food Safety and
Inspection Service Controls Over BSE Sampling, Specified Risk Materials, and
Advanced Meat Recovery Products - Phase III

Washington, D.C. 20250 January 25, 2006 REPLY TO ATTN OF: 50601-10-KC TO: W.
Ron DeHaven Administrator Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Barbara
Masters Administrator Food Safety and Inspection Service ATTN: William J.
Hudnall Deputy Administrator Marketing Regulatory Program Business Services
William C. Smith Assistant Administrator Office of Program Evaluation,
Enforcement, and Review FROM: Robert W. Young /s/ Assistant Inspector
General for Audit SUBJECT: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service -
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program - Phase II and
Food Safety and Inspection Service - Controls Over BSE Sampling, Specified
Risk Materials, and Advanced Meat Recovery Products - Phase III This report
presents the results of our audit of the enhanced BSE surveillance program
and controls over specified risk materials and advanced meat recovery
products. Your written response to the official draft report, dated January
20, 2006, is included as exhibit G with excerpts of the response and the
Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) position incorporated into the Findings
and Recommendations section of the report, where applicable. We accept the
management decisions for all recommendations. Please follow your agency’s
internal procedures in forwarding documentation for final action to the
Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). We are providing a separate
memorandum to the agencies and OCFO that provides specific information on
the actions to be completed to achieve final action. We appreciate your
timely response and the cooperation and assistance provided to our staff
during the audit USDA/OIG-A/50601-10-KC/ Page i

Executive Summary

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program - Phase II and Food Safety and
Inspection Service - Controls Over BSE Sampling, Specified Risk Materials,
and Advanced Meat Recovery Products - Phase III

Results in Brief This report evaluates elements of the interlocking
safeguards in place to protect United States (U.S.) beef from Bovine
Spongiform Encephalopathy, widely known as BSE or "mad cow disease." Since
1990, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS), has led a multi-agency effort to monitor and
prevent BSE from entering the food supply. After discovering a BSE-positive
cow in December 2003, APHIS expanded its BSE surveillance program. To
further protect the food supply, USDA banned materials identified as being
at risk of carrying BSE (specified risk materials (SRM)), such as central
nervous system tissue. As part of this effort, USDA’s Food Safety and
Inspection Service (FSIS) required beef slaughter and processing facilities
to incorporate controls for handling such materials into their operational
plans. Onsite FSIS inspectors also inspect cattle for clinical signs in
order to prevent diseased animals from being slaughtered for human
consumption. To evaluate the effectiveness of the safeguards, we assessed
APHIS’ implementation of the expanded surveillance program, as well as FSIS’
controls to prevent banned SRMs from entering the food supply.

In June 2004, APHIS implemented its expanded surveillance program;
participation by industry in this surveillance program is voluntary. As of
May 2005, over 350,000 animals were sampled and tested for BSE. To date, two
animals tested positive for BSE; one tested positive after implementation of
the expanded surveillance program.

USDA made significant efforts to implement the expanded BSE surveillance
program. Much needed to be done in a short period of time to establish the
necessary processes, controls, infrastructure, and networks to assist in
this effort. In addition, extensive outreach and coordination was undertaken
with other Federal, State, and local entities, private industry, and
laboratory and veterinary networks. This report provides an assessment as to
the progress USDA made in expanding its surveillance effort and the
effectiveness of its controls and processes. This report also discusses the
limitations of its program and data in assessing the prevalence of BSE in
the U.S. herd.


40 ELISA test procedures require two additional (duplicate) tests if the
initial test is reactive, before final interpretation. If either of the
duplicate tests is reactive, the test is deemed inconclusive.

41 Protocol for BSE Contract Laboratories to Receive and Test Bovine Brain
Samples and Report Results for BSE Surveillance Standard Operating Procedure
(SOP), dated October 26, 2004.

42 The NVSL conducted an ELISA test on the original material tested at the
contract laboratory and on two new cuts from the sample tissue.

43 A visual examination of brain tissue by a microscope.

44 A localized pathological change in a bodily organ or tissue.



PAGE 43;

Section 2. Testing Protocols and Quality Assurance Controls





Well-known member
Aug 26, 2005
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Flounder, does it say what slaughtering facilities were not operating within guidelines? What companies are involved? Were ANY fines waived by the USDA?

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