Hollis: Routine surveillance proves the BSE system works

2012-05-02T08:00:00Z 2012-05-02T08:43:24Z Hollis: Routine surveillance proves the BSE system works Midwest Producer
May 02, 2012 8:00 am

MANHATTAN, Kan. - A Kansas State University veterinarian wants consumers to know that the USDA's discovery of a sick cow in California shows that the meat inspection system in the United States works.

Larry Hollis said the April 24 news of a dairy cow infected with an atypical form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) means safeguards enacted by federal agencies and the U.S. meat industry show that surveillance and testing measures are doing what they are intended to do.

BSE, which is sometimes referred to as mad cow disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that slowly creates holes in brain tissue.

USDA officials reported that the cow was first delivered to a rendering facility in central California and was never presented for slaughter for human consumption. Rendering is a process that takes waste animal tissue and converts it into byproducts. The tissue does not enter the food supply.

"We've had an enhanced inspection system in place since shortly after the large BSE outbreak occurred in the United Kingdom (started in 1986)," said Hollis, who is a veterinarian with K-State Research and Extension. "It's part of a national system, which also protects us in Kansas. Cattle harvested here in Kansas are inspected, just like they are in all other states throughout the country."

This is the fourth confirmed BSE case ever found in the United States and the first since 2006.

The cow that tested positive for BSE this week was a five-year-old Holstein, Hollis said. It had been taken for rendering. Renderers by law are required to remove the brain from any bovine animal over 30 months of age to test for BSE.

"That's a routine surveillance measure. It's done all the time and on this particular cow it came up positive for an atypical form of BSE," he said.

A more typical form was first associated with a BSE outbreak in the United Kingdom which was linked to the feeding of mammalian meat and bone meal back to cattle. That practice has been banned in the United States since 1997.

This latest case is different as it's an atypical case.

"When we talk about atypical BSE, we talk about one that's spontaneous occurring," Hollis said. "It appears to happen rarely to an individual animal.

The difference is important, he said. Most people don't realize it in the United States but classic Creuzfeldt-Jacob disease, a rare disease in humans, is a spontaneously occurring disease just like this, and it's been recognized historically for many decades before BSE in cattle arrived on the scene. Creutzfeldt-Jakob happens in roughly one in a million people and it's an atypical situation. There's a malformation of prion proteins in the brain. It happens and it causes neurological problems. The same thing can happen in cattle, and that's apparently what's happened in this cow."

"The USDA has done due diligence with this," Hollis said. "They've sent samples on for further testing to a lab in Canada and in the UK to make sure that they agree with U.S. officials that it's an atypical form. If it is, it's just one of those freak of nature things that sometimes happens."

"As we watched BSE unfold in the United Kingdom back in the late 1980s, we were over there watching and when they learned something, we learned with them," he said. "We (U.S. scientists and regulators) put together a surveillance system that's second to none. We do surveillance on all at-risk animals, any suspect animals, plus any animals over 30 months of age going through the rendering process. When you look at the number of cattle harvested in this country, we're looking for a needle in a haystack and the system found it. The system has found it before and it will continue to find it in the future."

Hollis said that the stringent surveillance system is paramount in safeguarding the food supply for consumers: "It's part of the cost of doing business and we're glad to do it so that we don't provide something to consumers that can harm them."

"I don't know how we do it any more safely than we do. I know I'm very confident in eating beef."

Hollis noted that USDA regulations as of the first of the year required that all U.S. rendering companies remove the brain and spinal cord of any animals over 30 months of age and test it - just like they did in California that in this case, turned out positive.

The veterinarian noted that in 2011, only 29 cases of BSE were confirmed worldwide, which was significantly fewer than the 37,000 plus cases that occurred at the peak of the problem in 1992 in the U.K.

They have put the same preventive measures in place that we have, to where they've dropped infections down to very low numbers," Hollis said, adding that most developed countries worldwide have put similar testing and surveillance procedures into place. "That's the reason we've got this down to 29 worldwide, and we anticipate that it will eventually go near zero."

"The U.S. has an aggressive testing system and it works," he said. "Our public can be assured that we have the safest beef supply in the world, and when it comes to testing for BSE or worry about producing Cruetzfeld-Jakob disease, I'd rather eat U.S. beef than anybody else's."

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(2) Comments

  1. hshields
    Report Abuse
    hshields - April 28, 2012 3:05 pm
    The USDA/government are deceiving the public about the true risks from mad cow prion diseases.

    Out of about 35 million animals slaughtered, only 35,000 are tested for mad cow -- 1/10th of one percent. There are 1.9 million "Downers" - diseased, disabled, dead or dying cows each year. At least one million of the downers are rendered into pet and animal feeds. These downers are the animals most likely to have mad cow disease. But ONLY 5000 downers are BSE tested at the renderers - less than 0.005%: "Samples are collected from renderers and 3D/4D facilities, with a quota set at 5,000 samples."
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/bse/surv_in_usa.shtml
    {USDA has not disclosed what happens to the other 900,000 downers each year.}

    -Bovine Amyloidotic Spongiform Encephalopathy is a strain of mad cow disease which the USDA says
    presents no risk to humans or animals "because it is not transmissible".

    Published, peer reviewed studies reveal otherwise:

    "Intraspecies Transmission of BASE Induces Clinical Dullness and Amyotrophic Changes"

    'Several lines of evidence suggest that BASE is highly virulent and easily transmissible to a wide host range. "
    ( Lombardi, G, et al 2008)

    "Atypical BSE in Germany— Proof of transmissibility and biochemical characterization"
    (Buschman, A. et als - 2006)"

    " Atypical BSE (BASE) transmitted from asymptomatic aging cattle to a primate"
    (Comoy, E.E. et als - 2008)"

    Dr. Claudio Soto, et al, have confirmed that Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a prion disease - 6 million US victims - new case every 69 seconds.
    http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/pdf/CLAUDIO-SOTO-CONFIRMS-AD-IS-PRION-DISEASE-OCT-2011.pdf

    The common neuropathy in both AD victims and BASE mad cows is the presence of amyloid plaques in the brains.



    Aging asymptomatic dairy cows infected with BASE mad cow, are ending up untested and undetected in huge industrial mixing vats of hamburger, each containing meat from 50 to 100 animals from multiple states and two to four countries http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow/burger21904.cfm

    Helane Shields, Alton, NH 03809 hshields@tds.net www.Alzheimers-prions.com/
  2. hshields
    Report Abuse
    hshields - April 27, 2012 7:15 pm
    After the third mad cow was discovered in 2006, the USDA basically pronounced the USA "mad cow disease free", and substantially reduced the number of mad cow tests.

    Out of about 30 million animals slaughtered, only 35,000 are tested for mad cow -- less than one-tenth of one percent. Per USDA web site, there are 1.9 million "Downers" - the diseased, disabled, dead or dying cows each year. At least one million of the downer cows are rendered into pet and animal feeds. These downers are the animals most likely to have mad cow disease. But ONLY 5000 downers are BSE tested at the renderers each year - less than 0.005%.
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/bse/surv_in_usa.shtml

    What is particularly disturbing about this fourth mad cow is the fact that USDA finally admitted that asymptomatic, old dairy cows with "BASE" are entering the food chain undetected and untested. -Bovine Amyloidotic Spongiform Encephalopathy is a new strain of mad cow disease which the USDA recently stated presents no risk to humans or animals "because it is not transmissible". Oh, really ?

    Published, peer reviewed studies reveal otherwise:

    "Intraspecies Transmission of BASE Induces Clinical Dullness and Amyotrophic Changes"

    'Several lines of evidence suggest that BASE is highly virulent and easily transmissible to a wide host range. "
    ( Lombardi, G, et al 2008)

    "Atypical BSE in Germany— Proof of transmissibility and biochemical characterization"
    (Buschman, A. et als - 2006)"

    " Atypical BSE (BASE) transmitted from asymptomatic aging cattle to a primate"
    (Comoy, E.E. et als - 2008)"

    Dr. Claudio Soto, Dr. Mathias Jucker, and other scientists have confirmed Alzheimer's Disease is a prion disease - 6 million US victims - new case every 69 seconds.
    http://www.alzheimers-prions.com/pdf/CLAUDIO-SOTO-CONFIRMS-AD-IS-PRION-DISEASE-OCT-2011.pdf


    Three of four US mad cows had the "BASE" strain. The common neuropathy in both AD victims and BASE mad cows is the presence of amyloid plaques in the brains.

    Dr. Richard Marsh proved in 1985 that downer cows fed to farmed mink caused prion disease.
    Mad cow disease has been circulating and amplifying in the US since then, as evidenced by the Alzheimer's (and Autism?*) epidemics?

    Prion disease pathways of risk are aging asymptomatic dairy cows infected with BASE mad cow, which are ending up undetected and untested in industrial meat packing vats of hamburger, each containing meat from 50 to 100 animals from multiple states and two to four countries http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow/burger21904.cfm

    Helane Shields, PO Box 1133, Alton, NH 03809 hshields@tds.net www.Alzheimers-prions.com/
    603-875-3842


    ***********************************************************************************************
    * Autism epidemic in US has claimed over one million victims.

    The Prion Institute in Alberta, Canada, is
    investigating Autism spectrum disorder as a prion disease
    PAGE 41: http://www.prioninstitute.ca/forms/WEBSITE%20AR.pdf
    and
    http://www.prioninstitute.ca/index.php?page=webpages&menucat=42&id=26&action=displaypage&side=1

    "Research Lead: Dr. David Westaway, University of Alberta
    Project: "Extending the spectrum of Prionopathies to Amyotrophic Lateral
    Sclerosis and Autism" "
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