4/20
2004

ISSUE:
114

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FDA outlines dietary supplement enforcement plan

source from: IFT Daily News
www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml

4/20/2004-Speaking before the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) and the American Society for Nutritional Sciences on April 19, Lester M. Crawford, Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), outlined the agency's science-based approach to protecting American consumers from unsafe dietary supplements. Crawford said the agency would soon provide further details about its plan to ensure that the consumer protection provisions of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) are used effectively and appropriately. Through DSHEA, which sets up a distinct regulatory framework for dietary supplement products, Congress attempted to strike a balance between providing consumers access to dietary supplements and giving FDA regulatory authority to act against supplements or supplement ingredients that present safety problems, are marketed with false or misleading claims, or are otherwise adulterated or misbranded.
"FDA is absolutely committed to protecting consumers from misleading claims and unsafe products," said Dr. Crawford. "Unlike most foods, some dietary supplements are pharmacologically active. And we have seen over the last 10 years a huge growth in the dietary supplements industry, including the introduction of products that seem far removed from the vitamins and minerals of the pre-DSHEA days. We have become increasingly aware of the potential health problems some of these products pose."
According to Crawford, in the last 6 months, FDA has inspected 180 domestic dietary supplement manufacturers; sent 119 warning letters to dietary supplement distributors; refused entry to 1,171 foreign shipments of dietary supplements; and seized or supervised voluntary destruction of almost $18 million worth of mislabeled or adulterated products. In March FDA requested that 23 companies cease distributing dietary supplements containing androstenedione, which are marketed to stimulate testosterone and muscle growth but have anabolic steroid effects in the body. Over the next several months FDA will provide additional information to explain and implement the tools available to the agency under DSHEA to act against unsafe supplements and false or misleading supplement labeling claims. FDA is also developing regulations for industry on good manufacturing practices (GMPs). When finalized, this rule, proposed last spring, will help protect consumers from dietary supplements that contain impurities or contaminants as a result of how they are manufactured or handled.
FDA is, in addition, putting dietary supplement labeling under closer scrutiny. Dietary supplement labels cannot claim the supplement will treat or cure a disease, and since December 2002 FDA has worked with the Federal Trade Commission to challenge false claims of supplement effectiveness for treating a range of diseases. For more information, see the FDA Press Release.

NCBA pans Creekstone's media offensive

by Daniel Yovich on 4/20/04
for meatingplace.com
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association fired the latest salvo Monday in the increasingly pitched battle being played in the national media spotlight, throwing its support fully behind the Agriculture Department's decision not to allow Creekstone Farms to have all of its beef tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Just one day after the New York Times criticized the largest players in the industry, its lobbyists and the Agriculture Department for their opposition to Creekstone Farms' plan on its editorial page ?in addition to running a feature story chronicling the Arkansas City, Kan.-based processor's fight with USDA ?NCBA President Jan Lyons said Creekstone's efforts only serve to impose economic stress on producers and "undermine consumer confidence" in a safe product.

"Testing of all cattle is not scientifically justified. The world's leading experts in animal health and risk analysis, including the World Organization for Animal Health and the USDA's International Review Team, have agreed that testing all cattle does not provide additional protection for consumers," Lyons said. "The International Review Team report commissioned by USDA states, 'the subcommittee considers testing of all cattle slaughtered for human consumption to be unjustified in terms of protecting human and animal health.'"

On Sunday night, ABC News broadcast a story on Creekstone's efforts. Last week, the Washington Post published a lengthy story outlining the company's failed efforts to win USDA approval for 100 percent testing of its product. That testing would have allowed the company to ship its product to Japanese customers, despite that country's import ban on U.S. beef enacted after the Dec. 23 discovery of a single Washington state cow with BSE.

Is that your final answer?

Creekstone CEO John Stewart told Meatingplace.com that he does not consider the issue resolved. Stewart said he is gaining confidence that USDA may review its decision not to allow the company to test in the wake of increased media attention to the issue. Stewart also noted the support building for the company's efforts from state agriculture officials and smaller producers and said the company is receiving telephone calls from congressional staffers seeking background on the issue.

"I think ?I'm hopeful, anyway ?that we might see USDA rethink their position on this," Stewart said. "We are getting support from across the country, and I think the volume of that support hasn't been lost on USDA."

NCBA's Lyons also noted on Monday that Creekstone's efforts to conduct 100 percent testing "can disrupt negotiations that are ongoing right now with Japan." However, those efforts may already have been complicated, if not derailed, by a letter penned last week by former Kansas Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker, the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Japan, who asked Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to consider reversing the agency's position on voluntary total testing.

"At this time in our critical export markets we need to get behind all the best marketing tools we can," Kassebaum Baker said in the letter.

Creekstone officials argue that the testing plan would, in effect, be a marketing tool, and that they believe it would not put other processors at a disadvantage with domestic consumers, an argument supported by Kassebaum Baker.

USDA's gamble

USDA appears to be making some progress in its efforts to pry open at least some of the more than 50 markets that closed their borders to U.S. beef in the wake of the December BSE discovery. Mexico has already relaxed much of its beef ban, and China is expected to ease a portion of its ban this week.

Undersecretary J.B. Penn will head to Japan April 24 and 25 for renewed talks on the beef ban, and said during a Friday news conference that he was "optimistic that if we are sitting across the table and we are discussing issues, that we have some opportunity to make some progress.

"Internationally recognized scientific standards must be the guidepost for food safety and trade decisions. Allowing private companies to use testing as a 'marketing' tool, before the government first establishes the framework for trade based upon science, will place undue costs on cattlemen without producing additional protections for consumers and our animal herds. Resources spent on this unwarranted effort will take resources away from efforts that do improve the safety of our food supply and the health of our cattle."

AAAAI: Seafood allergies more popular than peanuts; more care needed
By Terry Murray
http://www.medicalpost.com/

SAN FRANCISCO A new survey suggests 2.3% of North Americans are allergic to seafood more than twice the rate of peanut allergy.

The figure came from a telephone survey of more than 5,500 U.S. households, representing almost 15,000 Americans.

The figures are likely comparable in Canada, according to Anne Mu?z-Furlong, who presented the data at the AAAAI meeting here.

Although the survey relied on self-report, participants were counted as allergic only if they said the condition had been diagnosed by a physician or if they could provide a convincing history of allergy.

The survey responses revealed reactions to any type of seafood in 0.6% of children (younger than 18 years) and 2.8% of adults, said Mu?z-Furlong, founder and CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), a patient advocacy group based in Fairfax, Va. Her colleagues included researchers at the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

A closer look showed 0.4% of all reactions were to fish, 2% to shellfish and 0.2% to both, or 2.3% overall.

The most common fin-fish culprits were salmon, tuna and halibut, and the leading causes of shellfish allergy were shrimp, crab and lobster.

Well over half of respondents who were allergic to both kinds of seafood said they'd had recurrent and severe reactions, said Mu?z-Furlong.

Only 55% of the fish-allergic and 40% of the shellfish-allergic respondents had sought medical attention for their reactions, and far fewer only 15% sed epinephrine.

"Individuals often believe they can simply avoid the food," Mu?z-Furlong told a news conference.

"However, study after study shows us that in spite of best efforts at avoidance, accidental ingestion is common."

She urged doctors to ask about food allergy, and particularly seafood allergy, and prescribe auto-injectable epinephrine for allergic patients.

At the same time, Mu?z-Furlong announced that FAAN had launched a seafood allergy registry to allow scientists to learn more about seafood allergies. However, the registry is open to U.S. residents only.

Microbiologists characterise DNA in bacteria responsible for food poisoning

source from:
http://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/

Research suggests up to one-fifth of all food poisoning outbreaks worldwide may be caused by Bacillus cereus.

19/04/2004 Microbiologists at James Cook University have characterised the DNA in bacteria responsible for one of the world`s most common forms of food poisoning.

The bacteria, which cause millions of violent vomiting cases each year, are only one genetic step removed from anthrax.

Using a powerful molecular method, JCU postgraduate student Paul Horwood has identified the gene in Bacillus cereus that enables this tiny microbe to manufacture the toxin cereulide using the starch in rice.

Research suggests up to one-fifth of all food poisoning outbreaks worldwide may be caused by Bacillus cereus. It is responsible for two distinct food poisoning syndromes: one causes acute nausea and vomiting (the emetic syndrome) and the other diarrhoea.

The emetic syndrome is commonly associated with rice and now, thanks to the JCU project, scientists can detect the cause and carry out structured surveys to accurately define the prevalence of this form of food poisoning. It all comes down to a gene that ultimately may enable rice companies to identify contaminated rice before it even goes to market.

Dr Graham Burgess, who co-supervised Mr Horwood`s PhD studies in JCU`s microbiology and immunology program, says Bacillus cereus produce enzymes that pull amino-acids out of the starchy rice substrate and link them together to build cereulide.

The JCU research has also established that Bacillus cereus have similar genes to Bacillus anthracis, which makes anthrax, and Bacillus thuringiensis, used as a pesticide on food crops because it kills insects.

Bacillus cereus food poisoning is common in Asian countries due to the large amounts of rice consumed, but toxic strains of the bacteria are found worldwide.

There is potential for the JCU findings to be commercialised by companies wanting to test rice batches for toxic bacteria.

Dr Burgess said the extremely small size of the toxin cereulide has made it difficult up until now to produce a reliable toxin detection method. Cell culture methods have been labour-intensive, inaccurate and too subjective.

The project was funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and the Ricegrowers Cooperative.

http://www.news-medical.net/view_article.asp?id=558

National Farmers Union backs Creekstone

by Daniel Yovich on 4/15/04 for Meatingplace.com


The National Farmers Union is voicing support for Creekstone Farms' efforts to force the Agriculture Department to reverse itself and allow the Arkansas City, Kan.-based processor to test all of its cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy and regain access to international beef markets.

"The Japanese and other trading partners have indicated a willingness to lift their ban on U.S. beef exports if specific testing protocols are in place," said NFU President Dave Frederickson. "We find it troubling that the USDA has denied Creekstone Farms the opportunity to meet the wishes of an important customer and regain access to the Japanese market. This decision prevents excellent marketing opportunities for farmer-owned beef cooperatives and other small processors of quality U.S.-grown beef."

In an April 14 letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, Frederickson urged USDA to reconsider its decision last week not to allow Creekstone to test for the brain wasting disease, noting that requirements for international trade are not always based upon science. Japan and more than 50 other countries closed their borders to U.S. beef after a Washington state cow was found to have BSE in December. Japan alone demands that all beef considered for export to that country be tested for BSE.

"Without taking measures to satisfy the needs of our international beef customers, we cannot expect to regain the full value of our export market or reopen the foreign markets now closed to our products," Frederickson wrote. "While 'sound science' is often recited as rationale to not test all processed animals for BSE, we must recognize that international trade is not based purely on scientific standards."

The National Farmers Union says it is a general farm organization with a membership of nearly 250,000 farm and ranch families throughout the United States. During the farm organization's 102nd anniversary convention in March, NFU members adopted a policy statement urging USDA and other federal agencies to allow beef processors to conduct BSE tests that meet international testing standards.

"It is our hope that USDA will do its part to re-establish international trade for U.S. cattle and beef products by reversing its Creekstone Farm decision and implementing mandatory country-of-origin food labeling," Frederickson said.

Current USDA/FDA NEWS
Draft Rapid Determination of Perchlorate Anion in Lettuce, Milk and in Bottled Water
Dr. Lester M. Crawford Outlines Science-Based Plan for Dietary Supplement Enforcement
Cattle from Australia and New Zealand: Testing exemptions
Need to complete new registration form
Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program Draft Final Guidelines
OPPD (Policy) What's New Page: Updated April 16, 2004
Bioterrorism Outreach Meetings For Asia
FSIS: Compliance Guidelines For Establishments Regarding Escherichia coli O157:H7
Safety and Quality of Fresh and Frozen Shellfish Exported From the ROK to the USA
Prior Notice of Imported Food Under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness

Current Outbreaks
04/20. Food poisoning leaves woman dead
04/20. Poisonous food leaves 115 people sick in northwest China pro
04/19. Fake milk powder kills dozens of babies in central China: re
04/16. Food poisoning fells 7 at police academy
04/16. Eight cases confirmed in a salmonella outbreak
04/16. Seventy-four down by poisoned food in NW. China province

04/13. Health officials say a Mendon woman died of rare brain illne
04/09. Four siblings in Vietnam die after eating poisonous mushroom
04/08. BANGLADESH: Diarrhoea cases on the rise
04/08. Llanelli stars recover from food poisoning
04/06. JUST THE TONIC!
04/05. Man dies after cholera outbreak
04/05. Department baffled by source of cholera
04/04. Phelps back in the water after suspected case of food poisoning

Current New Methods
04/19. New RiboPrinter¢ç Software Allows Compliance with 21 CFR Part 11 for Electronic
04/19. DoD Awards Portable Water Purification System to Remove Chemical & Biological
04/19. New W-Zip Pouches for Oxoid Compact Atmosphere Generation Kits
04/18. E.nose helps food industry smell the cost-benefits
04/17. UB scientist dips into past for new way to clean water
04/16. Water supply safety
04/15. Two new tests for detecting ractopamine
04/15. New tests created to detect feed additive

04/14. Method of vaccination of newly hatched poultry
04/14. Detecting metal through packaging
04/13. USDA licenses three more rapid BSE tests
04/13. Relax, Brown County customers ?Manitowoc plant is equipped
04/13. GENE-TRAK Listeria Microwell Test Receives AOAC Validation
04/13. Tests show 'good bugs' could prevent food poisoning
04/12. Microbial Monitoring and ISO 14698
04/12. New W-Zip Pouches for Oxoid Compact Atmosphere Generation Kits
04/12. World's Most Precise Colony Counter at Analytica

Current Food Safety Informaiton
04/20. Meat fashions
04/20. Food-safety website a hit with public
04/20. Cooking with caution
04/20. Safefood¡¯s ¡°Suzie Moo¡± launches kids¡¯ farm safety advice
04/20. Brazil labels GM food
04/20. FDA outlines dietary supplement enforcement plan
04/20. Osaka police investigate alleged beef buyback fraud
04/20. NCBA pans Creekstone's media offensive
04/20. FSIS to open new biosafety facility
04/20. National surveillance system for travel-acquired enteric dis
04/20. Byrne backs new regime
04/20. United States to Allow Bone-In Beef from Canada
04/20. FSIS Issues Compliance Guidelines for Directive 10,010.1, Re
04/20. Study participants didn't react to milk from non-kosher anim
04/20. AAAAI: Seafood allergies more popular than peanuts; more car
04/20. AAAAI: Peanut allergens not a problem in schools
04/20. Fries Under Fire For Cancer Link
04/20. FDA May Significantly Widen Mad Cow Proposal
04/20. Mad cow testing splits cattlemen
04/20. Cantwell Pushes Bush on Mad Cow Rules
04/20. Debate over BSE self-testing in US
04/20. Editorial: Water maintenance
04/20. NCBA: Testing All Cattle for BSE Not Scientifically Justifie
04/20. Case for downgrade of BSE risk status
04/20. FSAI launches Chinese hygiene improvement scheme
04/20. FDA May Act on Ephedra Substitutes, Others

04/19. BC-mad
04/19. A strange ban on testing beef
04/19. Agency may allow BSE testing: Alberta vet questions costs, w
04/19. Protectionist BS on BSE: Universal testing is the only way t
04/19. U.S. cracks open the door to let in Canadian beef: Move rais
04/19. Beef industry too reliant on live exports: report
04/19. Slaughterhouse will test all cattle for mad cow
04/19. Newspaper: Japan May Ease Test Requirements
04/19. New GMO Standard for Canada
04/19. Meat Ban Breaking
04/19. FSIS issues new contamination directive

04/18. USDA: Creekstone offered compromise in BSE testing dispute
04/18. Microbiologists characterise DNA in bacteria responsible for
04/18. European GM rules now in force
04/18. Managing traceability information
04/18. EU Biotech Labeling and Traceability Requirements “Will Be A
04/18. Allergy-free cooking -- Author tweaks recipes to mimic ¡®norm
04/18. More beef crossing border
04/18. Let meatpacker test more if he wants to

04/17. Blaine meat company loses food license
04/17. Family wins E.coli suit
04/17. European group says Monsanto maize safe for humans
04/17. Viewpoints from the US
04/17. Cosmetic not to be eaten
04/17. Baby food jar that's older than the baby

04/16. EU's New Rules Will Shake Up Market for Bioengineered Food
04/16. Company's Mad Cow Tests Blocked
04/16. Comprehensive review of campylobacter and poultry processing
04/16. Agency response to lasalocid report from the Soil Associatio
04/16. S.T.O.P., Coalition opposes effort to gut downed cattle ban
04/16. Safe food in an EU of 25 member states: Final steps towards
04/16. Diagnosis and management of foodborne illnesses: A primer fo
04/16. Meat Hygiene Directives
04/16. Local health unit No. 1: Unit tops in province for food safe
04/16. Tyson Foods Establishes University of Arkansas Chair in Food
04/16. EU adopts new GM food regulations
04/16. Canadian co-op plans to test all its cattle for BSE
04/16. Japan could move this summer from total testing demand
04/16. Like Iraq, aftermath of BSE worse than 'outbreak'
04/16. Tracing the food chain
04/16. EU Biotech Labeling and Traceability Requirements “Will Be A
04/16. A new name in research
04/16. Senators say the government has to step up efforts on mad co
04/16. Mad cow report proposals dismissed
04/16. Looking at the overall picture of agriculture
04/16. Provincial vet stands by BSE test
04/16. Strain of Salmonella Resistant to Ciprofloxacin and Ceftriax
04/16. THE BSE CRISIS - LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE

04/15. US Meat Firm Eyes Japan BSE Tests To Resume Exports-Kyodo
04/15. Voluntary standard for labelling of genetically engineered f
04/15. Food Safety Summit Attendance Up 37 Percent, Exhibits Grow A
04/15. EU Gives Food Safety Go-Ahead to New States
04/15. EU: EU tries to debunk food myths ahead of enlargement
04/15. EU: New member states on course to meet food safety standard
04/15. Report looks at the nutritional and safety assessment of bio
04/15. U.S. ambassador's wife seeks USDA reversal on Creekstone
04/15. State ag officials may be heading for BSE testing split with
04/15. R-CALF threatens USDA with lawsuit over opening Canadian bo
04/15. National Farmers Union backs Creekstone
04/15. Celiac disease forces sufferers to find other food choices
04/15. Japan official: Blanket mad cow tests to continue
04/15. U.S., Japan to Meet on Mad Cow Beef Ban
04/15. Processor Questions USDA
04/15. Senate report recommends special NAFTA panel deal with futur
04/15. Agroterrorism not a new weapon
04/15. Spain has reported its 33rd case of BSE
04/15. Bayer Urged to Withdraw Enrofloxacin
04/15. One big pizza
04/15. Europeans' trust in food highest for fruits and vegetables,
04/15. Green MEPs take on food safety
04/15. Sealing Three Unclean Eateries Sends Stern Warning To Operat -

Current Recall Information

New GMO Standard for Canada
source from: http://www.meatnews.com/
Voluntary standard for labeling of genetically engineered foods becomes national standard.

The Standards Council of Canada has adopted new rules for genetically modified foods as part of the National Standard of Canada. The Canadian government said that this means consumers could start to see more labels on some food ingredients and food items indicating whether or not they are a product of genetic engineering.

Adoption of the voluntary standard is the result of a thorough development and approval process - through a multi-stakeholder committee - facilitated by the Canadian General Standards Board and started in 1999.

The process was reviewed by the Standards Council of Canada, the body that administers Canada National Standards System. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and Health Canada were among the six federal departments that participated in the process for the development of the voluntary standard.

“The CGSB and the consumer groups and industry groups that participated in the Committee should be commended for doing an excellent job and working through a number of challenging issues, Agriculture and Agri-food Minister Bob Speller said. “This is an important step and I believe that this standard will help respond to consumer demand by developing meaningful criteria for the labeling of foods derived through biotechnology.
commend the Committee members the numerous producer, consumer, and other organizations, as well as representatives of six federal departments ?for committing a tremendous amount of time and effort into the development of a workable voluntary labeling standard, Doryne Peace, chair of the Committee on Voluntary Labeling of Foods Obtained or Not Obtained Through Genetic Modification, added.

o solution will please everyone, but this standard represents a broad consensus on the part of consumer groups, farmers, industry, and government. It sets a framework for meaningful claims about the presence or absence of genetically engineered food ingredients. As a voluntary standard, the speed at which labeling appears in the marketplace will ultimately be driven by the importance of the issue to consumers,?Jeanne Cruikshank, vice president, Atlantic Region, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, stated. Her organization sponsored the initiative. The standard for voluntary labeling is intended to provide further guidance for food companies and manufacturers, which could help consumers make food choices.

Comprehensive review of campylobacter and poultry processing
April 2004
Institute of Food Technologists - Vol. 3 Issue 4
The complete document can be viewed from:
http://www.ift.org/pdfs/crfsfs/crfsfsv3n2p0105-0116ms20030509.pdf
K.M. Keener, M.P. Bashor, P.A. Curtis, B.W. Sheldon, S. Kathariou
Complete article - p 105-116 (Download PDF - 448kb)

S.T.O.P., Coalition opposes effort to gut downed cattle ban
April 14, 2004
Safe Tables Our Priority - S.T.O.P.
http://www.SafeTables.org
Please find below and attached a letter that has been sent to all members of Congress and the USDA
We hope the USDA will give strong consideration to the attached letter,
which is highly relevant to the interim final rule regarding
Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle, Docket #03-025IF. The 19 national
organizations co-signing this letter collectively have more than 13
million supporters and represent consumer, sustainable agriculture, and
animal welfare concerns, as well as the interests of those whose
families have been victimized by CJD and food-borne illness. We were
heartened when Secretary Veneman gave assurances, during a January 15th
meeting with the Safe Food Coalition, that the department's definition
of "downers" under this rule -- i.e., covering ALL non-ambulatory
disabled cattle regardless of the reason -- would not be changed. We
hope the final rule will reflect this. Many thanks for your attention
and help.
--
Consumer Federation of America , Consumers Union, Public Citizen , Center for Science in the Public Interest ,Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation ,CJD Voice , Center for Food Safety ,Food Animal Concerns Trust , Organic Consumers Association ,Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy ,Farm Sanctuary ,Friends of the Earth ,Government Accountability Project ,Humane Society of the United States ,American Humane ,Fund for Animals ,Society for Animal Protective Legislation ,American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.)
April 12, 2004
Dear Representative:
We are writing to voice our strenuous opposition to H.R. 4121, the ¡®Consumer and Producer Protection Act,¡¯ introduced on April 1 by Representative Dennis Rehberg. This ironically-named legislation would eviscerate the common sense rule announced on December 30, 03 by Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman banning all non-ambulatory cattle from the human food supply. Commonly known as ¡®downers,¡¯ non-ambulatory cattle are those unable to stand or walk on their own as a result of illness, injury, or a combination of illness and injury. Representative Rehberg¡¯s bill would allow cattle to be used for human food if they can¡¯t stand or walk due to ¡®fatigue, stress, obdurator nerve paralysis, obesity, or one or more broken or fractured appendages, severed tendons or ligaments, or dislocated joints.¡¯ It¡¯s nearly impossible for inspectors to tell why an animal has become a downer. A system that requires USDA inspectors to determine the reason E28093 and to distinguish between sick and injured downers E28093 would be reckless in the extreme. Illness and injury are often interrelated. For example, an animal¡¯s gait may be affected, causing it to fall and break a leg, before it exhibits clear symptoms of neurological disease or other sickness. Similarly, illness may produce fatigue and stress before other clinical signs become obvious.The cattle in Canada and the U.S. that have been identified with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or ¡®mad cow disease¡¯) were officially diagnosed as being non-ambulatory due to calving injuries, pneumonia, and a broken leg. According to the USDA, ¡®downer cattle infected with BSE often cannot be found by looking for the typical clinical signs associated with BSE, because the signs of BSE often cannot be differentiated from the signs of the many other diseases and conditions affecting downer cattle.¡¯ The USDA has recognized that downers are at significantly higher risk of having BSE than other cattle, citing extensive data from other countries. For instance, one study indicated that the chances of finding BSE in downers are 49 to 58 times higher than in cattle reported to veterinary authorities as BSE-suspect. Downers are also much more likely to have other dangerous transmissible diseases, such as E. coli and Salmonella. Given these known risks, it makes no sense to advocate a return to the days of downer cattle being fed to American consumers.
Immediately after Representative Rehberg introduced this ill-conceived bill, his own home-state newspaper, the Missoulian, ran a critical editorial titled ¡®Downer beef isn¡¯t what we want for dinner.¡¯ About Rep. Rehberg¡¯s effort to narrow the definition of what constitutes a downer, the newspaper said, ¡®It¡¯s a big mistake¡¯. Moving quickly to calm public fears about the safety of beef, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January banned all crippled cattle from the human food supply, saying research shows so-called downer¡¯ animals are far more likely to be diseased with mad cow or other maladies than outwardly healthy animals. The ban met with wide public approval. All concern about mad cow aside, many consumers were unpleasantly surprised to learn that the beef industry had been serving up helpings of sick animals in the first place¡¯.[B]eef producers might be well advised to shore up confidence in the quality of the 35 million outwardly healthy animals slaughtered in this country each year, rather than argue over the palatability of the estimated 150,000 obviously ailing downers the USDA proposes to ban.¡¯ We couldn¡¯t agree more. We urge you to oppose H.R. 4121 and any other attempts to weaken the USDA downer ban E28093 for the sake of consumers, animal welfare, and the long-term interests of producers. We further urge you to make the USDA ban a matter of permanent law by enacting H.R. 2519. It¡¯s time to guarantee that crippled animals never end up on someone¡¯s dinner plate again. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Carol Tucker Foreman, Director, Food Policy Institute
Consumer Federation of America
Adam Goldberg, Policy Analyst
Consumers Union
Wenonah Hauter, Director, Energy and Environment Program
Public Citizen
Michael Jacobson, Executive Director
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Florence Kranitz, President
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation
Patricia Ewanitz
CJD Voice
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director
Center for Food Safety
Richard Wood, Executive Director
Food Animal Concerns Trust
Ronnie Cummins, National Director
Organic Consumers Association
Mark Ritchie, President
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Gene Bauston, President
Farm Sanctuary
Sara Zdeb, Legislative Director
Friends of the Earth
Felicia Nestor, Food Safety Director
Government Accountability Project
Wayne Pacelle, Senior Vice President, Communications and Government
Affairs Humane Society of the United States
Suzanne Barnard, Vice President of Public Policy
American Humane
Michael Markarian, President
Fund for Animals
Cathy Liss, Legislative Director
Society for Animal Protective Legislation
Lisa Weisberg, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Karen Taylor Mitchell, Executive Director Safe Tables Our Priority (S.T.O.P.)