October 14, 2019

FDA Asking for Comment on Mad Cow Risk in Cow Parts

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking for comments on its rule for cow parts that may be used to make human products. The interim rule, "Use of Materials Derived from Cattle in Human Food and Cosmetics" was published in 2005. It would allow the use of some cattle-derrived material, but prohibits the use of materials that can carry the infectious agent for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. The rule was based on research that showed that part of the cow's digestive tract called the distal ileum, which is a reservoir for BSE, can be safely removed from other parts of the small intestine. ┬áThat meant that the entire small intestine was no longer designated as "prohibited cattle material" and other parts could be used to make products for human … [Read more...]

House’s Butchering Recalls All Beef Produced in 2011 and 2012

House's Butchering LLC in Ohio is recalling all beef slaughtered from 2011 to 2012 because they may contain spinal cord and vertebral column materials.┬áThe beef is classified as a "low health risk" by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, but the USDA also says that "product containing spinal cord tissue is not allowed to be called meat." In fact, those tissues are called "Specified Risk Materials" and can harbor the infectious agent that causes Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also called Mad Cow Disease. Products recalled include "all beef slaughtered and processed at House's Butchering LLC from January 1, 2011 to December 28, 2012. The products may have the Ohio Department of Agriculture mark of inspection and "Est. 54" within the symbol outline of Ohio. The products … [Read more...]

Japan Eases Cattle Restrictions on U.S. Imports

The Japanese government decided yesterday to ease restrictions it has placed on U.S. beef imports. Restrictions put in place in 2006 that partially opened the markets did not allow the import of beef from cattle older than 20 months; the industry standard is 30 months. The agreement, dated January 25, 2013, requires that the U.S. must "meet or exceed" World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines to be considered controlled risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). In addition, U.S. meat establishments should be certified as eligible to export meat to Japan, and the Japanese government may conduct on-site audits of the U.S. inspection system. In 2003, Japan banned U.S. beef completely after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Washington state in 2003. Secretary … [Read more...]

Brazil Kept Mad Cow Case Secret Since 2010

A report released on December 6, 2012 showed that Brazil was the 26th country to report an incidence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly called Mad Cow Disease. The USDA assumed that country did not have any BSE cases, so the mitigations that should have been applied to Brazilian beef imports were not. The report states that the animal did not die from the disease, and that it may have been atypical BSE, which occurs in older animals. Brazilian authorities blame an "overloaded system" as the cause of a two year delay for the test. BSE was suspected when the cow died in December 2010, and one primary test was negative. But a second primary test was not done until June 2012; that was positive. Another test of the brain sample was conducted in the United Kingdom; that was … [Read more...]

Wisconsin Firm Recalls Beef Tongue; May be BSE Risk

Black Earth Meat Market Inc. of Wisconsin is recalling 99 pounds of beef tongue product because they may not have had the tonsils completely removed. This is against the law according to the USDA, because tonsils are a specific risk material that can contain the infective agent in cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow disease. The product subject to recall is various size cases of Black Earth Meats Natural Beef Tongues and Black Earth Meats Local Beef Tongues produced on October 8, 11, 17, and 18, 2012. The products have the number Est. 34379 inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were distributed to a restaurant in Wisconsin and a distributor in Illinois. The problem was discovered during a routine Food Safety Assessment at the … [Read more...]

Republican Legislators Ask USDA to Reopen Central Valley Meat

Three Republican legislators from California have written to the USDA, asking them to reopen Central Valley Meat Company, which was closed this week for egregious abuse of animals. The facility was closed after an undercover video shot by Compassion Over Killing showed downed animals being repeatedly shot with bolt guns and abused. The facility is closed while the USDA investigates the abuse and whether any of the downer animals entered the nation's food supply. The letter states that the legislators want the facility reopened "in order to relieve the plight of its hard-working employees who need to provide for their families." Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, and Jeff Denham all signed the letter. Nunes said that the video was "posted by extremists who are actively working to undermine … [Read more...]

USDA Releases Final Report on April Mad Cow Discovery

The USDA has issued its final report on the investigation into bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), popularly known as Mad Cow disease, on a California dairy cow in April 2012. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked with the FDA, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and local officials on the investigation. The investigation included on-the-ground investigations, records review from the rendering facility, the farm and associated premises, and traceback for progeny of the affected cow. The agencies have concluded that "at no time was the U.S. food supply or human health at risk, and that the United States' longstanding system of interlocking safeguards against BSE continues to be effective." The animal was never slaughtered for human … [Read more...]

Mad Cow Disease Spreads in Nervous System Before Detection

A new study in the American Journal of Pathology has shown that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as "mad cow" disease", spreads in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to the central nervous system (CNS) before it can be detected. Mad cow is a fatal disease in cattle that can be transmitted to humans who eat infected tissue. There isn't much that scientists know about the spread of the BSE prion in its early incubation period. Other studies have reported that the autonomic nervous system was affected only after the central nervous system is infected. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary actions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and the functions of major organs. It consists of the sympathetic ANS, the parasymphathetic ANS, and the enteric nervous … [Read more...]

USDA Lifts BSE Quarantine on California Dairies

The USDA's Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) has lifted a quarantine placed on two California dairy farms after a cow was diagnosed positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), popularly known as "mad cow disease", in April 2012. The animal was the country's fourth case of BSE. The USDA's National Veterinary Services Labs tested the brain samples from the cow and sent them to the World Health Organization for Animal Health labs in England and Canada. Those labs confirmed the diagnosis of atypical BSE. The government studied the feed records at the quarantined dairies and found no link between the animal feed and the disease. The USDA's statement said that "audits of all the feed suppliers to the index premises have shown them to be in compliance with the … [Read more...]

Missouri House Passes Ag-Gag Bill

The Missouri House of Representatives has passed H.B. 1860 on a vote of 108-32. The bill would make it a crime to record undercover pictures and videos on factory farms. Animal rights organizations have used these methods to expose animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions on farms and in slaughterhouses. Now it's up to the Missouri Senate. A Senate committee will hear the bill this week and is expected to recommend approval. The full Senate may vote on the bill later this week. Similar bills were passed in Iowa and Utah this year and was signed into law by the governors of those states, despite whistleblower statutes that are codified into law in the United States. The Missouri bill would create two new "crimes" in that state. "Agricultural Production Facility Fraud" would make it a … [Read more...]

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