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USDA Testing - A Coverup?

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Mike

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Although this is an old article. We might look back and wonder if the USDA has been perpetuating a BSE coverup since the beginning. Especially when we look at their recent, almost childlike mistakes.
This article, from 2001, slams the "Gold Standard" tests which the USDA has FOUR YEARS LATER found to be insufficient in finding positives.
______________________________________________________________

USA Mad Cow Testing--A Deliberate Coverup?
USA Government Falls Short on Testing for Mad Cow--Is This A Coverup?

Compared to the actions taken by countries in the European Union, the
United States government does not seem to be aggressive enough in
protecting American consumers from bovine spongiform encelphalopathy (BSE),
commonly known as mad cow disease.

The type of testing methods now used in the U.S. have been shown to miss
prions detected by the more advanced testing methods employed in Europe. (A
prion is a microscopic protein particle similar to a virus but lacking
nucleic acid, thought to be the infectious agent responsible for BSE and
certain other degenerative diseases of the nervous system.)

Germany, which long proclaimed itself "BSE-free" using the same type of
testing the US currently utilizes, did not discover its first mad cow cases
until it began using the more sensitive testing procedures.

The U.S. currently uses Western Blot analyses, immunohistory chemistry, and
histopathology, which are more labor intensive and take longer than the
newer tests. They require removing a portion of the brain, growing a
culture, staining it with dye, and examining how the dye has interacted
with the culture.

The U.S. also is presently testing only 1 out of every 18,000 cows
slaughtered, whereas countries like Switzerland test 1 out of every 60
cows...

Dr. Marcus Doherr is a veterinarian epidemiologist at the University of
Bern, Switzerland, who received his Ph.D. from University of California at
Davis. He helped design the Swiss mad cow testing program, regarded by many
experts as the most advanced in the world.

Doherr says that if the U.S. has as high an incidence of mad cow as France,
for example, the current USDA testing program would not detect it. "They're
not testing enough animals," he says. "The USDA argues it's a good sample,
but it isn't representative of the population it is trying to extrapolate."

European countries have for some time been testing a far greater percentage
of their cattle. And unlike the U.S., European countries are now testing
animals which are headed into their food chain. The U.S. is currently
testing a tiny number of "downer cows," cows which are selected for testing
visually by USDA inspectors because of obvious illness.

Dr. Linda Detwiler, a veterinarian who chairs the BSE Working Group at the
U.S. Department of Agricuture, defends current U.S. testing, asserting it
is adequate to detect mad cow if it is in the U.S. "We are targeting fallen
stock, and we know it's best to target those cows because in Switzerland,
the country with the greatest scientific experience with spotting the
disease, they found all their BSE cases in fallen stock, and none in
testing animals going into the Swiss food chain."

Actually, that's not entirely correct. Dr. Markus Moser, a molecular
biologist and guest researcher at Oxford University in England, heads the
Swiss company Prionics, which developed a rapid-response test for BSE,
called the Prionics Check Test. The Check Test costs about $40 per cow, and
Moser says it has found cases of mad cow in tests of "healthy" cattle which
otherwise would have entered the food chain.

Moser does agree with Detwiler that BSE has been found in significantly
higher percentages in fallen stock, making it reasonable to focus initial
testing there. However, you can't compare the current U.S. testing to
testing done in Europe, he says. The reason is because the U.S. has a very
different definition of "fallen stock" than the Europeans.

"In Europe," says Moser, "'fallen stock' refers to any cow not regularly
slaughtered, which gets sick or dies, breaks its leg and is destroyed, or
doesn't go into the food chain for any number of reasons. No such cows can
be disposed of in Europe without being tested for BSE."

But in the U.S., the term "fallen stock" appears to refer only to cattle
that actually arrive at the slaughterhouse and are so obviously sick that
they are pulled out of the line by a USDA inspector. "Who would bring a
sick animal to an abattoir that they knew was going to be pulled out?" says
Moser.

In fact, U.S. ranchers can dispose of sick cattle in a number of ways, such
as selling them to rendering plants to be turned into animal food. Unlike
Europe, the U.S. does not have the same laws insuring these fallen cattle
are not disposed of without testing first for BSE.

Dr. Mike O'Connor is another expert who believes U.S. policy could be
improved. O'Connor is a founder and the Technical Director of Enfer
Scientific, in Dublin, Ireland. His company developed the Enfer
rapid-response test for mad cow disease, now widely used in the UK and
Europe.

"It's illegal to bury casualty cattle in Ireland," says O'Connor. "You
can't just dispose of them however you want. They must be tested. That
obviously doesn't happen in the U.S."

Dr. Dagmar Heim, the head of Switzerland's BSE testing and surveillance
unit, points to the most dramatic illustration showing the difference
between European and U.S. definitions of "downer cows." It's the number of
cows the U.S. counts as "fallen" versus the number Europe identifies.

In Switzerland, she says, some 14,000 cows were identified and tested last
year as "high risk/fallen" out of a total of about 800,000 slaughtered. By
comparison, the US identified and tested only about 2,000 "fallen cattle"
-- out of a total 36 million slaughtered here.

That's a difference between 1.75% of all cows in Switzerland being
identified and tested as fallen cows, and .0056% (five-thousands of one
percent) of all U.S. cows being identified as "downers" and tested.

If the USDA used the same "fallen cattle" definition as Europe and ended up
testing 1.75% of its cattle for mad cow disease - as the Swiss do - the
U.S. would be testing about 630,000 cows per year, rather than the 2,303
cows tested last year.

Moser says the USDA's claim that it is testing what the Swiss have
identified as a "high risk group" - fallen cattle - is not accurate.
"You're testing a very small sub-population of what Europe looks at, a tiny
fraction of what we consider to be 'fallen cattle.' It's not the same at
all."

Best mad cow disease test is "made in the USA" - but not used here

According to a study published in 1999 in the scientific journal Nature,
the most sensitive mad cow test produced to date is made by a company
called Bio-Rad, with headquarters in Hercules, California, near San
Francisco. In 1998, the European Union formed a commission to evaluate mad
cow tests, and the result was a joint effort between the French Atomic
Energy Comission and Bio-Rad, which developed and in 2000 began marketing a
test called Platelia BSE. Bio-Rad CFO, Tom Chesterman, says their rapid
response mad cow test costs $17 per cow, with some 600,000 tests having
been sold in Europe since the beginning of the year.

Two other tests reviewed in the Nature study were also shown to be highly
effective; Dr. Moser's Prionics Check Test, and Dr. O'Connor's Enfer. All
three tests are designed to provide quick response times, enabling meat
packers to test animals and get results back before slaughtered carcasses
in the plant's "chill room" reach 4 degrees Centigrade, the temperature at
which they can be loaded onto trucks to go to market.

When asked whether the USDA was evaluating or considering using these newer
tests in the U.S., Detwiler said they would look at them at some point in
the future. The reason the USDA isn't looking more closely at these tests
now is because "there's too much demand for them in Europe," and Prionics,
for example, is currently "unable to send any testing kits to the USDA,"she
says. "We can't start any evaluation if they can't deliver the European
tests to us."

Moser of Prionics and O'Connor of Enfer find it surprising Detwiler would
say this. "Our test has been commercially available since 1999," says
Moser, "how many do they want?" He says their test is marketed by Roche
Diagnostics in the U.S., which has for sometime been trying to get the USDA
to take interest in it. "It's been available to the USDA for a long time,
if they wanted it."

O'Connor of Ireland is also eager to get the Enfer test to the U.S.
government. "There is no problem getting Enfer tests to the U.S.," he says,
adding he would be delighted to have Enfer find a home in the U.S.. "We are
trying to get it in there with our marketing partner, Abbot Diagnostics."

Moser says that a "60 Minutes" producer recently contacted him for a story,
and also told him Detwiler at the USDA had made the same assertion, that
Prionics would be unable for several months to give the USDA a test to
evaluate. "How could the USA not be able to get our test?" asked Moser.

Asked what the USDA thought of the Nature study affirming the effectiveness
of the three rapid mad cow tests, Detwiler replied she wasn't familiar with
the study and needed to read it. She added that she expected it to take
quite some time for the USDA to evaluate the rapid tests, that it would
likely be a long time before they might be approved.

"Approval is really a gray area," says Moser. "Yes, things often go through
long processes to be formally approved, but the current method used by the
USDA hasn't been approved by anyone."

Approval is also a gray area because the test isn't being given to live
animals, which would normally require many safety tests, but is being
administered to dead brain tissue. The only needed testing appears to be to
determine whether or not the tests work - which the EU and a number of
individual European governments have already tested and proven perform
quite well.

Rapid testing was key to discovering BSE in Germany

BSE was first discovered in Switzerland in 1990, with the Swiss government
instituting numerous consumer protection measures to close off the country
from known BSE-sources. In 1998, conventional testing appeared to indicate
that BSE rates had declined dramatically. Prionics introduced their rapid
testing method and began marketing it.

"Some here in Switzerland were resistant, saying we had BSE under control,
why did we need to do this testing?" said Doherr. But others, including
consumer groups pushed for the new testing to be done, and so the Swiss
decided to try it.

"It became very apparent there were a lot of BSE cases that were missed
before we used the Prionics test," said Doherr. "We quickly realized that
this rapid testing was a very valuable tool to see how the epidemic is
progressing. There was a dramatic increase of BSE-infected animals
detected." Doherry says nearly four times as many cases of BSE were found
in Switzerland in 1999 when rapid testing was used, than were found in 1998
using only conventional testing (the same methods used today in the U.S.).

"This was huge news around the world," said Moser, whose company produces
the test. "Everyone was in shock over this discovery." Moser says Prionics
subsequently convinced Swiss authorities to do a test on 3000 normal cows,
in addition to testing fallen cows. The results revealed mad cow was also
in cows which had no obvious symptoms, and were headed into the food chain.

"Rapid testing was finding a lot of BSE in Switzerland," says Moser.
Switzerland's beef industry was coming under fire, he says, but the Swiss
argued that their beef was probably no worse than other EU countries, and
the only difference was they had better testing.

They turned out to be right.

Germany had long proclaimed it was BSE-free. They also used the same
testing the U.S. government currently uses. "The Germans didn't see any
BSE," says Moser, "So they said 'We're clean.'"

Moser said after Prionics found greatly increased mad cow in the Swiss
herd, his company tried to interest European governments in their test.
"They were in a state of denial, saying they didn't have BSE here, that
they had 'firewalls' around their countries, they had taken measures to
keep their beef safe, were already testing, and so on." Moser said most
governments weren't immediately interested in fast tests that would make it
possible and affordable to test many cows very quickly.

So Prionics began marketing their rapid test directly to labs in Germany,
and directly to meat producers. "And some of these companies felt they had
a responsibility toward their customers," says Moser. A few privately were
concerned that one day they might have legal liability if mad cow turned up
and infected people.

"If they did some testing now, that would be a reasonable step," Moser
says. Private labs then performed the Prionics test on a small number of
cattle -- and found BSE in German cows for the first time.

"It snowballed from there, Germany did more rapid testing and found it had
a big problem. It was a huge scandal," says Moser. All consumer groups in
Europe had been pushing for more testing, and now DG24, the Health and
Consumer Protection Directorate-General of the EU, issued rules for
mandatory minimum testing in member countries, for all fallen cattle and
cattle over 30 months of age.

"The importance of this new rapid test is that a lot of other countries
were claiming they had no BSE," says Doherr. "They were not implementing
any consumer measures to protect their public. It was important that these
countries were forced to use this test. It told them, 'You are wrong, you
do have BSE, and you need to do something to protect your consumers.'"

Commercial forces have since taken hold, Moser says, and countries wanting
to sell their beef to other EU countries have had to start widescale
testing to assure their foodchain, or other countries won't buy from them.

Worthless USDA "firewall" strategy?

Recent studies point to intensive factory farming techniques used widely in
Europe and the U.S. as causing mad cow to develop in herds. Specifically,
the practice of feeding cow protein back to cows is widely considered to
promote and spread mad cow disease. Although the U.S. enacted laws to stop
this practice in 1997, FDA monitoring in March of 2001 revealed that
several hundred U.S. feed factories are violating these rules intended to
prevent the spread of mad cow.

Additionally, the U.S. permits the feeding of other animal remains to cows,
which new research suggests may permit continued spread of mad cow disease.
This practice has been outlawed in Europe and elsewhere.

While keeping meat and feed from countries known to have BSE is important,
some experts say it's very possible if not likely that the disease can
appear spontaneously in a country with farming techniques used in the U.S.
and Europe, even in the absence of any outside "contamination." In this
instance, the current USDA "firewall strategy" - preventing mad cow from
appearing by blocking imports from BSE countries - would prove of little
use.

European experience also shows relying on the judgment of people in
slaughterhouses can be problematic, Moser says, as it requires a degree of
interpretation. "If a vet is not well educated in spotting signs of BSE,
they can easily miss them," he says.

Doherr agrees. "If a cow's production of milk drops significantly, in
Switzerland we test it as a sign of mad cow." In the U.S., however, that
cow is sent into the food chain. "BSE starts as a subtle chronic disease,
and gets more intensive. But it's easy to miss at early stages if you're
not trained," Doherr says. He says things as simple as a behavioral change,
a cow afraid of movement, noises or light, or a cow being sensitive to
touch - all signal BSE suspicion and trigger testing in Europe, but not in
the U.S.

"If a cow kicks when you try to milk it, a U.S. farmer - who is told 'we
don't have BSE here' - will not even think about it," says Doherr. "He'll
just think it's time to replace that cow. People who think they have no BSE
in their country are unlikely to recognize a case, let alone report it."

Moser also points to potential problems with the conventional immunohistory
testing, the testing method used by Germany (which many now realize missed
cases of BSE) and currently used by the U.S. While Moser believes the test
isn't a bad method per se, he says it has potential problems.

"These tests depend on the quality of the tissue," he says. "If the brain
tissue used in the test is not of good quality and is partly degraded, the
test becomes problematic.
 

PORKER

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Yes sir re,That's the number ONE REASON why OIG's FONG took USDA to the WOODSHED and she should take time to talk to AMI and Mr. BOYLE even when he's not associated with the gov.
 
A

Anonymous

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The conspiracy theories never end!

Mike,

When you leave your place in the morning, do you check the distant hills for scope reflections? Perhaps USDA is after you?????????????????



~SH~
 

Mike

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~SH~ said:
The conspiracy theories never end!

Mike,
When you leave your place in the morning, do you check the distant hills for scope reflections? Perhaps USDA is after you?????????????????
~SH~

Have you ever read the " UK BSE INQUIRY"? It is one big apology from the government for not acting swiftly and accurately in taking measures to protect the cattle and beef industry from a devastating occurence that was intially swept under the rug. Once the media smelled blood the race was on to hold their feet to the fire.

I am not saying we have the same magnitude of BSE here, just the same initial inept procedural mistakes that the media will pick up on sooner or later if the status quo continues.

BSE does not scare me nearly as much as the media. As in most goverment mistakes the "coverup" is always much worse than the "crime" and will be blown out of proportion, leaving us fighting pork, chicken, and fish with one hand tied behind our back.

An honest and open testing program by the USDA would leave no room for "conspiracies".

Have you not read the posts by Tam and other Canadians criticizing the USDA and FDA for their mistakes? Are they "conspiracists" too?

If you would like to refute the article you called a "conspiracy" I will read objectively. I did not write it. The "MEDIA" did.
 

whiteface

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SH, while I do appreciate your clarity of thinking and ability to come up with very good arguments to just about everything you choose to tackle, and no, I'm not interested in actually debating this with you, I think on occasion, you do try very hard to not be suspicious of things that maybe, just maybe you might need to consider being suspicious of. I'm not one for conspiricy theories either and would sure like to believe that the people we elect are in fact good enough to deserve to be there but I also have had some serious suspicions regarding both our countries handleing of some BSE instances. I'm only one person and don't have a big enough enterprise nor do I ever plan on haveing a big enough enterprise to make a signifigant dent in how the beef industry is handled but I sure get irate at thought of ANYONE thinking they're so damn smart they can just pull a fast one or in your case talk and paste long enough for everyone else to just get tired and give up argueing and there are really no consequenses for the smartass' actions.
Anyway, just my two cents. Again, no, not looking for an arguement but would lose respect for anyone who is normally arguementive to not dish it right back at me! Have a good day all and thanks for reading from Canada!
 
A

Anonymous

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Ok Whiteface if you want to objectively look at motives look no further than the fact that USDA is held publicly accountable to the voters in this country and the consumers outnumber the producers 98% to 2%. Now which side do you think they would lean towards considering those statistics? The side of the producer or the side of the consumer?

Kind of a no-brainer for the U.S.D.A. to be involved in a coverup that could jeoprodize the health and safety of U.S. consumers. This is a no-brainer.

Anyone can look back and see how things should have been handled differently but BSE is something relatively new to the U.S. and Canada and for the most part, I think our precautionary measures have assured the safety of our product.

I credit the Canadian producers for stepping out and looking for BSE knowing full well how the R-CULT sharks would have a feeding frenzy with any positives found. That is unfortunate but you can only be true to yourselves. Right will always prevail in the end as it did in court again.


~SH~
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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~SH~ - I and many others wish the world of government and politics we have to deal with were as innocent, pure and trustworthy as you present it to be.
 

whiteface

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Fair enough, SH, I want to trust them too and I do largely agree with your convictions of standing for something or you fall for anything. I also appreciate that you would not "slash and burn" me for my simple observations. Thank you for the courtesy of your reply when I know I'm not the most fun "to get into it" with. Have a good night all from Canada.
 

bse-tester

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Kind of a poker deal in that one could ask the Government who was it that actually validated the test currently being used by the USDA?? The answer is simple - NOBODY! Mike is absolutely right about that. The Government of the day simply agreed to letting them use it. Where did it come from and who was it that made the assurances that it was foolproof? We might never know. The same questions that SH literally always punches holes in can also be similar to the science behind milk production. Why is it that in the last 25 years, we have seen an incredible surge of young children reaching puberty on average, 4 - 5 years before they did in the early 1950's? Can it be due to the growth hormones being used to build muscle in our cattle and to bring about greater milk production? Why is it that in most countries in Europe, samples taken from most rivers will show an unusally high growth hormone residue count and an even higher pharmaceutical drug level than ever before? I am sure that the Government will tell you that all is well and that the vast majority of the USA population will simply go about their daily grind and think nothing of it. Why? Well, simply because they too are like lemings that believe all they are told. But when it comes to facts and scientific proof of these facts, the Government, like the British Government initially did, choses to ignore the truth and basically hide their heads in the sand hoping it will soon be replaced by other headlines. The British Government made the fundamental mistake of allowing the producers, the money boys and those groups which stood to lose their collective shrits, to make the decisions regarding what was to be done about BSE and the human food chain. They chose to protect their butts and let the truth be buried in a mountain of committee mumbo-jumbo that led to the melt-down of the British Beef Industry. The Canadian Government has followed the same path in that they too have allowed the BSE situation in Canada be controlled by those who chose to ignore the science that has made inroads which showed that the 'old science' was indeed flawed. The USDA has been relying on a test that has no efficiency beyond that of rudimentary lab test that is prone to failure This has been proven to be a fact. So who is to belive who when it comes to what is what in the world these days? Do we believe the Government who, after all, is made up of a pile of people who make it their living to stay in office and will do so at all costs? Or is the scientists who bring the idea and the protocols to the table only to be discarded like so much waste paper? Britain, Canada and the USA have all followed the same slippery slope when it comes to how BSE has been handled and the question of what is going to be done about it will always be answered the same way! "And this too shall pass." Unfortunately, BSE will not simple "Pass." It is here to stay and it is about time the world woke up and realized this simple fact. How many healthy animals have entered the food chain of us, the great unwashed? We may never know until the CJD cases light up the medical fraternity with a panic that has not been since Hannibal crossed the Alps. Right now, we have the Fox looking after the chicken coup. Governments know that to aviod panic they must calm the masses and to do that they simply tell the world that all is well and they put all kinds of data in front of the nedia and the job is done. In Canada, our Health Minister at the time, Anne McClennan, actually stood infront of the cameras and blurted out the statement that it was impossible for a cow younger than 30 months to "....catch BSE." What a crock of bull crap that was and yet I am sure that she either truly believed that stupid remark or she simply just memorized what someelse wrote for her to blurt out. But this is indicative of what the so-called Governments are putting out. Any way, I thought I would throw this into the stew pot and see what bubbled up as a result. Sorry to be so long winded. Ron.
 

Mike

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SH
Kind of a no-brainer for the U.S.D.A. to be involved in a coverup that could jeoprodize the health and safety of U.S. consumers. This is a no-brainer.

The Ag. Commission in the UK being involved in a cover-up was a no-brainer too! Read their apologies.

How many quotes from the USDA ("THE WASHINGTON COW DID NOT ENTER THE FOOD CHAIN" -"WE RECALLED ALL THAT MEAT OUT OF AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION") [PARAPHRASING] do we have to read to know that they are not above lying.

If a private company were to have made the mistakes made in the Texas cow, I guarantee they would be on Capitol Hill right now.

USDA Accountability? What a JOKE!
 

Beefman

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Mike said:
Although this is an old article. We might look back and wonder if the USDA has been perpetuating a BSE coverup since the beginning. Especially when we look at their recent, almost childlike mistakes.
This article, from 2001, slams the "Gold Standard" tests which the USDA has FOUR YEARS LATER found to be insufficient in finding positives.
______________________________________________________________

Mike;

Yes, this is an old article. Over four years old. What concerns me most is the article's author, and the trail he's left.

This article, can be found at http://www.vegsource.com/articles/bse_usda.htm. The author was Jeffery A. Nelson. Mr. Nelson (at the time, perhaps still is) was the owner of vegsource.com, one of the internet's largest websites promoting a veggie livestyle. Nelson, again at this time, was also the vice chair of Earth Save, a (http://www.earthsave.org/esboard.htm) group whose agenda is "to promote a shift toward a healthy plant based diet".

The article you posted was filled with so many innaccuracies that it prompted a response from Dr Gary Webber of NCBA. (http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow/4301weber.cfm)

We all know there's a long line of people willing to take pot shots at the USDA the past four years. Like it or not, they are largely responsible for our having the world's safest food supply. We need not apologize for that. Nor does it make sense to kiss and hug authors such as Mr. Nelson. Clearly, he wants to put you out of business. Howard Lyman, and the rest of the predictable list of animal rights supporters came out in support of this article. Why give Jeffery Nelson a platform to make your points?

Beefman
 
A

Anonymous

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Reminds me of R-CULT holding hands with anti beef consumer groups to help carry their "bse fear mongering" message to stop Canadian imports.


~SH~
 

Mike

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We all know there's a long line of people willing to take pot shots at the USDA the past four years. Like it or not, they are largely responsible for our having the world's safest food supply. We need not apologize for that. Nor does it make sense to kiss and hug authors such as Mr. Nelson. Clearly, he wants to put you out of business. Howard Lyman, and the rest of the predictable list of animal rights supporters came out in support of this article. Why give Jeffery Nelson a platform to make your points?
Beefman

Matters not where the potshots come from. They still have the propensity to undermine consumer confidence.

You might check your facts about "the worlds safest food supply" also. Japan has a MUCH smaller incidence of foodborne illness and death.

Yes Mr. Nelson is trying to put me out of business. That is exactly what is so scary about this article!

P.S. Gary Webbers rebuttal to this article was inaccurate also. He more or less said the experts didn't know what they were saying.
 

Beefman

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reader (the Second) said:
Beefman said:
Mike said:
Although this is an old article. We might look back and wonder if the USDA has been perpetuating a BSE coverup since the beginning. Especially when we look at their recent, almost childlike mistakes.
This article, from 2001, slams the "Gold Standard" tests which the USDA has FOUR YEARS LATER found to be insufficient in finding positives.
______________________________________________________________

Mike;

Yes, this is an old article. Over four years old. What concerns me most is the article's author, and the trail he's left.

This article, can be found at http://www.vegsource.com/articles/bse_usda.htm. The author was Jeffery A. Nelson. Mr. Nelson (at the time, perhaps still is) was the owner of vegsource.com, one of the internet's largest websites promoting a veggie livestyle. Nelson, again at this time, was also the vice chair of Earth Save, a (http://www.earthsave.org/esboard.htm) group whose agenda is "to promote a shift toward a healthy plant based diet".

The article you posted was filled with so many innaccuracies that it prompted a response from Dr Gary Webber of NCBA. (http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow/4301weber.cfm)

We all know there's a long line of people willing to take pot shots at the USDA the past four years. Like it or not, they are largely responsible for our having the world's safest food supply. We need not apologize for that. Nor does it make sense to kiss and hug authors such as Mr. Nelson. Clearly, he wants to put you out of business. Howard Lyman, and the rest of the predictable list of animal rights supporters came out in support of this article. Why give Jeffery Nelson a platform to make your points?

Beefman

Gee, I wonder where your biases lie? :roll: :roll: :roll:

I also take organicconsumers and vegsource with a grain of salt, as I do "Dr. Gary Webber" whose income comes from the beef industry. Consider ALL your sources, or is that possible for you, Beefman? I doubt iit. You haven't refuted facts, just slung mud.

Reader, if revealing the background of Mike's source is a crime, then I'm guilty as charged. My biases are towards advancing the consumption of our product, both domestically and internationally. I get real heartburn when people supposedly in the beef industry provide platforms for our most severe critics.

There's a long line of those who want to wipe bovine creatures from the face of the earth. When used as proof sources, they need to be exposed for who they really are.

Yes, Gary Webber's income comes from the beef industry. I appreciate his expertise and the fine manner he's represented our industry. Thankfully, he's able to address the media / consumers and adequately neuter those that so need it.

Beefman
 

Beefman

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Mike said:
We all know there's a long line of people willing to take pot shots at the USDA the past four years. Like it or not, they are largely responsible for our having the world's safest food supply. We need not apologize for that. Nor does it make sense to kiss and hug authors such as Mr. Nelson. Clearly, he wants to put you out of business. Howard Lyman, and the rest of the predictable list of animal rights supporters came out in support of this article. Why give Jeffery Nelson a platform to make your points?
Beefman

Matters not where the potshots come from. They still have the propensity to undermine consumer confidence.

You might check your facts about "the worlds safest food supply" also. Japan has a MUCH smaller incidence of foodborne illness and death.

Yes Mr. Nelson is trying to put me out of business. That is exactly what is so scary about this article!

P.S. Gary Webbers rebuttal to this article was inaccurate also. He more or less said the experts didn't know what they were saying.

"It is appropriate that we talk about our efforts to feed the people of Iraq on National Agriculture Day. America's farmers and ranchers produce the most plentiful, affordable, and safest food anywhere in the world."

President Bush
3/21/03

Sorry Mike, but I'm siding with President Bush on this one (link below). My challenge to you is to do likewise.


http://www.useu.be/Categories/GlobalAffairs/Iraq/Mar2103VenemanFoodAid.html


Beefman
 

Beefman

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Beefman said:
Mike said:
We all know there's a long line of people willing to take pot shots at the USDA the past four years. Like it or not, they are largely responsible for our having the world's safest food supply. We need not apologize for that. Nor does it make sense to kiss and hug authors such as Mr. Nelson. Clearly, he wants to put you out of business. Howard Lyman, and the rest of the predictable list of animal rights supporters came out in support of this article. Why give Jeffery Nelson a platform to make your points?
Beefman

Matters not where the potshots come from. They still have the propensity to undermine consumer confidence.

You might check your facts about "the worlds safest food supply" also. Japan has a MUCH smaller incidence of foodborne illness and death.

Yes Mr. Nelson is trying to put me out of business. That is exactly what is so scary about this article!

P.S. Gary Webbers rebuttal to this article was inaccurate also. He more or less said the experts didn't know what they were saying.

"It is appropriate that we talk about our efforts to feed the people of Iraq on National Agriculture Day. America's farmers and ranchers produce the most plentiful, affordable, and safest food anywhere in the world."

President Bush
3/21/03

Sorry Mike, but I'm siding with President Bush on this one (link below). My challenge to you is to do likewise.


http://www.useu.be/Categories/GlobalAffairs/Iraq/Mar2103VenemanFoodAid.html


Beefman

Upon further review, this quote came from former Ag Secretary Ann Venneman. She was referencing the Bush administration in a presentation.

I'll still stick with the comments of Secretary Venneman.

My apologies for the error.

Beefman
 

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Beefman, You can believe Ann if you want to.


Statistics: World Health Organization
"There are every year about 76 million foodborne illnesses in the (North American republic containing 50 states - 48 conterminous states in North America plus Alaska in northwest North America and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean) United States (26,000 cases for 100,000 inhabitants), 2 million in the (A monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles; divided into England and Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland) United Kingdom (3,400 cases for 100,000 inhabitants) and 750,000 in (A republic in western Europe; the largest country wholly in Europe) France (1,210 cases for 100,000 inhabitants)."
 

Mike

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Beefman - You still have not responded to the above statistics refuting your claim (GWB's and Ann's claim) that we have the safest food supply in the world.
 

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reader (the Second) said:
Beefman said:
Yes, Gary Webber's income comes from the beef industry. I appreciate his expertise and the fine manner he's represented our industry. Thankfully, he's able to address the media / consumers and adequately neuter those that so need it.
Beefman

That's a large overstatement. Webber has failed to neuter either the media or the consumer criticisms of USDA handling of BSE. It is NOT a criticism of beef or the beef industry to uncover lapses in protecting public health and ensuring food safety. In fact, you should be MORE incensed at this than most people since it endangers the beef/cattle industry.

I eat beef. I ignore the anti-meat folks. Who cares what they think? You're giving them more credit than they are due by spending time combatting them.

I do NOT ignore those who discuss BSE, hormones, or e coli and the best way to limit my exposure to diseases and sideeffects caused by underregulated and undersupervised agricultural and food handling practices, particularly to BSE.

reader 2, how can you say we in the cattle business are giving anti-beef activists more credit than due? You said earlier in another thread that many younger people are refusing to eat any beef that is not range grown. Do you believe they reached the conclusion that all other beef if unsafe in a vacuum? Various anti-meat groups have been indoctrinating school children for many years. We in the NCBA and other ag groups first noticed that in our childrens Weekly Reader back in the '70's. The "education" continues to this day and encompasses grade school through graduate school, from what parents of such students related.
Those people are well funded and are not going to give up their "cash cow" for bringing in the donations, as well as speaker and "consulting" fees.

Do you totally discount the influence of entrenched bureaucrats in USDA (and all other government agencies)? Can't you consider that by nature, such organizations with no real demerits for failure and no rewards for workers who produce above average work, are prone to mistakes? It really does seem logical that may be far more the case than any desire of entire departments conspiring to "help" corporate interests, or to "cover up" or to "not find BSE", for instance, than any of the conspiracy theorists would want to admit.

BTW, how does the incidence of e. coli illnesses today compare with two years ago and five years ago? Who would you guess led the charge in changing those statistics? What have "consumer groups" you champion done to change the statistics on food borne illnesses?

MRJ
 

mrj

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reader (the Second) said:
MRJ said:
reader (the Second) said:
That's a large overstatement. Webber has failed to neuter either the media or the consumer criticisms of USDA handling of BSE. It is NOT a criticism of beef or the beef industry to uncover lapses in protecting public health and ensuring food safety. In fact, you should be MORE incensed at this than most people since it endangers the beef/cattle industry.

I eat beef. I ignore the anti-meat folks. Who cares what they think? You're giving them more credit than they are due by spending time combatting them.

I do NOT ignore those who discuss BSE, hormones, or e coli and the best way to limit my exposure to diseases and sideeffects caused by underregulated and undersupervised agricultural and food handling practices, particularly to BSE.

reader 2, how can you say we in the cattle business are giving anti-beef activists more credit than due? You said earlier in another thread that many younger people are refusing to eat any beef that is not range grown. Do you believe they reached the conclusion that all other beef if unsafe in a vacuum? Various anti-meat groups have been indoctrinating school children for many years. We in the NCBA and other ag groups first noticed that in our childrens Weekly Reader back in the '70's. The "education" continues to this day and encompasses grade school through graduate school, from what parents of such students related.
Those people are well funded and are not going to give up their "cash cow" for bringing in the donations, as well as speaker and "consulting" fees.

Do you totally discount the influence of entrenched bureaucrats in USDA (and all other government agencies)? Can't you consider that by nature, such organizations with no real demerits for failure and no rewards for workers who produce above average work, are prone to mistakes? It really does seem logical that may be far more the case than any desire of entire departments conspiring to "help" corporate interests, or to "cover up" or to "not find BSE", for instance, than any of the conspiracy theorists would want to admit.

BTW, how does the incidence of e. coli illnesses today compare with two years ago and five years ago? Who would you guess led the charge in changing those statistics? What have "consumer groups" you champion done to change the statistics on food borne illnesses?

MRJ

Your and my conclusions about why young people are looking to healthier food will both be anecdotal. I grew up in California and can attest that there was a movement to healthier eating there when I was in college in the late 1960's but it had nothing to do with the groups NCBA is suspicious of. While I agree that these groups have had some impact, I think you seriously overestimate them. The organic food movement is pretty much grassroots from what I have observed and the organized lobbying came after the fact. I find the Weekly Reader reference funny! I'll accept that dietary habits are seriously reconsidered in college, but so are a lot of other things!

{reader 2, isn't it, at the least, a bit arrogant to rely only upon your own 'vast' experience in this matter as seems apparent here, while discounting totally the experiences of literally hundreds of thousands of NCBA members and affiliate members from across the nation and over a period of at least 30 years? MRJ}


Whatever the cause, the movement is broader and less fringe than the groups you guys are so worried about. The people I know who buy organic food, including organic meat, have never heard of or laugh at those groups. I have had a merry time myself teasing a vegan who worked for me. But I have been buying my food off and on from Whole Foods Market since the 1980s. Not for the organic so much as for the quality and the choices.

{Granted, the produce and some other products in organic markets may be fresher, produced more locally, or resemble 'home made' food, yet there are incidences of food borne illnesses from the manure fertilizers used to grow them. There are strong advertising programs by organic producers/markets claiming no residues in their beef, which seems deceptive because there are no residues allowed in any beef! How much testing has to be done to validate their claims of superior nutrition of healthful benefits of any organically produced food? Isn't it simply a perception? Certainly does raise the prices they rake in!

MRJ}

I agree that some of the USDA mishaps are simply normal government bureaucracy incompetence and not coverup. I do not jump on the coverup bandwagon when others do in my circles. Believe me I know exactly what you are talking about since I deal with the Government everyday. There are great civil servants and then there are well, civil servants.

However the policies, protocols, and the lack of directness about this issue are clearly driven from above and are economically and politically influenced. In addition, the inability or ?? unwillingness to address some of the egregious flaws in the system while making strong claims about how well the system is working in the media is pure high level political appointee bureaucratese. The USDA is derided by their fellow agencies for their contradictory statements and problematic policies. These are not simply caused by foot dragging of civil servants.

{Lots of accusations there without corroboration, IMO. What makes you so sure the "flaws" in the system are not being addressed within USDA? What business has any other government agency got pointing fingers at USDA? They all are riddled with bureaucratic bungling! That is the nature of bloated bureaucracies! If the system is so broken, why are the incidences of food borne illnesses declining at such a rapid pace? I know the members of NCBA, and some other beef producer organizations, have been working dilligently to put into place results driven efforts to cut incidences of e coli, lysteria, salmonella, and other root causes of those illnesses. USDA and packers and retailers have been part of that effort. And I might add, they have had impressive successes far earlier even than was hoped for. MRJ}
 

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