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Testing Questioned in Jan 2005

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Mike

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January 14, 2005

Dr. John R. Clifford, Deputy Administrator, Chief Veterinary Officer
Animal Plant Health Inspection Service
1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 317-E
Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Deputy Administrator Clifford,

We have a number of questions about your November 23, 2004 announcement that a cow, which had tested not negative in two runs of the Bio-Rad ELISA quick test for mad cow disease, was indeed negative for BSE. We are concerned because New Scientist reported last June that the false positive rate after such repeated testing is around one in 100,000 for Bio-Rad. We would appreciate a chance to meet with you this month to discuss the questions below.

1. You have indicated that the Biorad screening test was run twice and got a positive result both times. Were the two runs conducted by the same or different technicians? Did they use the same or different brain samples?

2. When the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test was conducted, what was the condition of the brain when it arrived at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa? Did scientists note any deterioration?

3. How many slides were made and examined for the IHC test? Were they from only the obex, or other areas of the brain? Atypical strains of BSE have been found in Italy and Japan where the level of PrPres in the obex was low or non-detectable, unlike in traditional BSE. What portion(s) of the brain were examined?

4. Experienced technicians can sometimes disagree on the interpretation of IHC slides. Does one technician review the slides or more than one technician? If the latter, how many? Did they all agree on the conclusion?

5. The World Organization of Animal Health, known as O.I.E., recognizes use of immunoblotting (also know as Western Blot) as a further confirmation of the IHC test, and it is used in Japan and most European countries. USDA used the Western Blot test in December 2003 along with IHC to confirm the first case of mad cow disease in the United States . In Japan and Belgium cows that tested positive on two quick tests (in both cases using a Bio-Rad test), negative on IHC, yet positive on Western Blot and are considered to be confirmed BSE cases. Was Western blot or any other technique besides IHC used to confirm or rule out a positive result on this November 2004 cow? If so, what was the result? If not used, why not?

6. Were all the procedures referred to in your March 15, 2004 announcement of protocols to confirm any suspect positives utilized, particularly the reference to use of full battery of tests that includes, but is not limited to IHC? If not, what protocol was used and what is your rationale for the differences?

7. Does USDA still have brain material from the cow in question? If so, could it be sent to the World BSE reference laboratory in Weybridge, United Kingdom for IHC and Western Blot analysis to confirm the USDA finding? If not, why not?

8. Canadian press has reported that Canadian authorities have been told that the cow, from Texas, didnt have the metal ID tags that cows born here are given. Is this correct? What was the age of the cow and where had it lived?

We would like to request a meeting with you between now and the end of January about these questions, which are very important to consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply.


Sincerely,


Jean Halloran, Director
 

PORKER

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ITS a Mexican COW and this is why ,,,,,Canadian press has reported that Canadian authorities have been told that the cow, from Texas, didnt have the metal ID tags that cows born here are given. Is this correct? What was the age of the cow and where had it lived?
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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PORKER said:
ITS a Mexican COW and this is why ,,,,,Canadian press has reported that Canadian authorities have been told that the cow, from Texas, didnt have the metal ID tags that cows born here are given. Is this correct? What was the age of the cow and where had it lived?

Don't forget, Porker, that there is a very broad credibility issue here. Are the ears still around as evidence?
 

feeder

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Which ever way this turns out, there will be a credibility problem. What can we believe of the USDA in regards with our trade with Mexico and Canada? What they say in regards to every countries feed ban and SRM removal compliance is it true? Many believe the packers are in bed with the USDA, those same packers are in Canada, are they lily white there? We all know tags have been removed from some Canadian cattle here in the US, if it has no tags now will that 100% prove it is a domestic case? If it has a Canadian tag will anyone believe that? Too many red flags with this whole issue.
 
A

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feeder said:
Which ever way this turns out, there will be a credibility problem. What can we believe of the USDA in regards with our trade with Mexico and Canada? What they say in regards to every countries feed ban and SRM removal compliance is it true? Many believe the packers are in bed with the USDA, those same packers are in Canada, are they lily white there? We all know tags have been removed from some Canadian cattle here in the US, if it has no tags now will that 100% prove it is a domestic case? If it has a Canadian tag will anyone believe that? Too many red flags with this whole issue.

feeder- You are right... I'm afraid a lot of confidence in USDA has been eroded....

Futures are taking a hit today-- tommorrow is the start of Superiors big Iowa sale--Selling over 150,000 head over the week--lot of cattle from this country consigned..... May get a picture of what the industry confidence is-- but I'll bet most are no-saled until this whole mess can sort out.....
 

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