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Bioterrorism Regulations Workshop
On February 19, NFPA will host a workshop in Washington, D.C. titled "FDA Facility Registration and Prior Notice Status and Review: Meeting the Compliance Challenge."

Registration Form: go to : http://www.nfpa-food.org/documents/February2004bioreg.pdf

Current Food Safety Informaiton
01/13. Calf In State Positive For TB
01/13. Australia says it can fill Japan's beef shortfall
01/13. Metro Group to Introduce Tracking Device
01/13. Farm critics question test plan
01/13. Fear of beef
01/13. Eid sacrifice ritual latest casualty of BSE
01/13. UK food agency responds to salmon saga
01/13. Lights out for SureBeam
01/13. Food Safety Summit
01/13. FSIS Issues Notice 4-05 to Provide Interim Guidance Regardin
01/13. Practical, in-plant procedures to highlight Best Beef Practi
01/13. FSIS Issues New Notice On Awareness Meeting Regarding New BS
01/13. FAO wants mad cow checks tightened after US outbreak
01/13. US team hopeful Asia will get over mad cow fears
01/13. Bush, Martin Vow Cooperation on Mad Cow
01/13. UN: Mad cow precautions in many countries still insufficient
01/13. Fear on a fork
01/13. Food scares divide consumers, experts over what's safe to ea
01/13. Cow and A
01/13. Japan, Canada skirt issue of testing all cows
01/13. U.S., Canada, Mexico to Meet on Mad Cow Disease
01/13. PLM Software Has A Role In Food Safety
01/13. Police issue 'drugged meat' alert
01/13. Ancestral Diet Gone Toxic
01/13. Food-Safety Firm SureBeam to Liquidate
01/13. Government to respond to hair-into-soy sauce scandal

01/12. Salmon farming industry reeling
01/12. The science of assessing the risk from dioxins in food
01/12. PCBs and dioxins in salmon
01/12. Cattlemen urge Congress to focus on omnibus: Animal health a
01/12. Canadian agriculture minister fails to persuade South Korea
01/12. BSE bungling ignored the risks from older animals: What abou
01/12. Beefed up tests good first step
01/12. BSE control too slack in many countries-FAO
01/12. Screening All Cattle Is Costly Idea
01/12. Officials Defend Milk From Mabton Dairy
01/12. 110 At-Risk Cows Likely In The Food Supply
01/12. Say yes to salmon
01/12. Mad cow-blood
01/12. Mad-cow battle gets .1-million boost
01/12. Coming to terms with the problem of global meat
01/12. Accurate records help allay fears about mad cow disease
01/12. Assessing risks of mad cow
01/12. How now, mad cow?; Increased testing is important, but perce
01/12. WHO report: several foodborne infections are increasing in E
01/12. Hepatitis A alert after infected server makes salads
01/12. Washington this week on AgWeb: USDA working quickly on BSE i
01/12. Canada to rest 30,000 cattle for mad cow in 5 yrs

01/11. The raw truth
01/11. New EU ¡®zoonoses package¡¯ of legislation to combat foodborne
01/11. Illinois governor announces steps to safeguard against BSE
01/11. Internet Ambush
01/11. Bioterrorism Regulations Workshop
01/11. New consumer poll shows two-thirds of Americans not troubled
01/11. Food allergy

01/10. USDA Plans to Beef Up Livestock ID System
01/10. Kingston tucks into food safety
01/10. Speller begins trip to boost Canadian beef
01/10. Daschle: U.S. Needs Labeling Now to Show Beef Safety
01/10. Hundreds of food-processing plants shut down
01/10. More Cows Headed to Slaughter in Wash.
01/10. Consumers Flock to Web for Mad Cow Information
01/10. Government stresses safety of food supply
01/10. 50,000 chicken eggs sold half year after production

01/09. FDA Seizes Goods at Reed Creek Milling Due to Insanitary Conditions
01/09. UPDATE 1-US Feed Group Proposes Tougher Mad Cow Safeguards
01/09. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a dairy cow --- Washingt
01/09. The proof is in: Farmed salmon contains significantly higher
01/09. NCBA Letter to Cattlemen RE: BSE
01/09. Beef board approves additional funds to manage BSE response
01/09. Transfer of portions of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
01/09. Foodborne illness, oysters - Singapore ex China: request for
01/09. Scottish Quality Salmon: Science study is seriously misleadi
01/09. USDA needs mandatory recall authority, says CSPI
01/09. Perspective by Editor Chris Harris: Chris Harris looks at th
01/09. No cow left behind
01/09. Pork replaced by wild game as main source of trichinella inf
01/09. UK/USA: Row erupts over farmed salmon safety
01/09. Japan talks: US proposes BSE testing all pre-1998 cattle
01/09. Senators ask Veneman to appoint special trade envoy
01/09. Man claims to have eaten beef from BSE-infected cow
01/09. Study links salted foods to stomach cancer
01/09. Better fish labelling called for
01/09. USDA issues its new BSE regulations; comment period begins
01/09. More mad cow cases predicted
01/09. Agriculture minister announces modest increase in mad cow te
01/09. Alberta dairy farmers who sold BSE cow call for wider testin
01/09. Japan wants mad cow test for all imported US beef before lif
01/09. Q&A: Salmon
01/09. HEALTHBEAT: Family of 10 diseases mystifies
01/09. Prof: Mad cow disease affects state fight against CWD
01/09. EU Food Agency Prepares to Assess Live GMO Crops
01/09. Food watchdog says farmed salmon safe
01/09. After Mad Cow, U.S. Farmers Warily Back Animal ID
01/09. Salmon cancer study "deliberately misleading": Scottish indu
01/09. Study cites toxins in farmed salmon

01/08. Syscan upgrades instant recall solution for tainted meat
01/08. Poultry more deadly
01/08. Serby rejects testing all slaughtered cows
01/08. Feds rule out ban on animal remains for feed: Agency says ban
01/08. An issue comes to a head
01/08. Researchers looking for link between mad cows
01/08. USDA, Industry Too Cozy?
01/08. As U.S. Pleads Mad-Cow Case, Past Practices Are a Handicap
01/08. FSIS to hold meeting on food safety technologies
01/08. Consumers key to ending meat crisis -
01/08. Researchers seek to clone 'mad cow disease' resistant cattle
01/08. NCBA to hold satellite town hall meeting on BSE response
01/08. Food inspection agency lays two charges in Ont. for bottled
01/08. Safety of food products
01/08. Gourmet French chicken deemed unfit for Canada
01/08. Baucus has a beef with international bans
01/08. Germany Grapples With BSE Scare
01/08. Shopkeeper jailed for selling rotten rat meat
01/08. Reopening the Door
01/08. BSE Briefing
01/08. Resistance Research
01/08. Further BSE Questions to be Answered
01/08. USDA takes heat for 'downer' ban
01/08. Japan launches BSE fact-finding mission to U.S., Canada
01/08. Mexico says ban on U.S. beef could last months, years
01/08. Herd culled, Daschle calls for sealing Canadian border
01/08. COOL a hot issue again
01/08. Foodchain focus for Irish presidency
01/08. Study links salted foods to stomach cancer
01/08. Spotlight on emerging food pathogen, Enterobacter sakazakii
01/08. USDA: BSE is under control
01/08. Japan denies report of compromise on US beef ban
01/08. Nutrition Q&A: Separate food to prevent food-borne illness
01/08. Thoughts for food: Fear of food
01/08. Alberta Mulls Mad Cow Tests for All Cattle
01/08. U.S. Faces Pressure on Beef Safety
01/08. U.S. Mad Cow Safeguards Below Japan Standard, Minister Says
01/08. Food inspectors connecting national network of labs for mad
01/08. Mad Cow Case Heightens Debate on Food Labeling
01/08. Food Poisoning

01/07. Tokyo To Send Officials To US To Discuss Lifting Beef Ban
01/07. Food Labeling, Act 2
01/07. Vote Blocked Ban On Ill Cows
01/07. With diseased animals, disposal isn't simple
01/07. Measures to contain mad cow disease ensure consumer safety
01/07. Statement of the American Meat Institute on announcement tha
01/07. Statement from the Honorable Bob Speller, Minister of Agricu
01/07. Canadian Cattlemen's Association statement on DNA test resul
01/07. IFT President makes statement on BSE
01/07. Organic Growth
01/07. Japan piles on the pressure
01/07. AMI Foundation to host national BSE briefing on Feb. 3
01/07. Consumer knowledge low on supplements
01/07. Law lets risky stimulants take ephedra's place
01/07. Tests confirm diseased U.S. cow came from Alberta ranch
01/07. Tests confirm mad cow came from Canada
01/07. Steps in mad cow crisis stop short of world-class safety
01/07. Nianyefan food quality ensured

01/06. Organic beef not ¡®safer¡¯ than other
01/06. FDA warns Campbell unit on unsafe soup procedures
01/06. DNA tests verify U.S. mad cow from Canada, USDA says
01/06. The cow jumped over the U.S.D.A.
01/06. Plant linked to mad cow blasted for mislabelling; Wrong info
01/06. Feed mills doing better, agency says
01/06. Iowa lab at forefront of mad cow testing
01/06. China confiscates 186 tons of American beef
01/06. Study suggests widespread environmental presence of Enterobacter sakazakii
01/06. Scientists weigh risks of beef; muscle alone found unlikely
01/06. Jumble of tests may slow mad cow solution
01/06. Confused about mad cow? New ad exposes scaremongers and disp
01/06. Holstein dairy cows and the inefficient efficiencies of mode
01/06. BSE Situation Developments
01/06. Rendering companies warned about cattle feed
01/06. OSU announces 2004 thermal processing RTE short course
01/06. Campofrio adapts to demands for traceability and safety
01/06. Salmonella outbreak tied to mangoes treated to kill flies
01/06. Food inspection agency levels fines
01/06. Restaurants step up care for diners with allergies
01/06. Baby bug threat from formula milk
01/06. Mad Cow One of Most Mystifying Diseases
01/06. Oyster ban came swiftly
01/06. Beef supply not yet safe, experts claim
01/06. Beef is still on the menu
01/06. Food safety is precious commodity
01/06. Five area restaurants got recalled beef bones
01/06. Safe Side: Grind Your Own Beef
01/06. Burgers: Are They Still Safe To Eat? Each patty comes from s
01/06. Fighting foodborne disease
01/06. Japan pressures U.S. over mad cow measures
01/06. USDA to Kill 450 Calves in Mad Cow Scare
01/06. IN MICHIGAN: Illnesses make a family wary
01/06. Simple steps protect against food-borne germs
01/06. Editorial: BSE safeguards failed; now what?
01/06. Other illnesses linked to food dwarf mad cow

Current Recall Information

Procedures for the Safe and Sanitary Processing and Importing of Fish and Fishery Products
ARS-Adapted Grain Sorter Sees Fungal Poisons Under "New Light"
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Surveillance Program
OPPD (Policy) What's New Page: Updated January 12, 2004
Meat produced by advanced meat/bone separation machinery and
Prohibition of the use of certain stunning devices used to i
Transfer of voluntary inspection of egg products regulations
Declaration of extraordinary emergency because of bovine spo
FDA Statement on Rendered Products Derived From BSE Cow in Washington State

Questions and Answers Regarding the Interim Final Rule on Registration of Food Facilities
Guidance for Industry
FSIS Extends Comment Period for Poultry Class Revisions
FSIS To Withhold Services To Firms With Delinquent Accounts
FDA Seizes Goods at Reed Creek Milling Due to Insanitary Conditions
Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Registration of Food Facilities (Edit. 2)
Library of Export Requirements: Updated January 8, 2004
USDA Issues New Regulations To Address BSE
How to Use E-Mail to Submit a Notice of Intent to Slaughter for Human Food Purposes
How to Submit a Notice of Final Disposition of Animals Not Intended for Immediate Slaughter

Current Outbreaks
01/13. Hepatitis survivor lucky to be alive
01/13. Chili's outbreak traced
01/12. President in allergy scare
01/09. "Cruise Ship Virus" Blamed for School's Sickness
01/07. Chinese oysters recalled after 227 fall ill

Current New Methods
01/13. ARS-Adapted Grain Sorter Sees Fungal Poisons Under "New Light"
01/13. Sequenom technology used to pinpoint source of mad cow disea
01/13. AIST Succeeds in Inactivating Food Poisoning Fungus Norovirus
01/12. From Dolly to Molly, ¡®Frankencows¡¯ to beat BSE ?
01/12. New Colony Counting Study Shows aCOLyte SuperCount Matches M
01/11. Introducing the two hour chip
01/09. GeneSeek provides DNA testing for U.S. mad cow case
01/08. New Test Could Speed Up BSE Detection
01/08. FEATURE-New machine bodes death for mad cow proteins
01/07. Warnex E. coli O157 food safety test gets CIFA approval
01/06. GeneThera, Inc.: Commercial introduction of live blood test for mad cow disease
01/06. Enzyme fully degrades mad cow disease prion
01/05. New E.coli tests on the cards
01/04. NordVal approval for RAPID' L. mono Listeria Agar, without c
01/03. Company working on rapid test for mad cow
01/02. Blue Light, Red Light

Chili's outbreak traced Ill workers likely cause: Food poisoning at restaurant sickened more than 300
By Jim Newton
News Sun

An investigative report on the outbreak of salmonella last summer originating from Chili's Bar and Grill in Vernon Hills concludes that the food poisoning was likely spread from ill employees to customers rather than originating with a source such as tainted or undercooked food.

The report, issued Monday by the Lake County Health Department, echoes comments made by health department officials in the wake of the incident that the spread was likely due to improper handwashing practices and aggravated by the restaurant remaining open for two days with interrupted water service.

"We can't prove it conclusively, but that's what we believe," said Health Department Executive Director Dale Galassie. "This whole unfortunate experience will prove to be a learning experience for our system and has led to some changes nationally as well."

Galassie said Brinker International, the corporate owner of Chili's, has instituted new food handling procedures for the national chain.

More than 300 people who ate at the restaurant between June 23 and July 1 are believed to have been sickened from the disease, which can be spread by people, especially food service workers, who do not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Although statistically, many who became ill had eaten chicken dishes, the report notes that some of the chicken involved had been pre-cooked, that there had been no reports of undercooked chicken and that other restaurants receiving the same chicken shipments apparently had no illness problems.

The report also said an employee of the restaurant, who later tested positive for salmonella, first reported symptoms June 5, well before the outbreak occurred.

Health officials had previously said that the restaurant, in violation of health ordinances, remained open June 26 although hot water service was not available, and on June 27 without any running water during lunchtime hours, raising questions about how employees could have properly washed their hands.

The report acknowledges that as likely being a major factor in the outbreak.

"The investigation revealed environmental factors such as loss of hot water, loss of water, the large number of ill employees at the facility, a general lack of handwashing and dishmachine sanitary failure that may have caused fecal/oral contamination of multiple food items, and contributed to/exacerbated the spread of salmonella," the report states.

It also noted that the health department's "prompt action" in reacting to initial indications of the outbreak deterred secondary outbreaks despite the number of people infected and the fact that some of the employees also worked at other restaurants.

Brinker recently paid the Health Department $32,000 to cover staff time and other expenses related to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the national law firm Marler Clark is representing more than 60 victims of the outbreak, including two who were hospitalized with severe illness. Marler Clark is receiving local assistance from the Waukegan firm of Salvi, Schostok and Pritchard.

Brinker has declined to comment on the federal litigation.

Government stresses safety of food supply
Mon Jan 12, 6:32 AM ET
By Sue Kirchhoff, USA TODAY
Yahoo! News

The first confirmed case in the USA of mad cow in an animal was discovered in late December after a dairy cow from Washington state was slaughtered and its meat sent for processing. (Related story: Natural beef industry might see boost from mad cow fears) The cow had a brain-wasting disease believed to be transmitted through feed contaminated with infected cattle brain or spinal tissue. In humans, a related illness, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob, strikes people who have eaten similarly contaminated food. There have been no reported cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob in the USA, although at least 129 people have died in Great Britain, where mad cow struck in the mid-1980s.Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and other federal officials have stressed that the food supply is safe, pointing to 1997 rules that bar the use of cattle remains in feed for cows, goats and sheep. Canadian officials discovered a cow with confirmed bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE (news - web sites)) in May, causing other countries to bar imports of Canadian beef. While Canada has yet to regain important export markets, officials say domestic demand has risen.In the USA, firms have seen an increase in concern since the discovery in Washington, but beef sales have fallen less than expected."I have the sales reports on our desk, and we are selling just as much beef as we ever do on a relative basis," said George Huger, chef and owner of the Southern Inn Restaurant in Lexington, Va., which uses Blue Ridge Premium Beef. "Most local people know that we use local beef, so they're probably not concerned."

Better fish labelling called for


- 09/01/2004 - UK pressure group Friends of the Earth has called for stricter controls and improved labelling for fish, following a study in the industry journal Science. The report showed higher levels of cancer-causing pollutants in farmed salmon on sale in supermarkets compared with salmon caught wild.

Friends of the Earth is calling for clearer labelling so that consumers can tell whether the fish they are buying is wild or farmed, and where it has come from.
The study, which looked at 700 farmed and wild salmon from eight major salmon-producing regions, concluded that the contamination levels in farmed salmon on sale in Europe were so high that consumers should only eat one portion every two months to avoid an increased risk of cancer. The fish, sampled from wholesale and supermarket outlets, were contaminated with a range of persistent chemicals, including PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin and toxaphene.

Farmed salmon on sale in Europe was found to be generally more contaminated than salmon farmed in North and South America. Atlantic salmon contain significantly higher concentrations of PCBs and many chlorinated pesticides than wild Pacific salmon, according to an analysis of more than two metric tons of farmed and wild salmon from around the world.

Farmed salmon on sale in Scotland was found to have the highest levels of contamination, with the authors suggesting it would be unadvisable for consumers to eat more than one portion of supermarket salmon every two months. The researchers also stressed the need for additional studies on salmon feed that is high in fish meal and fish oil and could be a source of contamination.

The conclusion made by the report is that contaminant levels in some farmed salmon may be high enough to detract from the health benefits of eating fish. The authors note that their study demonstrates the importance of labelling salmon as farmed and identifying the country of origin.

“This study shows yet again how the use of persistent chemicals contaminates our environment and food sources, which can be magnified by intensive farming practices,?said Friends of the Earth chemicals campaigner Mary Taylor. “Consumers and retailers alike should be shocked by these findings. As the study says, better labelling and consumer information would allow consumers to minimise the risks, but we also need to ensure that new chemicals legislation properly protects the environment from persistent chemicals in the long run.?

The issue of seafood labelling has been a big issue of late in Europe. In Norway, for example, there has been great consumer and industry pressure for salmon raised in certain conditions to be able to bear the label 'This is a free range salmon fillet'. This move comes after growing demand for the ethical production of seafood.

"We are noticing an international trend where consumers demand ethics in the methods of fish farming and slaughtering. Manufacturers who fail to meet these demands are likely to suffer economically,?said B?ge Damsg?d, principal scientist at Norwegian research company Fiskeriforskning.

The Norwegian labelling initiative is very much in line with the EU-funded project SEAFOODplus. The stated strategic objective of this programme is to make seafood safe for the consumer by identifying risk factors, avoiding risks caused by viral and bacterial contamination, biogenic amines in seafood and to undertake risk-benefit analysis.

“This project will broaden our perspective and consider the ethics of the entire chain of production of various types of fish,?said Damsg?d. “In order to develop a set of ethical methods we have to know more about differences in behaviour and properties of fish such as salmon, halibut, sea bass and cod. Thanks to this project, we are given the opportunity to work with these issues over a long period of time.

Food watchdog says farmed salmon safe
Fri 9 January, 2004 09:27
LONDON (Reuters) - People should keep eating farmed Scottish salmon, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said in reaction to a report that said the fish was full of harmful chemicals which could trigger cancer.The report in the journal Science said farmed salmon is so full of toxins that it should only be eaten three times a year, with fish farmed in Scotland being the most contaminated.But the food watchdog said on Friday levels of pollutants in the fish are within safety levels."This study shows that the levels of dioxins and PCBs in salmon are within internationally recognised safety limits," said FSA Chairman Sir John Krebs.The report said farmed salmon contained much higher levels of toxins than wild salmon, due to the feed given to the captive fish.But the agency said it believed all salmon to be safe for consumption."This study does not raise any new safety concerns. This applies to all the salmon: farmed as well as wild, Scottish as well as imported," it said in a statement.Oily fish, including salmon, is recommended by health experts because it contains high levels of Omega 3 oils which are believed to protect against heart attacks."We advise that the known benefits of eating one portion of oily fish outweigh any possible risks," Krebs said, adding that people should consume at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily.

"Last year we asked a group of experts to advise on the balance of risks and benefits of eating more than this regularly over a lifetime and they will report later this year," he added.The FSA said that on average people in the UK eat one quarter of a portion of oily fish a week.

Study cites toxins in farmed salmon
By Michael Hawthorne, Tribune staff reporter
Yahoo! News
Farm-raised salmon contain higher levels of certain pollutants that can cause cancer than salmon caught in the wild, according to a new study that advises consumers to eat no more than one meal a month of the popular fish. The first thorough study of the topic raises another food dilemma for Americans, who could be torn between the proven benefits of eating fish and the emerging, but still unclear questions about the safety of farm-raised salmon. Salmon consumption has soared in the U.S. in the last decade, in part because the fish is one of the leading sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But in the study published Friday in the journal Science, researchers concluded that salmon's benefits are partially offset by toxic contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a chemical mixture that was banned in the 1970s but remains pervasive in the environment.

Poultry more deadly
January 8, 2004
The Toronto Star
Vernon Yorgason, Associate Professor of Economics, Atkinson College, York University, writes regarding Mad cow verdict Infected animal born here
Jan. 7 to say that as a grandson of Alberta pioneers who pushed cattle from Texas up the Calgary trail, as the son of an Alberta cattle producer, and as a former senior livestock economist with both the governments of Canada and Ontario, he is not surprised that mad cow found in an American dairy cattle herd was born in Canada.
Yorgason says our livestock herds have been integrated for over a hundred years. American dairy and beef producers have historically depended upon Canadian breeder stock, dairy replacements, and feeder calves and cattle to produce up to one third of the value added to their industries. The Canadian government, by allowing imports of European beef cattle from areas free of hoof-and-mouth disease, in turn set up a system that allowed Canadian producers to provide the United States with breeder stock that improved the productivity of their herds by as much as 30 per cent.
Yorgason notes that worldwide, fewer than 50 people have died from this problem; none either in Canada or the U.S., yet, by comparison, uncounted thousands sicken and die from American and Canadian poultry products contaminated with salmonella each year. This occurs because modern mechanical evisceration methods break the intestine, thus contaminating the carcass. Lack of proper hygiene in preparation and processing accounts for much of the problem. Needless to say, this became a much greater problem for us when we acceded to U.S. pressure, and allowed imports of U.S. poultry. We were also complicit, allowing our processors to also move away from the much safer hand evisceration system. So we balance productivity against human lives throughout our food production and processing system.
So why the intense overreaction? The probability of human infection from mad cow disease is infinitesimally small. It is likely that the affected animals ate contaminated food. They either picked this up from pastures frequented by wild animals, or by eating contaminated feedstuffs brought in from elsewhere. As has been reliably reported, half the concentrate fed to cattle in Canada comes from the U.S. The affected cow also lived half its life there.

Food Labeling, Act 2
Push Prompted by Mad Cow Case Could Hinder Spending Bill

(Washington Post, DC)
By Helen Dewar and Dan Morgan

The nation's first reported case of mad cow disease has pumped new life into congressional efforts to require country-of-origin labeling of beef and other foods. It also could complicate passage of a spending bill for most federal agencies when Congress reconvenes in two weeks.

Lawmakers in 2001 ordered such labeling to begin this October. But a provision in the pending $328 billion "omnibus spending bill," inserted at the urging of meatpackers, pork producers and grocery chains, would delay the labeling for two years. Those groups say the proposed regulations would be burdensome and would not ensure a safer food supply.

But consumer groups, allied with many U.S. ranchers and cattlemen, want the labeling to begin on schedule. These ranchers say domestic and foreign consumers want beef from cattle that are born, raised and slaughtered in the United States, where food-safety standards are considered high.

Both sides say last month's discovery of a diseased cow in Washington state has renewed interest in the issue. Federal officials said yesterday that genetic testing confirmed the cow was born in Canada.

"The issue of mad cow disease has really shined a spotlight on this [labeling] issue," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and a strong advocate of country-of-origin labeling. "It provides some real propellant as a major consumer issue that it did not have before."

Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), who helped lead the fight for labeling rules, plans to call on the Bush administration today to take immediate action to implement the requirements. In conversations with about 20 colleagues so far, he said in an interview, he explored the idea of delaying passage of the spending bill to pursue a commitment from the administration to implement the labeling rules. Many senators appeared to favor the idea, Daschle said.

"With the mad cow problem, we cannot wait two years to find out where our meat comes from," he said.

The labeling issue is emerging as a problem for Senate GOP leaders, who plan to bring up the huge spending bill for a test vote when Congress convenes Jan. 20. The House passed the bill in December, but Senate Democrats blocked it, hoping to force reconsideration of several provisions, including new overtime and media consolidation rules. In its current form, the bill can be passed or blocked but not amended.

It is unclear whether Senate Democrats will try to block a vote or delay passage. The bill funds most nonmilitary agencies and departments through September. It also contains billions of dollars for favored programs and home-state projects.

Democratic aides said that even if the omnibus bill is approved, a provision ordering the Agriculture Department to implement the labeling requirement on schedule could be attached to other legislation.

The main sponsor of the provision to delay the labeling is Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.), whose state is home to huge cattle feedlots that fatten some imported animals. His provision was deleted in the Senate, where labeling has bipartisan support from Midwest and Great Plains cattle-raising states. The Senate approved a separate resolution endorsing the labeling.

But GOP House-Senate negotiators agreed to delay the labeling of most agricultural products, except farm-raised and wild fish, for two years. That language is now part of the omnibus spending bill.

"We don't believe this is just a matter of delaying the regulations, but rather an attempt to kill country-of-origin labeling," said Trent Thomas, legislative director for R-CALF USA, which represents ranchers and small livestock producers.

Livestock groups, however, appear divided. Many state livestock organizations endorse labeling as a boon to marketing U.S. beef products at home and abroad.

But the National Cattlemen's Beef Association supports the two-year delay. The group represents mostly cattlemen, but its "product council" includes meatpackers and retailers. The meat industry is particularly concerned about labeling requirements for hamburger, which often mixes meat from animals from several countries.

Bryan Dierlam, legislative director of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, questioned whether the proposed rules would promote a safer food supply. Restaurants, he noted, would not be required to identify the source of their beef.

"The regulatory system should be based on sound science, not just raw emotion," he said.

Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy for the Consumer Federation of America, said the mad cow incident was only one of several recent ones that have given an impetus to going forward with the labeling requirements. She cited imports of contaminated cantaloupes and scallions implicated in an outbreak of hepatitis A. 1-7-04

Statement of the American Meat Institute on announcement that DNA evidence indicates BSE cow born in Canada
January 6, 2004
AMI press release
(Attribute Statement to AMI President J. Patrick Boyle)
U.S. and Canadian officials are to be commended for their thorough, ongoing efforts to determine the source of the BSE-positive cow in Washington State that was announced Dec. 23. This investigation should reassure consumers that this situation is being handled aggressively and is well under control. Americans also should be reassured that the surveillance system worked as it should.
We remain confident in the science, which clearly indicates that BSE is not in meat. Given this fact, U.S. and Canadian beef are as safe today as they were before this announcement.
While no country wants to find BSE in its herds, isolated cases are not unexpected and should be treated as animal health - not food safety issues. The Office of International Epizootics (OIE) - the leading international animal health organization -- has long held the view that minimal BSE-risk nations should be permitted to trade beef internationally. It'S time for us all to start heeding OIE standards.
We urge our trading partners to consider an expedited process for reopening borders to U.S. beef.

Study suggests widespread environmental presence of Enterobacter sakazakii
January 1, 2004
The Lancet
A bacterium that can be dangerous to premature babies and young infants could be more widespread in the environment than previously thought, suggest authors of a research letter in this week's issue of The Lancet.
Enterobacter sakazakii occasionally causes illness among premature babies and infants. In some previously described outbreaks, infant formula-contaminated during factory production or bottle preparation-was recognised as a source for bacterial colonisation; however the degree of wider environmental contamination is unknown.
Chantal Kandhai from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and colleagues used a refined isolation and detection method to investigate the presence of E. sakazakii in various food factories and households. Environmental samples from eight of nine food factories and from a third of households (five of 16) contained the bacterium. The investigators comment that appreciation of the widespread nature of this micro-organism needs to be taken into account when designing preventive control measures.
In an accompanying Commentary (p 5), Jeffrey M. Farber from Health Canada concludes: "Current industry efforts to reduce the occurrence of E sakazakii have focused on improving hygiene practices, coupled with environmental monitoring and end-product testing for the organism. Since powdered infant formula is not sterile and there is the potential risk of contamination during preparation, there is a need for care when preparing and handling reconstituted powdered infant formulas. Health-care professionals should follow recommendations provided by public-health officials and organisations such as the American Dietetic Association, and be alert to possible modifications."

Organic beef not safer than other
January 6, 2004
The Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi)
David Martosko, Director of Research, Center for Consumer Freedom, Washington, D.C., writes that national director of the Organic Consumers Association of Little Marais, Minn., Ronnie Cummins is not a biologist, a veterinarian or an animal agriculture expert (mad cow scare may boost organic beef,Dec. 26). He an environmental radical dedicated to force-feeding Americans overpriced organic food at any cost.
Yet somehow his voice manages to sneak into serious media coverage of mad cow disease.
Cummins frequently claims that mad cow disease hasn't been diagnosed in organic cattle, but Europe would disagree. In 1995, at the height of the UK mad-cow crisis, the British government identified 215 separate cases of mad cow disease on organic farms. And in 2001, Germany first case was discovered in a small slaughterhouse that catered exclusively to the niche market of organic beef.
Around the same time, Cummins openly wished that a U.S. case of mad-cow disease would inspire a British-style risis of confidence?in the American food supply. This, he wrote in his group newsletter, would bring about “a new era of sustainable living and organic agriculture.?Pure propaganda.
Cummins and his radical organic Consumers Association?are engaged in an aggressive public relations offensive on behalf of so-called natural beef marketers. But the truth is that organic meat is no safer than the conventional products Americans buy every day.