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USDA Eases Regulations on Beef Imports in Regard to ‘Mad Cow Disease’

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final ruling late Friday afternoon easing regulations on beef imports in regard to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the fatal disease in cattle also known as “Mad Cow Disease.”

The new rule will bring the United States’ stance on beef imports in line with international standards that base trade policies on the scientifically perceived risk of animals or animal products harboring the disease, according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

While the agency said the move modernizes the U.S.’s beef import regulations, some industry and consumer groups have come out against the new rules, saying they needlessly endanger U.S. consumers and the country’s cattle population.

Under the new rule, some current restrictions on beef imports will be lifted based on countries that have a “negligible risk for BSE,” a status determined by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Commodities that pose more than a negligible risk may still be restricted, but not necessarily.

The rules could potentially reopen beef imports to the U.S. from the European Union, which have been restricted since 1998. The U.S. imports about 8.1 percent of its beef supply, predominantly in the form of live cattle from Canada and Mexico. About 10 percent of the U.S. beef supply is exported, mostly in the form of high quality cuts.

The move to align its BSE standards with international policies may also open U.S. beef exports to more foreign markets. In May, the OIE upgraded the status of U.S. BSE risk from “controlled” to “negligible,” the safest possible classification.

As an example of how the rule would change imports, the USDA said that boneless beef could be imported from countries that have had cases of BSE as boneless beef presents a scientifically negligible risk of transmitting BSE. Most imports have previously been prohibited from any country that had an indigenous case of BSE.

“These actions will further demonstrate to our trading partners our commitment to international standards and sound science,” the agency wrote in a fact sheet, “and we are hopeful it will help open new markets and remove remaining restrictions on U.S. cattle and cattle products.”

In a statement, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George said the rule would be integral to expanding international beef trade and called it “great news for the U.S. cattle industry.”

Bill Bullard, president of rancher trade group R-CALF, disagreed, saying that the USDA’s new rule “radically” relaxed import restrictions for areas where BSE continues to persist.

Bullard pointed out that the European Union reported four new cases of BSE in 2013, saying that the new rule “opens the door to allow U.S. meatpackers to begin supplementing tight U.S. beef supplies with beef of questionable safety from Europe.”

Europe has reportedly detected 83 new cases of BSE since 2010, a significant reduction from past decades. Since the 1980s, the United Kingdom has seen more than 180,000 cases.

Bullard said the new rule also underscored the need for country-of-origin labeling laws, which are opposed by the NCBA and members of Congress via the 2013 Farm Bill.

The new rule could put both consumers and the U.S. cattle herd at risk, according to Dr. Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at Consumers Union.

Hansen cited a recent study that found roughly one in 2,000 people in the U.K. were silent carriers of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human form of BSE.

At least 177 U.K. citizens – and 49 other people around the world – have died from vCJD since 1996. One death has occurred in the past two years in the U.K., the country recognized as having the largest exposure to BSE, according to the BBC.

Humans can contract vCJD from eating meat contaminated with brain or spinal tissue from cattle infected with BSE. The agent that transmits BSE is not destroyed in the cooking process.

Countries around the world have tried to severely control the spread of BSE since its appearance in the 1980s. The disease began spreading through the practice of mixing cattle meat and bone meal into the feed of cattle herds.

BSE causes the brain and spinal cords of cattle to deteriorate. Symptoms typically appear in cattle older than 30 months.

The U.K. has seen more than 180,000 cases of BSE in cattle, by far the most of any country. By comparison, France and Portugal have each seen roughly 900, the second most. The U.S. has had four cases.

In the U.S. and other countries regulating BSE, cattle feed can no longer contain meat of other ruminant animals. USDA runs a surveillance program for BSE, and slaughterhouses are required to remove the brains and spinal cords from all carcasses.

USDA will file the new beef import rule in the Federal Register in the coming days. It takes effect 90 days from the filing date.

© Food Safety News
  • http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/ Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

    I AGREE WITH MR. BULLARD, it’s all about trade and money, BSE TSE PRION aka
    mad cow type disease and sound science there from, was thrown out the window by
    the USDA et al that fateful day in December 23, 2003, when the USDA lost it’s
    ‘gold card’ of supposedly being BSE FREE, (that was and still is a sad joke
    though), that’s when mad cow junk science was adopted by the USDA…

    see why below…kind regards, terry

    Board meeting agenda: 5 November 2013

    Food Standards Agency FSA 13/11/05

    Open Board – 05 November 2013

    1

    BSE – A REPORT ON SURVEILLANCE AND ENFORCEMENT OF CONTROLS ON SPECIFIED
    RISK MATERIAL AND ANIMAL FEED – MARCH to AUGUST 2013

    Report by Steve Wearne, Director of Policy

    For further information contact Chris Walding on 0207 276 8334, email
    chris.walding@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk or Liz Olney on 07738 198928, email
    liz.olney@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

    SUMMARY

    1.1. At the meeting on 11 December 2012 the FSA Board agreed to advise
    Ministers that it would be acceptable on grounds of negligible risk to consumers
    and proportionality to stop BSE testing of healthy cattle slaughtered for human
    consumption in the UK.1 This advice was subject to higher-risk cattle aged over
    48 months continuing to be tested for BSE and the specified risk material (SRM)
    and feed controls remaining in force. This change in BSE testing requirements
    was implemented on 1 March 2013.

    1.2. In making its decision, the Board requested a regular report on the
    results of BSE monitoring and enforcement of feed and SRM controls to ensure
    confidence in the continued effectiveness of the BSE controls.

    1.3 The Board is asked to:

    • Note the contents of this paper;

    • Comment on the data presented and the action being taken by the FSA on
    the issues raised; and

    • Note that results of increased monitoring will be included in the next
    six monthly report to the Board.

    INTRODUCTION

    snip…

    DISCUSSION

    BSE Monitoring Data

    5.1. In the period 1 March 2013 – 31 August 2013, a total of 77,778 higher
    risk cattle were tested in GB with a further 17,295 tested in NI. Only two
    positive tests were reported, both being from fallen stock that were not
    destined for human consumption. Cross checks on animals slaughtered and testing
    data have not revealed any animals requiring testing that missed tests and
    entered the food chain. Two FBOs have been referred for investigation for
    failure to test animals that required testing. These failures were found during
    routine

    Food Standards Agency FSA 13/11/05

    Open Board – 05 November 2013

    3

    checks at the slaughterhouse and no untested carcases entered the food
    chain.

    DEVOLUTION IMPLICATIONS

    7.1. No specific devolved issues.

    CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT

    8.1. No specific consumer engagement on the issues raised in this paper is
    envisaged at this stage. Information on the breaches of SRM controls referred to
    in this paper will be published on the website when investigations are
    completed, in line with normal practice. The FBOs directly involved in the
    breaches will be identified in these reports.

    8.2 Consumers generally, and the families of vCJD victims in particular,
    may be concerned about these breaches and the effectiveness of SRM controls in
    general in protecting human health from the potential BSE risk. They will want
    to be re-assured that the corrective measures that have been, and are being,
    taken to tighten controls on the removal of bovine vertebral column will be
    effective. We have described in section 5.13 above the action that has been
    taken, and we will include results of increased monitoring in the next six
    monthly report to the Board.

    CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    9.1. The relaxation of BSE testing controls has provided a renewed focus on
    SRM controls. This report identifies the need for these controls to be more
    effective and robust. The FSA and industry stakeholders are therefore taking
    action to ensure that consumer safeguards are maintained, through raised
    awareness, increased monitoring and supervision, and robust application of the
    enforcement hierarchy.

    9.2. Ensuring strict adherence to operational requirements to verify FBO
    controls and with additional assurance checks and notification procedures for
    FBOs, the FSA is guarding against industry non-compliance with application of
    the enforcement hierarchy where there are non-compliances. The FSA will keep the
    effectiveness of the controls under review, including an assessment of the
    benefits of the additional controls introduced in September at slaughterhouses
    dispatching OTM carcases for off-site VC removal, and FSA communications to
    officials at receiving plants to ensure necessary supervision is in place.
    Results of the increased monitoring will be reported to the FSA Board in the
    next six monthly report.

    Food Standards Agency FSA 13/11/05

    Open Board – 05 November 2013

    9

    9.3. The Board is asked to:

    • note the contents of this paper;

    • comment on the data presented and the action being taken by the FSA on
    the issues raised; and

    • note that results of increased monitoring will be included in the next
    six monthly report to the Board.

    snip…see full text ;

    http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/board/board-papers-2013/fsa-131105.pdf

    please see ;

    Conclusions

    In conclusion, demonstration of transmission of the disease even with low
    concentrations of PrPsc [54], highlights BSE’s ability to adopt different
    behavior, even sometimes similar to Scrapie [55], should reinforce that
    vigilance is required in interpreting results so that subtle changes do not go
    unnoticed. Additionally, to maintain a continued supervision of the techniques
    which are applied in the routine diagnosis would prove essential for the
    ultimate eradication of the disease. A study of the actual BSE presence should
    be considered as necessary because a state of sporadic prevalence could exist
    [56] and samples without a diagnosis [57,58] could reach the food chain,
    involving therefore a risk for public health.

    Keywords

    TSEs, BSE, Confirmatory diagnosis, Non-conclusive cases

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1746-6148-9-212.pdf

    From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

    Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 3:58 PM

    To: Science.Advisory.Council@defra.gsi.gov.uk

    Subject: Idiopathic Brainstem Neuronal Chromatolysis (IBNC): a novel prion
    protein related disorder of cattle?

    Greetings Honorable Science Advisory Council et al @ DEFRA,

    I wish to ask a question about something I have seen no updates on, that
    concerns me.

    IDIOPATHIC BRAINSTEM NEURONAL CHROMATOLYSIS IBNC or what I some times call,
    IBNC BSE.

    I have seen nothing in the scientific literature updated on this in years,
    since around 2008, then it was like it fell off the face of the earth ?

    can you please give me some sort of update on the IBNC BSE science to date
    ?

    how many cases of IBNC BSE have been detected ?

    is there an ongoing surveillance for this the IBNC BSE, and are the BSE
    test even capable of detecting it ?

    could the USA and or North America even detect, if they were even looking
    for it ?

    latest studies, if any more since “All of the 15 cattle tested showed that
    the brains had abnormally accumulated PrP” ?

    thank you,

    kind regards,

    terry

    SNIP…see full text ;

    MAD COW TESTING ONLY CATCHES SOME MAD COWS

    SPREADING IT ALL AROUND

    Saturday, October 19, 2013

    ***A comparative study of modified confirmatory techniques and additional
    immuno-based methods for non-conclusive autolytic Bovine spongiform
    encephalopathy cases

    http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-comparative-study-of-modified.html

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    FSA MORE BSE MAD COW CONTROL BREACHES JUNE 2013

    http://madcowtesting.blogspot.com/2013/06/fsa-more-bse-mad-cow-control-breaches.html

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    UK FSA TSE BSE Board meeting agenda: 5 November 2013

    http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2013/10/uk-fsa-tse-bse-board-meeting-agenda-5.html

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations BSE TSE
    PRION 2013

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2013/09/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and.html

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    SPECIFIED RISK MATERIAL (SRM) CONTROL VERIFICATION TASK FSIS NOTICE 70-13
    10/30/13

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2013/10/specified-risk-material-srm-control.html

    Wednesday, October 09, 2013

    WHY THE UKBSEnvCJD ONLY THEORY IS SO POPULAR IN IT’S FALLACY, £41,078,281
    in compensation REVISED

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-ukbsenvcjd-only-theory-is-so.html

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    CJD REPORT 1994 increased risk for consumption of veal and venison and lamb

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/10/cjd-report-1994-increased-risk-for.html

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    ***Researchers estimate one in 2,000 people in the UK carry variant CJD
    proteins

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/10/researchers-estimate-one-in-2000-people.html

    Friday, August 16, 2013

    *** Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) biannual update August 2013 U.K. and
    Contaminated blood products induce a highly atypical prion disease devoid of
    PrPres in primates

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/08/creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-cjd-biannual.html

    WHAT about the sporadic CJD TSE proteins ?

    WE now know that some cases of sporadic CJD are linked to atypical BSE and
    atypical Scrapie, so why are not MORE concerned about the sporadic CJD, and all
    it’s sub-types $$$

    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease CJD cases rising North America updated report
    August 2013

    Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease CJD cases rising North America with Canada seeing
    an extreme increase of 48% between 2008 and 2010

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/08/creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-cjd-cases.html

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    CJD TSE Prion Disease Cases in Texas by Year, 2003-2012

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/10/cjd-tse-prion-disease-cases-in-texas-by.html

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    NORDION (US), INC., AND BIOAXONE BIOSCIENCES, INC., Settles $90M Mad Cow
    TSE prion Contamination Suit Cethrin(R)

    Case 0:12-cv-60739-RNS Document 1 Entered on FLSD Docket 04/26/2012 Page 1
    of 15

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/09/nordion-us-inc-and-bioaxone-biosciences.html

    with great sadness and disgust, I must inform you that our federal
    government has failed us again, and chose the industry over sound science, with
    regards to TSE prion disease, aka mad cow type disease…tss

    Saturday, November 2, 2013

    APHIS Finalizes Bovine Import Regulations in Line with International Animal
    Health Standards while enhancing the spread of BSE TSE prion mad cow type
    disease around the Globe

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2013/11/aphis-finalizes-bovine-import.html

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    APHIS USDA Administrator Message to Stakeholders: Agency Vision and Goals
    Eliminating ALL remaining BSE barriers to export market

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2013/07/aphis-usda-administrator-message-to.html

    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    ***Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Animal Carcass
    Management [Docket No. APHIS-2013-0044]

    http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2013/11/environmental-impact-statements.html

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    World Organization for Animal Health Recommends United States’ BSE Risk
    Status Be Upgraded

    Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack:

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2013/02/world-organization-for-animal-health.html

    2013 USA

    Monday, September 02, 2013

    Atypical BSE: role of the E211K prion polymorphism

    Research Project: TRANSMISSION, DIFFERENTIATION, AND PATHOBIOLOGY OF
    TRANSMISSIBLE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHIES

    Location: Virus and Prion Research Unit

    http://bse-atypical.blogspot.com/2013/09/atypical-bse-role-of-e211k-prion.html

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    Evaluation of the Zoonotic Potential of Transmissible Mink Encephalopathy

    We previously described the biochemical similarities between PrPres derived
    from L-BSE infected macaque and cortical MM2 sporadic CJD: those observations
    suggest a link between these two uncommon prion phenotypes in a primate model
    (it is to note that such a link has not been observed in other models less
    relevant from the human situation as hamsters or transgenic mice overexpressing
    ovine PrP [28]). We speculate that a group of related animal prion strains
    (L-BSE, c-BSE and TME) would have a zoonotic potential and lead to prion
    diseases in humans with a type 2 PrPres molecular signature (and more
    specifically type 2B for vCJD)

    snip…

    ***Together with previous experiments performed in ovinized and bovinized
    transgenic mice and hamsters [8,9] indicating similarities between TME and
    L-BSE, the data support the hypothesis that L-BSE could be the origin of the TME
    outbreaks in North America and Europe during the mid-1900s.

    http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2013/09/evaluation-of-zoonotic-potential-of.html

    kind regards, terry

  • Madeleine Watt

    Where is the petition? Or is there one. Sorry if I missed something obvious.

  • Bob Haywood

    We import and export almost equal amounts of beef. Why not keep American beef here? It’s local, it’s practical and encourages economic growth.

  • crs

    How nice for the beef industry. They can import cheap meat, enjoy increased export opportunity and have the American consumer suffer the consequences as we already suffer the consequences of the environmental havoc large scale cattle farming wreaks. Tie it up with the country of origin labelling ban and it’s the perfect package!