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Worldwide Questioning of USDA

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BEEF NEWS
USDA's BSE test protocols spur worldwide rumblings

by Pete Hisey on 6/28/2005 for Meatingplace.com


Taiwan snapped its border shut to U.S. beef hours after Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that a false-negative test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy had been confirmed as positive by a British laboratory. Japan's initial reaction was moderate, but after discovering more details about the evidently bungled testing protocols USDA has used, demanded full records of the tests that took place last fall.

Meanwhile, leading U.S. newspapers published scathing attacks on USDA for, among other things, mingling the parts of the suspect animal with parts from other animals from different herds; freezing the remains, which makes detection more difficult; and failing to order the most definitive test on the market, the Western blot test.

But the blockbuster came from the New York Times, which reported on Sunday that USDA had actually received a positive result from an experimental test protocol, but chose not to report that result. "Until Friday, it was not public knowledge that an 'experimental' test had been performed by an Agriculture Department laboratory on the brain of a cow suspected of having mad cow disease, and the test had come up positive," the newspaper reported. USDA claimed that this result was never reported to Washington from the laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

Taiwan reinstitutes beef ban, Japan demands details

Taiwan Premier Frank Hsieh immediately ordered an end to imports of American beef upon hearing the report about the positive test of the animal, now believed to be a beef animal from Texas. He said, however, that existing supplies of U.S. beef could continue to be sold.

Members of Taiwan's parliament immediately launched a lawsuit against the country's health department chief, Hou Sheng-Mao, demanding that he remove the U.S. beef from the marketplace.

"Hou was suspected of using his authority to benefit U.S. beef importers and markets," one legislator said. Another demanded that Hou resign immediately.

If it turns out that the latest reported case of BSE involves an animal born in the U.S., Japan says "the planned resumption of U.S. beef imports will likely be delayed," Asia Pulse reported Monday.

Japan plans to demand full details about the animal and USDA testing procedures, the news service said. Japanese officials had initially said that the discovery made no difference in their deliberations, since they expected at least a handful of cases would be found eventually in the U.S. herd.

U.S. will change testing protocols, reconsider surveillance strategy

In an Associated Press interview, Dr. John Clifford, USDA's chief veterinarian, said that test results were delayed because the animal in question was misidentified by breed, perhaps due to feces discoloring its hide, and its body parts were mixed with remains of other cattle. When USDA initially tried to trace the animal, the farmer said that it couldn't be his, because he raised a different breed of cattle. USDA believes it has now identified the animal's home herd and is using DNA testing on presumed herd mates to confirm that.

Johanns said that in light of the testing failure, USDA will consult with international and U.S. authorities to develop a more effective set of protocols, probably involving the Western blot test to settle any ambiguous situations. He also said that in light of the discovery of what is presumed to be a native animal, the department will reconsider its plan to scale back surveillance testing of high-risk animals. Several critics have suggested that USDA begin checking younger, asymptomatic cattle as well as older, symptomatic animals to get a true picture of the prevalence of BSE in the herd.

Johanns said that Inspector General Phyllis Fong ordered the retests with the Western blot three weeks ago without his knowledge, and he was unaware of the testing until it was underway. The day before the initial positive result was reported, on June 9, Johanns was asked by Meatingplace.com why the department refused to use the Western blot. Johanns replied that, despite the previous policy that called the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test the "gold standard" in BSE testing, there are "two gold standards," but USDA had decided to go with IHC testing for consistency's sake. In December 2003, when the first U.S. case of BSE was detected, USDA used the Western blot to confirm it.
 

Murgen

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Good post STAFF, no mention of you tracking these heads, that's good!
 

ranchwife

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STAFF said:
THE dancing has got to stop and heads need to role.The sooner the better.

Yessireeeee!!! For the sake of cattle ranchers EVERYWHERE and for consumers EVERYWHERE!!!!!
 

Bill

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The worldwide questioning didn't just begin this week!
 

mrj

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While the conspiracies and witch hunts roll on in the USA, Taiwans consumers hit the shops big time to buy up all the US beef when rumors started preceding the "ban" on US beef imports.

MRJ
 

Bill

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MRJ said:
While the conspiracies and witch hunts roll on in the USA, Taiwans consumers hit the shops big time to buy up all the US beef when rumors started preceding the "ban" on US beef imports.

MRJ
I don't know about witch hunts but someone darn sure has some heavy duty explaining to do.
 

PORKER

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THIS STATEMENT SAYS IT ALL****Johanns said that Inspector General Phyllis Fong ordered the retests with the Western blot three weeks ago without his knowledge, and he was unaware of the testing until it was underway. The day before the initial positive result was reported, on June 9, Johanns was asked by Meatingplace.com why the department refused to use the Western blot. Johanns replied that, despite the previous policy that called the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test the "gold standard" in BSE testing, there are "two gold standards," but USDA had decided to go with IHC testing for consistency's sake. In December 2003, when the first U.S. case of BSE was detected, USDA used the Western blot to confirm it.
 

Murgen

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but USDA had decided to go with IHC testing for consistency's sake

Is this the same IHC test that showed the cow to be positive when the test was done in the UK?
 

PORKER

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The last count I read that their were 8 profiles of IHC testing.Which one does Canada USE?????????????
 

Mike

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Murgen said:
The same as Weybridge, which one does the US use?

Be more specific Murgen! Weybridge uses several antibodies, from different animals. Which ones do Canada use? Which ones do Japan use? How about the Swiss? Truth is you have no idea what the hell is involved in testing.
Go to bed. You're making an ass out of yourself. :roll:
 

Murgen

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Good advice Mike, maybe you should give the same advice to some when they start posting at 10-am.
 

S.S.A.P.

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Mikey .... a snip from a Reuters article previously posted here at ranchers

...... The USDA said it will change the way it runs the "gold standard" immunohistochemistry (IHC) confirmatory test, and add a second type of test called Western Blot to its regimen.

Those are tools that Canada is using already, said Darcy Undseth, a senior veterinarian at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. .....

.....The USDA had used only one antibody, but Canada has been constantly adjusting the antibodies it uses in consultation with the Weybridge lab, Undseth said.

"We have a panel of antibodies, and we use usually nine or 10 antibodies," he (Undseth - CFIA) said.
 

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