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Bill

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Courtesy of the Washington Post

Agency Fought Retesting of Infected Cow

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 3, 2006; Page A07

Agriculture Department officials overruled field scientists' recommendation to retest an animal that was suspected of harboring mad cow disease last year because they feared a positive finding would undermine confidence in the agency's testing procedures, the department's inspector general said yesterday.

After protests from the inspector general, the specimen was sent to England for retesting and produced the nation's second confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.

The incident was described in an audit report assessing the department's surveillance program for the disease.

The report details why scientists at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories concluded that a sample from a Texas animal should be tested with other techniques following initial inconclusive findings. It adds that top officials at the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) told them not to do the additional tests.

When officials from the inspector general's office met with the head of APHIS, they were told that the protocol followed by the agency was the international "gold standard" and nothing more was needed, the report adds. Nonetheless, the sample was later sent to England for a different set of tests and was found to have the mad cow infection.

The report also found that although there was no evidence that infected meat had made it into the human food chain, the USDA surveillance system did not collect the information needed to say whether slaughterhouses were following all mad cow-related regulations. In nine of 12 facilities visited, the report said, inadequate recordkeeping made it impossible to know whether proper procedures were being followed.
"As a result, should serious animal disease be detected in the United States, USDA's ability to quickly determine and trace the source of infections to prevent the spread of disease could be impaired," the report said.

In a statement, USDA food safety administrator Barbara J. Masters said officials have taken steps to better enforce the rules and have reached agreement with the inspector general on most issues. "FSIS is confident it is successfully carrying out its mission to protect public health by strictly enforcing safeguards," she said.

The discovery of two cases of mad cow disease in American animals caused many nations to ban American beef, but some have resumed shipments.

Mad cow is a degenerative nerve disease in cattle that, in rare cases, has been passed to humans, who develop a fatal brain disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
 

Econ101

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They don't have to with stories like this hitting the newspaper. Is that your point?
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Econ101 said:
They don't have to with stories like this hitting the newspaper. Is that your point?


The point is econ is that R-CALF did take out news paper ads claiming that Canadian beef was tainted Yada yada and now Bill is wondering if R-CALF is going to warn the US consumer about the "TAINTED " USA beef.
 

Econ101

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Econ101 said:
They don't have to with stories like this hitting the newspaper. Is that your point?


The point is econ is that R-CALF did take out news paper ads claiming that Canadian beef was tainted Yada yada and now Bill is wondering if R-CALF is going to warn the US consumer about the "TAINTED " USA beef.

BMR, if we don't truthfully go after BSE in a scientific way, and that includes having the economic incentives for compensation to "innocents" like the Canadians who had the breeding stock, we are going to screw up the cattle industry. You Canadians already experienced this. Don't think it will not be played out in the U.S. also.

You can be for the beef industry and be for getting at the truth at the same time that might hurt the industry in the short run. Getting rid of ANY disease or pathogen may have short term costs. The packers just don't want to give up using the MBM in feed formulas (poultry) because it makes them more competitive. That is why some of these loopholes have not been tied up. SH has already admitted that the use of offal (and hides) had a large impact on the competitiveness of some of the larger players. It is an integral part of their market concentration strategy and the USDA and Canadian counterparts are going along. It hurts the smaller competitors that want a piece of the action. The vertical integration of using these waste products is being used against the start ups.

BSE economics was used in closing the Canadian border and some of you Canadians have not gotten over that. The USDA closed that border and kept it closed. Rcalf had little to do with that part of the deal, and yet some of you guys seem to want to suck up to the USDA and their policies (and Cargill/Tyson) to keep your borders open.

I see the problem. I just don't want to continue to give the packers all the power. They are abusing that power against the avg. producer with their workings in the USDA.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Econ said'BMR, if we don't truthfully go after BSE in a scientific way, and that includes having the economic incentives for compensation to "innocents" like the Canadians who had the breeding stock, we are going to screw up the cattle industry. You Canadians already experienced this. Don't think it will not be played out in the U.S. also. "

Well Econ the truth is used by R-CALF is used hard then put away wet.
 

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