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FDA News
Update on Salmonella Outbreak and Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Great Value Peanut Butter

The insides of a Salmonella outbreak
Marler Clark
The last 48 hours at Marler Clark have been interesting we have responded to nearly 1,000 emails or phone calls (thanks to a very hardworking staff) from every part of the United States (and two foreign countries) - people do eat a lot of peanut butter ? some of it was surely contaminated with Salmonella.
The accents are all different North Dakota, Georgia, Massachusetts ? but all tell a similar story of vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Some people, and a lot of kids, had repeated bouts of illness. Hundreds that we have spoken to spent time with their doctors or in ERs, and many have been hospitalized. Many folks did not have insurance and simply could not seek medical care because they could not afford it.
What is also interesting is that, although many of the callers report symptoms consistent with salmonella poisoning, only about 10% report testing positive for Salmonella in their stool. However, most report still having jars of peanut butter with the 2111 code imprinted on the lid. We look forward to testing the product.
This outbreak only underscores the problems with food poisoning surveillance in the Untied States. People who are sick may or may not seek medical attention, perhaps because they cannot afford it, or perhaps because they wanted to just care for themselves or their children. So, no stool culture, no contact with the Health Department, no way to figure out what the cause of the outbreak is. Not figuring out the cause of the outbreak means that we are bound to repeat it

The Trouble With Peanut Butter: Salmonella

No one saw it coming but here it is: federal health officials are currently investigating how salmonella made its way into jars of peanut butter.
Peanut butter is supposedly as safe as flowers ? well it was, because nowadays eating from the wrong jar could very well send you to the hospital. Although salmonella is usually associated with eggs, chickens, undercooked meat, reptiles or unwashed hands and eating, peanut butter has become a source too.
The infamous contamination at the ConAgra plant may have been caused by dirty jars or equipment, according to government and industry officials. In the production process, peanuts are usually heated to temperatures that are so high that they kill germs, therefore they can¡¯t be suspected of having generated the contamination.
Although ConAgra was very quick in responding to the situation, assuring officials and the general public of their full cooperation in dealing with the problem and subsequently issuing a recall of the contaminated peanut butter jars, the company already has been the target of lawsuits since the recall.
A Texas couple filed charges against ConAgra after their 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son got sick. The lawsuit seeks damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, and caps the damages at $75,000 for each child, their lawyer said.
It's one of at least three lawsuits filed against ConAgra Foods, which is recalling all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at its Sylvester, Georgia, plant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 288 persons, from 39 states, had become infected with salmonella since last August. About 85 percent of the infected people said they ate peanut butter.

No deaths have been reported.
A ConAgra spokeswoman has said the company takes consumer concerns seriously, which is why it has recalled the peanut butter. ConAgra Foods Inc. has also said its nationwide recall of peanut butter will cost between $50 million and $60 million, hurting its third-quarter earnings.
All of the jars of peanut butter involved have a product code on the lid beginning with "2111," which denotes the plant. ConAgra said customers may return the lids or full jars of peanut butter to the store where they bought them for a refund.
Approximately 40,000 persons in the USA become infected with salmonella each year; the infection is known as salmonellosis and can be fatal. Around 600 people die annually from it. Among the symptoms are diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting.
The illness can be life-threatening to people in poor health or with weakened immune systems so it should be treated with utmost seriousness.

Pa. Family Sues Over Peanut Butter- A Pennsylvania family is suing Peter Pan peanut butter, claiming one of them died and two others got sick.
February 22, 2007
The family from western Pa. says that, around Thanksgiving, William Barkay ate some of the peanut butter and became violently ill. Then last month his wife, 75-year-old Roberta Barkay, fell ill, too. She died on January 30th. Their daughter also got sick, after eating the peanut butter.
The family's four jars of Peter Pan were bought in November. All have the recalled product code that starts with "2111."

7 Ohio salmonella cases are linked
Cleveland Plain Dealer OH)/AP/ Boston Herald (MA)/ The Wichita Eagle (KS)/ Illinois Daily Herald (IL)
Zachary Lewis
New and notable in dozens of stories from different states regarding the peanut butter outbreak:
Seven cases of salmonella poisoning in Ohio have been linked to a national outbreak apparently caused by tainted peanut butter.
Bethany Marshall of Wooster bought two jars of peanut butter from the recalled batch at Wal-Mart. She and her husband have finished one jar without developing salmonella symptoms, which can include diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting, but was quoted as saying, "I'm not going to buy that peanut butter ever again."
23-year-old Katie Kuba, who looked skeptically at the peanut butter shelf at her neighborhood Shaw¡¯s store in Dorchester after learning about the push to purge the shelves of Peter Pan, was quoted as saying, "It¡¯s alarming that it¡¯s something like peanut butter. You wouldn¡¯t think peanut butter, it¡¯s mostly spinach."
Lee Shiney of Wichita, who is among the Kansans who found peanut butter with the 2111 code in his kitchen, was quoted as saying, "We've only used it for cooking, so (we had) no side effects or anything. I figured we'd just toss this out."
Des Plaines resident Eugene Melvin was cited as saying he has been sick for more than a week and has eaten nearly an entire jar of the suspect peanut butter. While he doesn¡¯t intend to seek medical treatment, a friend who also ate the peanut butter and is sick plans to visit a doctor today.
¡°I'm not a doctor type of person,¡± says Mevlin, who added that his temperature peaked at 103 degrees earlier this week. ¡°I was wondering what was wrong with me.¡±

Conagra: Peanut butter recall will cost $50 million-$60 million
Associated Press
Josh Funk
OMAHA, Neb. -- ConAgra Foods Inc. was cited as saying Tuesday its nationwide recall of peanut butter will cost between $50 million and $60 million, hurting its third-quarter earnings.
Federal officials have linked the peanut butter to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened almost 300 people nationwide since August. No deaths have been reported.
The Omaha-based company said the recall costs of 6 cents to 8 cents a share will drag its fiscal 2007 results to the lower end of its recent forecast.
ConAgra chief executive Gary Rodkin was cited as telling analysts at a conference in Arizona Tuesday that he was proud of the way the company responded to the peanut butter concerns, and he's confident in the safety of ConAgra's products, which include well-known brands such Healthy Choice, Banquet and Chef Boyardee.

Action lawsuit over peanut butter illnesses
Seattle Times (WA)
Carol M. Ostrom
A Kent woman and a Bellingham man have filed a class-action lawsuit against a Nebraska-based food manufacturer on behalf of people sickened by Salmonella infections after eating peanut butter later recalled for contamination.
The story says that James Winston Daniels II of Bellingham missed several days of work after he made sandwiches using Great Value peanut butter purchased at a Wal-Mart store in Bellingham, according to the lawsuit. Linda Lee Oswald, of Kent, missed three days of work after she made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches using Peter Pan brand peanut butter.
Seattle attorney Bill Marler was cited as saying the lawsuit estimates it may include over 3,000 potential class members. It excludes those who have been hospitalized or who died, whose cases would be handled separately. He has been contacted by family members of four people who died after eating peanut butter, Marler added, but those cases have not been verified.
As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted nearly 300 people in 39 states, including four in Washington, who have been sickened since August. Not all cases have been linked to the implicated peanut butter.
Marler was further cited as saying he expects the number to grow much larger, adding, "From an epidemiological point of view, this has been one of the oddest outbreaks I've seen in 14 years of doing these cases." The story notes that. instead of happening all at one time, in specific areas, this outbreak has occurred over months, and has been spread out around the country.
Because people may buy peanut butter and keep it on the shelf for months, people are coming forward who have been sickened for months at a time, or have gone through cycles of being sick, then recovering, then re-infecting themselves by eating the contaminated peanut butter again, Marler said.
Marler said he plans to test about 1,500 jars of peanut butter for contamination, adding, "Part of what we do is make sure that claims that are brought forward are legitimate and meritorious, because that helps the system move forward to correct itself."

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Beware how restaurants handle ice for your drink
Sierra Vista Herald (AZ)
Dana Cole
SIERRA VISTA -- Walter Lacy, a former inspector, was cited as saying he notices a number of things he believes are gross health violations that could cause people to become sick, adding, "One of the big problems is how food servers handle ice. My wife and I sit in fast food restaurants and watch employees fill glasses with their hands and we see bartenders using their hands as funnels when they¡¯re pouring ice in glasses. It¡¯s disgusting.¡±
Lacy was cited as saying that managers need to insist that employees use ice scoops, and that ice scoops must be stored outside of the ice bin so that the handle, which is what the food servers touch to fill glasses, doesn¡¯t come in contact with the ice, stating, "Anything we¡¯re going to consume, if it¡¯s not handled properly, has the potential to make you sick. People don¡¯t realize that ice is a big contaminant. It actually preserves some germs."
Lacy, who goes to mall eateries, fast food places, restaurants and bars just to watch how employees handle ice, says the health violations are blatant. After contacting the county health department with some of his observations, he says the director promised to check into the situation. And there have been vast improvements.

Consumers Wary of Food From Clones
(The Charleston Gazette)
By James Temple

When the farming industry embraced artificial insemination during the 1940s, some critics argued that it would lead to animal abnormalities or destroy breeding businesses. Others proclaimed it tantamount to playing God.
Such objections have long since faded away, at least beyond the fringes, and the technology now is used to produce about three- quarters of all dairy cattle. To supporters of the Food and Drug Administration's preliminary approval of food from most clones and their offspring, a December announcement that sparked wide and vehement protests, the history of artificial insemination (AI) is telling.
"The information age changes the way that people can fan the flames of controversy," said James Murray, professor of animal science at the University of California-Davis, who argues that extensive scientific research has shown no danger from cloned animals. "This is just AI with the Internet. It's a storm in a teapot."
Opponents of the FDA's decision, however, point to a more recent precedent: the agency's approval of St. Louis-based Monsanto Co.'s synthetic bovine growth hormone (BGH) in the early 1990s.
Consumer groups immediately called for boycotts, and many dairy processors pledged to reject the drug. In the fourteen years since BGH's approval, its use has never exceeded about one-third of U.S. cattle. Recently announced plans to curtail or eliminate BGH by Dean Foods, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, Starbucks and other major retailers and manufacturers promise to squeeze that market share further.
"When Monsanto tried to get the entire dairy industry to embrace growth hormones, we understood that people who bought our milk weren't going to want it. The same lesson applies here," said Marcus Benedetti, president of dairy processor Clover-Stornetta Farms in Petaluma, Calif., which has said it will not use cloned animals.
On Dec. 28, the FDA said in a draft risk assessment that meat and milk from adult clones of cattle, swine and goats and their offspring are as safe to consume as that from standard animals. Therefore, it concluded, labeling shouldn't be required. (The agency said there is insufficient information on sheep clones to make a determination on food consumption risks.)
The FDA is seeking public comment on the subject until April and is expected to issue a final determination soon after. An agency spokesman did not respond to repeated inquiries for comment for this story.
The strongest evidence that the products of clones and their progeny will face difficulty gaining acceptance - that the apt precedent is bovine growth hormone - are surveys that consistently show that a majority of consumers hold a negative impression of such food.
"There's no doubt that consumers' aversion to or dislike of cloned products ... will translate to the marketplace," said Joseph Mendelson, legal director for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Food Safety. "For a variety of reasons, they will reject it."
The most common objections include animal welfare or religious or food safety concerns. A December 2006 poll by the Pew Initiative found that 64 percent of those polled were "uncomfortable" with animal cloning. Thirty-six percent felt unsure about the safety of cloned food, and 43 percent said it was unsafe.
"We are putting something out there, and we have no clue what the impact of it is," said Susanne Scott, a Castro Valley adult school instructor who falls squarely into the "unsafe" camp. "We're risking future generations, and we have no idea on what scale."
None of the scientific research into the safety of food from clones has found any evidence of danger. But some observers, scientists among them, believe that more research is necessary to adequately answer that question.
Of course, the degree to which consumer preferences affect the adoption of cloning technology will largely depend on how - and if - the products are labeled.
There are several forms this could take.
National or state legislators could pass laws requiring labeling of food products from cloned animals and their offspring. Indeed, last month California state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., introduced state and federal legislation, respectively, to do just that.
If such laws don't pass, individual companies opposed to cloning appear willing to apply labels voluntarily, as happened after the FDA approved BGH. Clover-Stornetta, which became the nation's first dairy processor to stamp a BGH-related label on its products, is considering that possibility.
"At the end of the day, the only thing consumers ask for is choice," Benedetti said. 2-21-07

Not washing hands after handling pets could bring serious illnesses, college finds

Guelph Mercury
Deirdre Healey
Preliminary findings by the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College was cited as finding that pets can transmit a bacterial infection resulting in large boils, bleeding pneumonia and in rare cases flesh-eating disease or even death.
The infection is called community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or CA-MRSA. It was reported in January by the Canadian Medical Association Journal that this drug-resistant bacterial superbug is becoming more prevalent in communities across Canada.
While medical experts have pointed to sharing sports equipment and personal items such as soap, towels, creams and razors as potential ways of transmitting the infection, the veterinary college has found pets also play a role.
Dr. Scott Weese presented preliminary findings at yesterday's Waterloo Wellington Infection Control Network workshop that showed incidents of the infection being spread from pet to owner and from owner to pet.
Weese was quoted as saying, "If you think about the interaction between dogs and kids, the kids aren't washing their hands after playing with the dog and there can be a lot of licking and rubbing of the face when playing with the dog."

CBS 11 News investigates dirty Dallas dining
CBS 11 News
Bennett Cunningham
DALLAS -- Rodent droppings and buzzing flies are typical in a garbage dump, but they could also be in your neighborhood restaurant. After 2 years off, CBS 11 Consumer Reporter Bennett Cunningham is back and putting restaurants kitchens under the microscope.
Mei-Mei¡¯s Chinese Buffet in Dallas [10455 N. Central Expressway] recently failed a routine food inspection. They scored 67 out of 100.
The inspector found:
An employee wiping his nose and not washing his hands
Employees handling salad and fruit items with their bare hands
Crab meet at potentially hazardous temperatures
We went to Mei-Mei's for a visit. Right away we found these potential code violations:
Bags of shrimp defrosting at room temperature and dripping on the floor
Raw spareribs in a container on the floor
Food boxes were on the freezer floor
No soap at the hand sink
We asked Ashan Kahn, the Dallas official in charge of the food inspection program, if Mei Mei¡¯s Chinese Buffet would pass a city food inspection on the day we visited. ¡°No, I don't think so,¡± he said.
We also went to Hardeman's Bar-B-Q in Dallas [2901 S. Lancaster Rd]. It has been around for decades. It failed a recent routine food inspection with a score of 61.
The inspector found:
Rodent droppings and flies
Sausage and ribs at potentially unsafe temperatures
On re-inspection, droppings were found near the bread warmer
George Hardeman Jr., of Hardeman's Bar-B-Q, said the city has made it tougher to pass inspections. But the city hasn't changed their tolerance on bugs in the restaurant.
"We don't live in Seattle where they don't have bugs," Hardeman said. "I am sure you have rodent dropping in your house."
We also went to The Little Mexico in Dallas [8424 Park Lane]. It failed with a score of 62.
The inspector found:
WD40 improperly stored under the kitchen sink Employees handling 'sopas' with their bare hands Utensils stored in stagnant water On our visit, we found these potential code violations:
Stuffed peppers sitting out at room temperature Refried beans that weren't hot enough to serve WD40 was still under the kitchen sink All the restaurants in this story passed a re-inspection and are open for business. These Dallas restaurants scored exceptionally well (97 or above) on food inspections:
Porkie's BBQ - 100 [perfect score]
6530 E. NW highway
Backyard burgers - 97
10930 N. Central Expy
Taco Cabana - 97
4360 DFW Turnpike

USDA scientists survey for Toxoplasma gondii
Source of Article:
2/19/2007-A recently completed survey of meats for a common microscopic parasite found none in raw beef and poultry and a low level in pork. The study focused on the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which commonly infects animals and humans worldwide, and was conducted by scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The study was led by scientists Dolores E. Hill and Jitender P. Dubey of USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and was published in The Journal of Parasitology. Hill and Dubey are experts in parasitology research at ARS' Henry A. Wallace Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research Center (BARC).
The scientists analyzed samples of retail meat obtained from nearly 700 stores nationwide. More than 6,000 samples?2,000 each of pork, chicken and beef?were purchased from stores in 28 major U.S. geographic areas. Each sample weighed a minimum of 2.2 pounds, for a total of more than 14,000 pounds of meat tested.
None of the raw beef and chicken meat samples contained live T. gondii parasites, based on a controlled analysis. In raw pork from retail meat cases nationwide, the prevalence of live T. gondii parasites was estimated at a low 0.4 percent, or about four per 1,000 samples.
"The survey shows that beef and chicken have negligible amounts of the parasite, while pork has extremely low levels that are effectively eliminated by proper cooking," said microbiologist Mark Jenkins, with ARS' Animal Parasitic Disease Laboratory at BARC.
Besides the consumption of undercooked meat, another route of T. gondii infection is exposure to egglike oocysts in the feces of infected cats. A rodent- or bird-eating cat that has T. gondii in its body expels millions of infectious-stage oocysts of the parasite during a week or two.
The parasite can seriously damage developing fetuses and persons with weakened immune systems, such as those infected with HIV, according to experts. Infants born to mothers who become infected for the first time just before or during pregnancy are at risk of developing severe toxoplasmosis due to T. gondii exposure.
For more, see the USDA Press Release:

California wild pig population far larger than imagined
Western Farm Press
Wild or feral pigs were implicated in at least one E. coli incident in a vegetable field in the Salinas Valley. Some have called wild pigs a minor contributor to the E. coli threat, pointing to domestic animals as larger sources for E. coli in California¡¯s food crop.
However, domestic animals are far easier to see and photograph by the media than wild hogs. A University of North Dakota wildlife ecologist working in California was cited as asying the wild pig problem is far greater than what the eye and camera captured and it is growing, posing a threat not only to crops, but to California¡¯s natural habitat.
Using computer-aided mapping and records of hunting tags, Rick Sweitzer, a wildlife ecologist at the University of North Dakota supported by the University of California Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program has calculated how far wild pigs have expanded their range in California to encourage using alternative methods to control their spread.''

State health officials urge Coloradans to check their refrigerators and freezers for Oscar Mayer/Louis Rich chicken breast strips
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment today urged individuals who may have purchased ¡°Oscar Mayer/Louis Rich Chicken Breast Strips with Rib Meat, Grilled, Fully Cooked ? Ready To Eat¡± at retail locations in Colorado to check their packages for specific code information as these chicken strips may be contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes. Individuals who have the recalled product should not eat it and discard it.
The chicken breast strips affected by the recall come in six-ounce packages, and on the back of each package appears a ¡°use by¡± date of ¡°19 Apr 2007.¡± The code ¡°19 APR 2007¡± appears on each case. Also, the front of each package bears the establishment number ¡°P-19676¡± inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection.
The product was manufactured by Carolina Culinary Foods, a West Columbia, S.C. firm, and distributed to retail establishments nationwide.
Food safety specialists with the Department of Public Health and Environment¡¯s Consumer Protection Division have learned that the recalled product was likely provided to major grocery store chains in Colorado.

Swimming 'To The Left' Gets Bacteria Upstream, And May Promote Infection
February 21, 2007
Source of Article:
Science Daily ? Yale engineers who study both flow hydrodynamics and how bacteria propel themselves report that one reason for the high incidence of infections associated with catheters in hospital patients may be that some pathogenic bacteria swim ¡°to the left,¡± in a study published in Physical Review Letters.
¡°Escherichia coli (E. coli) and some other pathogenic bacteria with flagella interact with the flow of liquid when they are near a surface,¡± said Hur Koser, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Yale and the study¡¯s senior author, who has collaborated with a diverse team of scientists for this study.
¡°Each cell normally has two to six flagella that can rotate together as a bundle and act as a propeller to drive the cell forward. Away from any boundaries, the cells swim in a straight line, but near a surface, opposing forces of flow and bacterial forward motion cause the bacteria to continuously swim to one side ? to the left.¡± The study determined that swimming ¡°to the left¡± is a hydrodynamic process that is fundamentally related to the way the cells propel themselves in this manner.
Koser and his colleagues show that this phenomenon allows flagellated bacteria, such as E. coli, to find crevices or imperfections on the surface, get trapped, and swim upstream. This allows the bacteria to eventually locate large reservoirs with richer sources of food and better conditions for multiplying.
¡°We think that upstream swimming of bacteria may be relevant to the transport of E. coli in the urinary tract,¡± said Koser. ¡°It might also explain the high rates of infection in catheterized patients and the incidence of microbial contamination at protected wellheads. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a natural propensity to swim upstream has been discovered and described in bacteria.¡±
To study the hydrodynamics of these bacteria in a flow environment, Koser¡¯s team constructed microfluidic devices using soft lithography. Inside the devices they set up various flow patterns to observe the bacteria in channels that were only 150 or 300 microns wide and between 50 and 450 microns deep. They were able to observe how the bacteria moved at a wide range of flow rates ? between 0.05 and 20 microliters per minute.
Co-authors on the paper are Jane Hill in Yale¡¯s Environmental Engineering Program, Jonathan L. McMurry, then in Yale¡¯s Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department and Ozge Kalkanci at Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. The research was mainly supported through funds from Yale University.
Citation: Physical Review Letters: early online February 6, 2007 DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.068101
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Yale University.

USDA responds to concerns about Canadian cattle imports
By Tom Johnston on 2/20/2007 for
Responding to a media report that documents obtained by Washington cattlemen show hundreds of cattle from Canada are entering the United States without government-required health papers or identification tags, USDA officials indicated that no significant violations have occurred.
Andrea McNally of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's legislative and public Affairs division told that her agency is "reviewing the concerns that have been brought to our attention in Washington state." (See Group says Canadian cattle improperly imported into United States on, Feb. 19, 2007.)
"As we are reviewing these records, we have discovered that a large portion are minor record-keeping problems that are not material to the entry requirements of the cattle," she said. "Nonetheless, we are looking closely to make sure the balance of the paperwork shows proper documentation, and we will respond according to our findings."

Canada's reaction
Meanwhile, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association is questioning both the Chicago Tribune article and the motives of the Cattle Producers of Washington.
John Masswohl, director of government and international relations for CCA, told that a different set of rules apply to those Canadian cattle imports used for immediate slaughter and those going to feedlots.
Masswohl explained that the USDA only requires that Canadian slaughter cattle go from the border to the slaugherhouse in a sealed truck. That these cattle have identification papers when they arrive is the result of Canada's own export requirements, he said.
Meanwhile, USDA stipulates that Canadian feeder cattle must be less than 30 months old, can only be fed in one feedlot and must be slaughtered before reaching 30 months of age, must be branded with a symbol signifying they are from Canada, and must have an ear tag. However, the ear tag, a point not made in the newspaper article, can either be an electronic device or simply have a bar code, he said.
Considering Canada exported just less than 1 million cattle to the United States last year, Masswohl added, some slip-ups probably do occur. However, they often have simple remedies, such as simply replacing an animal's ear tag after it has fallen off during transport in a truck. "Ultimately, this requirement is not for food safety, is not for animal health, and does not prevent the spread of [bovine spongiform encephalopathy]," he said. "We just need to know that when we need to track down an animal we've got the trail to do it."

Opposition's propaganda?
Also of note, Masswohl said, is the Cattle Producers of Washington's affiliation with Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, a group that "not only wants to prevent the border from opening further, but also to fully close the border to any cattle from Canada, any cattle from Mexico, or cattle from any other country. Forgive me if I take the story with a little grain of salt."
The Cattle Producers of Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.