Subject: Transcript of Questions and Answers: Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner with Media After U.S. Meat Export Federation Remarks
Date: November 1, 2007 at 1:07 pm PST
Release No. 0317.07
Office of Communications (202)720-4623
Transcript of Questions and Answers: Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner with Media After U.S. Meat Export Federation Remarks
Washington D.C., October 29, 2007
Q: -- partners in Korea? Is that what you said?
SEC. CONNER: Well, as you guys know we had a trade delegation that's spent the better part of a couple of weeks traveling to five different countries I believe in Asia. We had heard some concern that perhaps, there was concern that we were focused on Japan and Korea and not pushing others. And we wanted to send a strong message that we expect all of our international trading partners to trade in beef and all our beef products according to international OIE standards. So this was an important mission, not only to continue our efforts with Japan and Korea, but at the same time to reach out to those other countries who, as well, are expected to trade according to those standards.
A delegation was over there for a couple of weeks. They are back I believe as of yesterday. In fact they have returned, so I've not had the opportunity to sit down and be fully briefed, but some of what they report is that there has been some progress made in those countries, that there's been expression of some interest in moving towards international standards. We're going to follow up obviously on these things because again we do expect all of Asia and all of our international trading partners to trade according to these standards, and we're not in any way changing that, and just believe that's the only way you're going to have reasonable trade in beef around the globe is according to those standards.
REPORTER: Which, countries showed interest?
REPORTER: -- over the weekend it was revealed that the Topps beef was sourced out of Canada. Can you explain what that will mean in terms of import food safety working group recommendations and any new recommendations coming out of USDA plus the trade implications?
SEC. CONNER: Well, let me just say, Sally, the comment I'll have on that is obviously we worked very, very closely with CFIA from the beginning. We've had such a great working relationship throughout all our beef issues with Canada, with the Canadian government, the CFIA in particular. You know, they had been more than cooperative with us in terms of tracking down this material and sourcing this plant that has been identified. I'm confident that working with Canada we're going to continue to work through these issues and get this resolved at this point. So that's all I'll say.
REPORTER: -- international trade expand, (unclear) safety of U.S. beef, or I should say the safety of beef consumed by Americans?
SEC. CONNER: Well, Chuck, you've heard me say on numerous occasions I believe our food supply is safe, our beef supply is safe. We've had this circumstance for this one particular case that has led to a sizeable recall. I think we've openly identified with you issues that came about as a result of that particular recall that we have put in place several changes that we felt strengthened our own system that we have in place. And those changes will enable us to move much more quickly on a recall than perhaps what our guidelines would have allowed us to do in the past.
We're going to continue to look and analyze this situation, again to make sure we have the absolute best system in place for protection of our consumers. Most of that you've seen already in terms of the announcements that came out of FSIS shortly after the major recall was issued for the product coming out of New Jersey.
REPORTER: Sir, (unclear) Prime Minister (unclear) be in town meeting with President (unclear). What is your expectation with regards to the beef issue?
SEC. CONNER: Well, again, the president on numerous occasions has stated to our trading partners and to the Japanese and Koreans in particular that he expects our beef producers in the United States to be able to trade beef internationally according to OIE standards. International, science-based standards. And the President has been personally involved in making this case. We appreciate his personal involvement in making that case, and I am certain that this is going to be underscored again with the Japanese that we expect, as they have indicated before, that they are willing to move forward to trade according to those international standards, international standards that will ensure that Japanese consumers not only have access to beef but have access to a very, very safe beef supply. And again I would expect the President to underscore that.
REPORTER: When you started did you expect it would be almost November and we'd still be dealing with opening markets with Japan?
SEC. CONNER: Well, I won't comment on that directly, but obviously it reflects the frustration that we've got at this point. It's been too long, Alan. I'll just say that. It's been simply too long. We are frustrated. We are going to continue to press this point, press again for full OIE compliance. And we appreciate the work of our trade experts the last couple of weeks to make this case on many, many points around the globe. And as I have indicated, we will be reporting perhaps some progress, but a lot more needs to be done. We're frustrated. It's time to get this issue behind us.
REPORTER: Despite OIE guidelines, international guidelines, have you gotten – is Japan still set in only wanting to accept beef of under 30-month-age cattle, not accept culled cattle?
SEC. CONNER: Well, the Japanese can state their own position. Our position with the Japanese is, they have agreed to live by international standards. And international standards are not 30 month and younger animals. International standards in Japan would allow us to trade all products from all age cattle into that country. And that's what we expect Japan to do because that's what they have agreed to do by being a part of this international body.
REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, on the Peru Free Trade Agreement you'd expressed some hope about this month. Have any congressional leaders indicated when they might be moving on that?
SEC. CONNER: I'm not aware of what they are saying in terms of the timing of that. Again, obviously they come out of both committees with strong votes, strong bipartisan votes I might add, and so we'd expect them to move forward on this very quickly. We are going to continue to press for rapid adoption of that particular agreement as well as the other three going forward.
REPORTER: On beef again, had you talked to the Asian countries about going to the SPS Committee in Geneva about, with the complaint or at least the discussion within the committee?
SEC. CONNER: I have not had any discussions in that regard. Again, we're going to continue to make the case for these international standards, and we just expect those countries who have agreed to live by these standards, expect others in terms of trading of their products, to live by international standards, to say simply, "We're a part of this body, we're a part of the international body; this is what we have agreed to trade by, this is how we expect others to treat us. Therefore, this is how we're going to treat U.S. beef."
We're frustrated. You know, we're going to continue to press that point. And next steps, we'll have to see, but we're going to continue to press that point as again we have in the last two weeks with this high level delegation that has been to the five different Asian countries.
REPORTER: Different topic.
REPORTER: So may I go back to the beef issue? So that you mentioned that, so that some of the nations are interested in moving into the OIE standards. I'm just wondering, which countries show that?
SEC. CONNER: Well, in terms of this trip I'll be having more to say about that at a later point. I'll just again report as I said in my remarks in here that we feel like we have made some progress towards moving toward OIE standards in certain situations.
REPORTER: -- with Japan?
SEC. CONNER: I'm not going to say anything more. You guys heard my remarks.
REPORTER: What are the next steps now that the Asian trip is over?
SEC. CONNER: Well, obviously we need to get a full briefing from the group that just returned over the weekend, both Sue Schwab and I. I will be meeting with her in the middle part of this week, Wednesday I believe Sue and I are scheduled to have a meeting. We'll plot out our next steps based upon that briefing. Obviously we're going to continue to reach out to all of our counterparts in these countries, continue to press them with just the strongest possible message that we can: "Simply do what you said you were going to do. This is not a tough situation. You are a part of the international body, you've been a part of these negotiations, you've indicated what you're going to do. Fulfill that obligation, open up your markets according to the science-based standards of the OIE."
Again, it's not difficult. It's something that for the sake of international trade, for the sake of all exports moving around the country, around the globe freely, they should be willing to do because these are countries that are champions of trade, champions of trade according to international standards. Now they just need to do it for this particular product.
OH my, where do i start. let's start with the OIE this, OIE that, BSe, and what this OIE gold stamp actually means ;
(Adopted by the International Committee of the OIE on 23 May 2006)
11. Information published by the OIE is derived from appropriate
declarations made by the official Veterinary Services of Member Countries.
The OIE is not responsible for inaccurate publication of country disease
status based on inaccurate information or changes in epidemiological status
or other significant events that were not promptly reported to then Central
WHAT this OIE gold stamp actually means, you can get this stamp of approval simply by what ever data you submit, no matter how false it may be, simple as that, and we know just how honest this administration has been in the past. it was about nothing more than trade, commodities and futures. ...TSS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2004
Media Inquiries: 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
Statement on Texas Cow With Central Nervous System Symptoms
On Friday, April 30 th , the Food and Drug Administration learned that a cow with central nervous system symptoms had been killed and shipped to a processor for rendering into animal protein for use in animal feed.
FDA, which is responsible for the safety of animal feed, immediately began an investigation. On Friday and throughout the weekend, FDA investigators inspected the slaughterhouse, the rendering facility, the farm where the animal came from, and the processor that initially received the cow from the slaughterhouse.
FDA's investigation showed that the animal in question had already been rendered into "meat and bone meal" (a type of protein animal feed). Over the weekend FDA was able to track down all the implicated material. That material is being held by the firm, which is cooperating fully with FDA.
Cattle with central nervous system symptoms are of particular interest because cattle with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, also known as "mad cow disease," can exhibit such symptoms. In this case, there is no way now to test for BSE. But even if the cow had BSE, FDA's animal feed rule would prohibit the feeding of its rendered protein to other ruminant animals (e.g., cows, goats, sheep, bison).
FDA is sending a letter to the firm summarizing its findings and informing the firm that FDA will not object to use of this material in swine feed only. If it is not used in swine feed, this material will be destroyed. Pigs have been shown not to be susceptible to BSE. If the firm agrees to use the material for swine feed only, FDA will track the material all the way through the supply chain from the processor to the farm to ensure that the feed is properly monitored and used only as feed for pigs.
To protect the U.S. against BSE, FDA works to keep certain mammalian protein out of animal feed for cattle and other ruminant animals. FDA established its animal feed rule in 1997 after the BSE epidemic in the U.K. showed that the disease spreads by feeding infected ruminant protein to cattle.
Under the current regulation, the material from this Texas cow is not allowed in feed for cattle or other ruminant animals. FDA's action specifying that the material go only into swine feed means also that it will not be fed to poultry.
FDA is committed to protecting the U.S. from BSE and collaborates closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on all BSE issues. The animal feed rule provides crucial protection against the spread of BSE, but it is only one of several such firewalls. FDA will soon be improving the animal feed rule, to make this strong system even stronger.
THE NEXT MAD COW IN TEXAS, FINALLY, AFTER AN ACT OF CONGRESS, AND THE HONORABLE PHYLLIS FONG OF THE O.I.G,
FINALLY THIS ANIMAL WAS CONFIRMED AS H-BASE MAD COW, MORE VIRULENT TO HUMANS THAN THE UK BSE MAD COW STRAIN. THIS ANIMALS TISSUE SAT ON THE SHELF FOR SOME 7 MONTHS BEFORE FINALLY CONFIRMING, WHILE THE BSE MRR POLICY WAS IN THE MAKING,
we would not have wanted to jeopardize that would we $$$ p.s. there was another animal about this same time that those tissue samples too sat on the shelf for some 4 months, and due to the tissue being preserved in the way they were, only the least likely test that could detect it was used.
Release No. 0336.05
USDA Jim Rogers 202-690-4755
FDA Rae Jones 301-827- 6242
Email this page
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Investigation Results of Texas Cow That Tested Positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Aug. 30, 2005
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have completed their investigations regarding a cow that tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in June 2005. The agencies conducted these investigations in collaboration with the Texas Animal Health Commission and the Texas Feed and Fertilizer Control Service.
Our results indicate that the positive animal, called the index animal, was born and raised on a ranch (termed the "index farm") in Texas. It was a cream colored Brahma cross approximately 12 years old at the time of its death. It was born prior to the implementation of the 1997 feed ban instituted by FDA to help minimize the risk that a cow might consume feed contaminated with the agent thought to cause BSE. The animal was sold through a livestock sale in November of 2004 and transported to a packing plant. The animal was dead upon arrival at the packing plant and was then shipped to a pet food plant where it was sampled for BSE. The plant did not use the animal in its product, and the carcass was destroyed in November 2004.
APHIS attempted to trace all adult animals that left the index farm after 1990, as well as all progeny born within 2 years of the index animal's death. Together, these animals are called animals of interest.
During the course of the investigation, USDA removed and tested a total of 67 animals of interest from the farm where the index animal's herd originated. All of these animals tested negative for BSE. 200 adult animals of interest were determined to have left the index farm. Of these 200, APHIS officials determined that 143 had gone to slaughter, two were found alive (one was determined not to be of interest because of its age and the other tested negative), 34 are presumed dead, one is known dead and 20 have been classified as untraceable. In addition to the adult animals, APHIS was looking for two calves born to the index animal. Due to record keeping and identification issues, APHIS had to trace 213 calves. Of these 213 calves, 208 entered feeding and slaughter channels, four are presumed to have entered feeding and slaughter channels and one calf was untraceable.
To determine whether contaminated feed could have played a role in the index animal's infection, FDA and the Texas Feed and Fertilizer Control Service conducted a feed investigation with two main objectives: 1) to identify all protein sources in the animal=s feed history that could potentially have been the source of the BSE agent, and 2) to verify that cattle leaving the herd after 1997 were identified by USDA as animals of interest and were rendered in compliance with the 1997 BSE/ruminant feed rule.
The feed history investigation identified 21 feeds or feed supplements that were used on the farm since 1990. These feed ingredients were purchased from three retail feed stores and were manufactured at nine feed mills. This investigation found that no feed or feed supplements used on the farm since 1997 were formulated to contain prohibited mammalian protein. Due to this finding, FDA has concluded that the animal was most likely infected prior to the 1997 BSE/ruminant feed rule.
The investigation into the disposition of herd mates from this farm involved visits to nine slaughter plants and eight rendering plants. The investigation found that all of the rendering plants were operating in compliance with the BSE/ruminant feed rule. A review of the inspection history of each of these rendering firms found no violations of the FDA feed ban rule.
APHIS and FDA are very pleased with the results of their investigations, which show the animals of interest did not present a threat to livestock and that the ruminant feed rule is being followed. The U.S. maintains an interlocking system of safeguards designed to prevent BSE from entering the human and animal food chain. USDA also remains vigilant in its attempt to find BSE in the United States. To date, there have been more than 450,000 animals tested in the last 14 months and only two BSE positive animals found in this country.
BESIDES the Texas mad cow that sat on the shelf for 7+ months before the Honorable Phyllis Fong of the OIG finally did the end around Johanns et al and finally had Weybridge bring that negative cow back from the dead to finally being a confirmed mad cow (hint, hint, getting MRR implemented first), was this simply another bumbling of BSE protocol, or just same old same old;
Jim Rogers (202) 690-4755
USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623
Statement by Chief Veterinary Medical Officer John Clifford Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Regarding Non-Definitive BSE Test Results
July 27, 2005
Our laboratory ran the IHC test on the sample and received non-definitive results that suggest the need for further testing. As we have previously experienced, it is possible for an IHC test to yield differing results depending on the “slice” of tissue that is tested. Therefore, scientists at our laboratory and at Weybridge will run the IHC test on additional “slices” of tissue from this animal to determine whether or not it was infected with BSE. We will announce results as soon as they are compiled, which we expect to occur by next week.
I would note that the sample was taken in April, at which time the protocols allowed for a preservative to be used (protocols changed in June 2005). The sample was not submitted to us until last week, because the veterinarian set aside the sample after preserving it and simply forgot to send it in. On that point, I would like to emphasize that while that time lag is not optimal, it has no implications in terms of the risk to human health. The carcass of this animal was destroyed, therefore there is absolutely no risk to human or animal health from this animal.
"The sample was submitted to us by a private veterinarian. As an extension of our enhanced surveillance program, accredited private veterinarians who often visit farms in remote areas collect samples when warranted. The sample in question today was taken from a cow that was at least 12 years of age and experienced complications during calving.
"The veterinarian treated the sample with a preservative which readies it for testing using the immunohistochemistry test, an internationally recognized confirmatory test for BSE.
"Neither the rapid screening test nor the Western blot confirmatory test can be conducted on a sample that has been preserved. Our laboratory ran the IHC test on the sample and received non-definitive results that suggest the need for further testing.
"As we have previously experienced, it is possible for an IHC test to yield differing results, depending on the slice of tissue that is tested. Therefore scientists at our laboratory and at Weybridge will run the IHC test on additional slices of tissue from this animal to determine whether or not it was infected with BSE.
"We will announce results as soon as they are compiled, which we expect to occur by next week.
NOW, all the above announced July 27, 2005. SO, the other 'inconclusive' sample has been sitting on the shelf since April, some 4 months earlier, give or take a few days. NOW, what has been going on while this other inconclusive BSE/BASE mad cow sits on the shelf. Lets look at that BSE MRR COMMODITY time frame ;-)
7/20/05 USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, National Center for Import and Export: Protocol for The Importation of Farm Raised Cervids from Canada PDF USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, National Center for Import and Export: Protocol for The Importation of Camelids from Canada PDF
7/15/05 Importation of Bovines (Cattle or Bison) from Canada for Feeding PDF BSE Minimal-Risk Regions and the Importation of Live Animals Importers, Brokers, and Other Interested Parties PDF BSE Minimal-Risk Regions and the Importation of Live Animals Accredited Veterinarians or Other Interested Parties PDF USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, National Center for Import and Export: Protocol for The Importation of Cattle or Bison for Feeding from Canada PDF USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, National Center for Import and Export: Protocol for the Importation of Cattle, Bison, Sheep and Goats for Immediate Slaughter from Canada PDF USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, National Center for Import and Export: Protocol for the Importation of Sheep and Goats for Feeding from Canada PDF Animal Products Implementation: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Minimal-Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities from Canada PDF Johanns Announces Next Steps for Importing Canadian Cattle Transcript of Tele-News Conference with Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Minimal-Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities— FINAL RULE— 9 CFR Parts 93, 94, 95, and 96 [Docket No. 03-080-3] Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Minimal-Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities; Partial Delay of Applicability [Docket No. 03-080-6] — Final rule; partial delay of applicability — 9 CFR Parts 94 and 95
Published March 11, 2005 — 70 FR 12112-12113 Text PDF • Risk Document PDF • Economic Analysis PDF • Appendices to economic analysis PDF • Final environmental assessment PDF • Final Rule on BSE and Minimal-Risk Regions (Factsheet) • Questions and Answers for Minimal Risk/Canada Rule • Port of Entry for Eligible Ruminants 7/14/05 Secretary Johanns Statement on Ninth Circuit Court Ruling
04/01/05 Canada, Mexico And United States Release Harmonized North American BSE Strategy Harmonization of a BSE Strategy (PDF)
03/17/05 U.S. Government Requests Appeal In Minimal-Risk Rule Case
03/04/05 BSE Minimal-Risk Regions and Importation of Live Animals and Commodities From Canada Delay of Effective Date (Memo)
03/03/05 Statement By Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Regarding The Temporary Injunction Issued By The U.S. District Court For The District Of Montana Regarding USDA's Minimal-Risk Rule
KEEP THEM DOGGIES ROLLING, RAWHIDE, ye ha !
NOT to forget ;
It should be noted that since the enhanced surveillance program began, USDA has also conducted approximately 9,200 routine IHC tests on samples that did not first undergo rapid testing. This was done to ensure that samples inappropriate for the rapid screen test were still tested, and also to monitor and improve upon IHC testing protocols. Of those 9,200 routine tests, one test returned a non-definitive result on July 27, 2005. That sample underwent additional testing at NVSL, as well as at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, England, and results were negative. ......
USDA Testing Protocols and Quality Assurance Procedures
In November 2004, USDA announced that its rapid screening test produced an inconclusive BSE test result. A contract laboratory ran its rapid screening test on a brain sample collected for testing and produced three high positive reactive results. As required, the contract laboratory forwarded the inconclusive sample to APHIS’ National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for confirmation. NVSL repeated the rapid screening test, which again produced three high positive reactive results. Following established protocol, NVSL ran its confirmatory test, an immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, which was interpreted as negative for BSE.
Faced with conflicting results between the rapid screening and IHC tests, NVSL scientists recommended additional testing to resolve the discrepancy but APHIS headquarters officials concluded that no further testing was necessary since testing protocols were followed and the confirmatory test was negative. In our discussions with APHIS officials, they justified their decision to not do additional testing because the IHC test is internationally recognized as the "gold standard" of testing. Also, they believed that
USDA/OIG-A/50601-10-KC/ Page iv
conducting additional tests would undermine confidence in USDA’s testing protocols.
OIG obtained evidence that indicated additional testing was prudent. We came to this conclusion because the rapid screening tests produced six high positive reactive results, the IHC tests conflicted, and various standard operating procedures were not followed. Also, our review of the relevant scientific literature, other countries’ protocols, and discussions with experts led us to conclude that additional confirmatory testing should be considered in the event of conflicting test results.
To maintain objectivity and independence, we requested that USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) perform the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) Scrapie-Associated Fibrils (SAF) immunoblot test. The additional testing produced positive results. To confirm, the Secretary of Agriculture requested that an internationally recognized BSE laboratory in Weybridge, England (Weybridge) perform additional testing. Weybridge conducted various tests, including their own IHC tests and three Western blot tests. The tests confirmed that the cow was infected with BSE. The Secretary immediately directed USDA scientists to work with international experts to develop new protocols that include performing dual confirmatory tests in the event of an inconclusive BSE screening test.
We attribute the failure to identify the BSE positive sample to rigid protocols, as well as the lack of adequate quality assurance controls over its testing program. Details of our concerns are discussed in Findings 3 and 4.
Section 2. Testing Protocols and Quality Assurance Controls In November 2004, USDA announced that its rapid screening test, Bio-Rad Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), produced an inconclusive BSE test result as part of its enhanced BSE surveillance program. The ELISA rapid screening test performed at a BSE contract laboratory produced three high positive reactive results.40 As required,41 the contract laboratory forwarded the inconclusive sample to the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for confirmatory testing. NVSL repeated the ELISA testing and again produced three high positive reactive results.42 In accordance with its established protocol, NVSL ran its confirmatory test, an immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, which was interpreted as negative for BSE. In addition, NVSL performed a histological43 examination of the tissue and did not detect lesions44 consistent with BSE. Faced with conflicting results, NVSL scientists recommended additional testing to resolve the discrepancy but APHIS headquarters officials concluded no further testing was necessary because testing protocols were followed. In our discussions with APHIS officials, they justified their decision not to do additional testing because the IHC is internationally recognized as the “gold standard.” Also, they believed that conducting additional tests would undermine confidence in USDA’s established testing protocols. However, OIG obtained evidence that indicated additional testing was prudent to ensure that USDA’s testing protocols were effective in detecting BSE and that confidence in USDA’s testing procedures was maintained. OIG came to this conclusion because the rapid tests produced six high positive reactive results, confirmatory testing conflicted with the rapid test results, and various standard operating procedures were not followed. Also, our review of scientific literature, other country protocols, as well as discussions with internationally recognized experts led us to conclude that confirmatory testing should not be limited when conflicting test results are obtained. To maintain objectivity and independence in our assessment, we requested the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) perform the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) Scrapie-Associated Fibrils (SAF) 40 ELISA test procedures require two additional (duplicate) tests if the initial test is reactive, before final interpretation. If either of the duplicate tests is reactive, the test is deemed inconclusive. 41 Protocol for BSE Contract Laboratories to Receive and Test Bovine Brain Samples and Report Results for BSE Surveillance Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), dated October 26, 2004. 42 The NVSL conducted an ELISA test on the original material tested at the contract laboratory and on two new cuts from the sample tissue. 43 A visual examination of brain tissue by a microscope. 44 A localized pathological change in a bodily organ or tissue.
immunoblot.45 ARS performed the test at the National Animal Disease Center because NVSL did not have the necessary equipment46 (ultracentrifuge) to do the test. APHIS scientists observed and participated, as appropriate, in this effort. The additional tests conducted by ARS produced positive results. To confirm this finding, the Secretary requested the internationally recognized BSE reference laboratory in Weybridge, England, (Weybridge) to perform additional confirmatory testing. Weybridge conducted various tests, including their own IHC methods, as well as three Western blot methods. The tests confirmed that the suspect cow was infected with BSE. Also, Weybridge confirmed this case as an unequivocal positive case of BSE on the basis of IHC. As a result of this finding, the Secretary immediately directed USDA scientists to work with international experts to develop a new protocol that includes performing dual confirmatory tests in the event of another inconclusive BSE screening test. Finding 3 Rigid Protocols Reduced the Likelihood BSE Could be Detected APHIS relied on a single test method, as well as a histological examination of tissue for lesions consistent with BSE, to confirm the presence of BSE even though discrepant test results indicated further testing may be prudent. When IHC test results were interpreted as negative, APHIS concluded the sample tested negative for BSE. Subsequent independent tests initiated by OIG using a different testing method, as well as confirmatory testing by Weybridge, determined that the suspect sample was a positive case of BSE. APHIS Declares BSE Sample Negative Despite Conflicting Results When the tissue sample originally arrived at NVSL in November 2004 from the contract lab, NVSL scientists repeated the ELISA screening test and again produced three high positive reactive results. NVSL scientists cut out two sections of the brain sample for IHC testing. One section was used for an experimental procedure that was not part of the confirmatory testing protocol, and the other cut was for normal IHC testing using scrapie for a positive control.47 According to NVSL scientists, the experimental test results were inconclusive but the IHC test was interpreted as negative. The NVSL scientists were concerned with the inconsistencies and conducted 45 The OIE SAF immunoblot is an internationally recognized confirmatory test, often referred to as a Western blot test. There are different types of Western blots; the OIE SAF immunoblot includes enrichment steps taken with the sample prior to the standard Western blot steps. 46 APHIS has now ordered the necessary equipment for NVSL. USDA/OIG-A/50601-10-KC Page 32
47 A positive control is a sample that is known to contain a given disease or react in the test. The sample then can be used to make sure that the test for that disease works properly. In the case of BSE, tissue infected with either scrapie or BSE can serve as a positive control for an IHC test for BSE since both are different forms of the same disease (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy or TSE).
another IHC test using BSE as a positive control.48 The test result was also interpreted as negative. Also, according to the NVSL scientists, the histological examination of the tissue did not detect lesions consistent with BSE. After the second negative IHC test, NVSL scientists supported doing additional testing. They prepared a plan for additional tests; if those tests had been conducted, BSE may have been detected in the sample. The additional tests recommended by NVSL scientists, but not approved by APHIS Headquarters officials, were the IHC using other antibodies (IHC testing using different antibodies ultimately produced positive results); IHC testing of additional regions of the brain (the cerebellum tested positive); regular and enriched (OIE-like) Western blots (the obex and cerebellum tested positive); and variable rapid tests (the obex and cerebellum tested positive with two different rapid tests). NVSL officials also recommended that the sample be sent to Weybridge for confirmatory testing (to conduct IHC and OIE Western blot tests). In June 2005, Weybridge conducted IHC testing with three different antibodies, including the antibody used in the United States (tested positive), the OIE Western blot (tested positive), a modified commercial kit Western blot (negative) and the NaPTA49 Western blot (tested positive). We obtained information as to the differing protocols used by other countries. We found that while APHIS determined that additional testing was unnecessary after the IHC test, other countries have used multiple tests to confirm positives. In Japan, for example, all reactive screening test samples are examined by both IHC and a Western blot (different from the OIE SAF immunoblot). In the United Kingdom (U.K.), IHC and Western blot (different from the OIE SAF immunoblot) tests are used for all animals that test positive with a screening test. When IHC and the Western blot fail to confirm a positive rapid test, the U.K. resorts to a third test, the OIE SAF immunoblot. With these procedures in place, both Japan and the U.K. have found BSE cases that were rapid test reactive, IHC negative, and finally confirmed positive with a Western blot. Evidence Indicated Additional Testing Would Be Prudent We also spoke with an internationally recognized BSE expert regarding the advisability of limiting confirmatory testing when conflicting results are obtained. This official expressed concern about limiting confirmatory tests to the IHC despite its status as one of the “gold standard” tests. He advised that the IHC is not one test; it is a test method that can vary significantly in sensitivity from laboratory to laboratory. New antibodies can improve or
USDA/OIG-A/50601-10-KC Page 33
48 The NVSL uses scrapie as the positive control as part of its normal IHC testing procedures. Due to the conflicting results between the ELISA and IHC tests, the NVSL conducted another IHC test with BSE as the positive control. Subsequently, the NVSL modified the Confirming Inconclusive Results from BSE Testing Laboratories at the NVSL SOP to show that all IHC tested BSE inconclusive samples from contract laboratories will use BSE as the positive control. 49 Sodium phosphotungstic acid.
USDA/OIG-A/50601-10-KC Page 34
reduce sensitivity, as can variations in many of the reagents50 used. He explained that his laboratory had experienced cases where an initial confirmatory IHC test was challenged by either a more extensive IHC test or “…applying a more sensitive immunoblot.” He emphasized the importance of having additional confirmatory testing to resolve discrepant results since there are many variables, and most of the variability appears to be due to test performance of the laboratory. OIG became concerned that APHIS relied on its confirmatory test methods when rapid screening tests produced high positive reactive results six times.51 Also, we found that APHIS did not pursue and/or investigate why the ELISA produced high reactive positives. An official from the manufacturer of the ELISA test kit told us that they requested, but did not receive, information on the inconclusive reported by USDA in November 2004. These officials requested this information in order to understand the reasons for the discrepant results. The Bio-Rad ELISA rapid screening test is internationally recognized as a highly reliable test and is the rapid screening test used for USDA’s surveillance effort. According to APHIS officials, they felt it would be inappropriate to collaborate on the one sample because Bio-Rad is a USDA-APHIS regulated biologics company and only one of several competing manufacturers. To maintain confidence in USDA’s test protocols, it would have been a prudent course of action for USDA to determine why such significant differing results were obtained. The fact that they did not pursue this matter caused concerns relating to testing quality assurance procedures. In this regard, we found lack of compliance with SOPs relating to laboratory proficiency and quality assurance (see Finding 4), and, in this case, the storage of sampled material and reporting of test results. We found that the NVSL did not prepare a report to document its confirmatory testing of the November 2004 sample. The SOP52 states that the BSE network laboratory initiating the inconclusive will receive a report of the case. NVSL officials could not explain why a final report had not been prepared. We also found that the inconclusive sample was frozen prior to IHC confirmatory testing. APHIS protocols state that samples are not to be frozen prior to laboratory submission. The OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals states that the tissues for histological or IHC examination are not to be frozen as this will provide artefactual53 lesions that may compromise the identification of vacuolation,54 and/or target site location. Although the sample was frozen, APHIS did not conduct a Western 50 A substance used in a chemical reaction to detect, measure, examine, or produce other substances. 51 The six high positive reactive results were from three tests of the submitted sample (multiple runs of the same test). 52 Confirming Inconclusive Results from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Testing Laboratories at the NVSL SOP, dated August 13, 2004. 53 A structure or feature not normally present but visible as a result of an external agent or action, such as one seen in a microscopic specimen after fixation. 54 A small space or cavity in a tissue.
USDA/OIG-A/50601-10-KC Page 35
blot test on the sample. An NVSL official said freezing the sample does not make it unsuitable for IHC. APHIS determined that the sample was suitable for IHC and therefore, in accordance with its SOP, did not conduct a Western blot test. APHIS also handled the December 2003 BSE positive differently than the November 2004 sample. For the December 2003 BSE positive sample, APHIS conducted several confirmatory tests in addition to the IHC testing and histological examination (unlike the November 2004 sample tests, both of these were interpreted as positive). ARS performed two Western blots (Prionics Check Western blot and an ARS developed Western blot). When we questioned why the samples were handled differently, APHIS officials stated that the Western blots were done because the IHC in December 2003 was positive. The additional testing was done to further characterize the case, because it was the first U.S. case; the additional testing was not done to decide whether the case was positive or negative. We discussed our concerns with limiting confirmatory testing, particularly given conflicting results, with the APHIS Administrator and staff in May 2005. He explained that international standards recognized more than one “gold standard” test. In setting up its testing protocols, USDA had chosen one as the confirming test, the IHC test, and stayed with it. APHIS protocols only allow a Western blot in cases where the sample has become unsuitable for IHC tests (e.g., in cases where the brainstem architecture is not evident). International standards, he continued, accept a tissue sample as negative for BSE if its IHC test is negative. Once the test is run in accordance with protocols, additional tests undermine the USDA testing protocol and the surveillance program. He concluded that since APHIS’ protocols accepted the IHC test as confirming the presence or absence of BSE, no further testing was necessary. According to protocol, the tissue sample was determined to have tested negative for BSE. On June 24, 2005, USDA announced that the additional testing by the BSE reference laboratory in England confirmed the presence of BSE in the tissue sample. To obviate the possibility that a future sample would be declared negative and then found positive, the Secretary of Agriculture announced a change to APHIS’ testing protocols that same day. He called for “dual confirmatory tests in the event of another ‘inconclusive’ [reactive] BSE screening test.” He also indicated that he would reinforce proper procedures so that samples will not be frozen, and to spot-check the laboratories to see that they complete reports as required. APHIS issued a SOP on the new confirmatory testing protocols on November 30, 2005.
ALSO, DOWN HERE IN TEXAS, THEY LIKE TO REALLY PUMP THEIR CATTLE UP ;-)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2001
Print Media: 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
Note: On Dec. 23, 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that a cow in Washington state had tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease). As a result, information on this Web page stating that no BSE cases had been found in the United States is now incorrect. However, because other information on this page continues to have value, the page will remain available for viewing.
FDA ANNOUNCES TEST RESULTS FROM TEXAS FEED LOT
Today the Food and Drug Administration announced the results of tests taken on feed used at a Texas feedlot that was suspected of containing meat and bone meal from other domestic cattle -- a violation of FDA's 1997 prohibition on using ruminant material in feed for other ruminants. Results indicate that a very low level of prohibited material was found in the feed fed to cattle.
FDA has determined that each animal could have consumed, at most and in total, five-and-one-half grams - approximately a quarter ounce -- of prohibited material. These animals weigh approximately 600 pounds.
It is important to note that the prohibited material was domestic in origin (therefore not likely to contain infected material because there is no evidence of BSE in U.S. cattle), fed at a very low level, and fed only once. The potential risk of BSE to such cattle is therefore exceedingly low, even if the feed were contaminated.
According to Dr. Bernard Schwetz, FDA's Acting Principal Deputy Commissioner, "The challenge to regulators and industry is to keep this disease out of the United States. One important defense is to prohibit the use of any ruminant animal materials in feed for other ruminant animals. Combined with other steps, like U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) ban on the importation of live ruminant animals from affected countries, these steps represent a series of protections, to keep American cattle free of BSE."
Despite this negligible risk, Purina Mills, Inc., is nonetheless announcing that it is voluntarily purchasing all 1,222 of the animals held in Texas and mistakenly fed the animal feed containing the prohibited material. Therefore, meat from those animals will not enter the human food supply. FDA believes any cattle that did not consume feed containing the prohibited material are unaffected by this incident, and should be handled in the beef supply clearance process as usual.
FDA believes that Purina Mills has behaved responsibly by first reporting the human error that resulted in the misformulation of the animal feed supplement and then by working closely with State and Federal authorities.
This episode indicates that the multi-layered safeguard system put into place is essential for protecting the food supply and that continued vigilance needs to be taken, by all concerned, to ensure these rules are followed routinely.
FDA will continue working with USDA as well as State and local officials to ensure that companies and individuals comply with all laws and regulations designed to protect the U.S. food supply.
RESOLVED, yep, i would remove that too ;-)
O.I.E. SELLS THERE SOUL TO THE DEVIL AND WILL REPEAT WHAT THE U.K. DID,
POISON THE WORLD LEGALLY WITH MAD COW DISEASEs
[Docket No. 03-025IFA] FSIS Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk
Materials for Human Food and Requirement for the Disposition of
Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle
[Docket No. FSIS-2006-0011] FSIS Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine
Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Monitoring the occurrence of emerging forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in
the United States
i am reminded of a few things deep throat (high ranking official at usda)
told me years ago;
The most frightening thing I have read all day is the
report of Gambetti's finding of a new strain of
sporadic cjd in young people.........Dear God,
BSE BASE MAD COW TESTING TEXAS, USA, AND CANADA, A REVIEW OF SORTS
MADCOW USDA the untold story
MADCOW USDA the untold story continued
ABSTRACTS SPORADIC CJD AND H BASE MAD COW ALABAMA AND TEXAS SEPTEMBER 2007
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 21:31:55 -0500
I suggest that you all read the data out about h-BASE and sporadic CJD, GSS,
blood, and some of the other abstracts from the PRION2007. ...
*** PLEASE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS !!! THE PRICE OF
POKER INDEED GOES UP. ...TSS
USA BASE CASE, (ATYPICAL BSE), AND OR TSE (whatever they are calling it
today), please note that both the ALABAMA COW, AND THE TEXAS COW, both were
''H-TYPE'', personal communication Detwiler et al Wednesday, August 22, 2007
11:52 PM. ...TSS
ATYPICAL NOR-98 SCRAPIE LOCATION UPDATE ON 5 DOCUMENTED CASES THIS YEAR ;
The flocks of origin are WY, CO, CA, IN, and MN.
personal communication USDA et al. ...TSS
USA NOR-98 SCRAPIE UPDATE AUGUST 31, 2007 RISES TO 5 DOCUMENTED CASES
Government Accountability Project
PLEASE NOTE IN USA CJD UPDATE AS AT JUNE 2007, please note steady increase
in ''TYPE UNKNOWN''. ...TSS
1 Acquired in the United Kingdom; 2 Acquired in Saudi Arabia; 3 Includes 17
inconclusive and 9 pending (1 from 2006, 8
from 2007); 4 Includes 17 non-vCJD type unknown (2 from 1996, 2 from 1997, 1
from 2001, 1 from 2003, 4 from 2004, 3
from 2005, 4 from 2006) and 36 type pending (2 from 2005, 8 from 2006,
*** 26 from 2007)
I implore that the BSE Minimal Risk Region i.e. MRR policy be repealed, and the BSE GBR risk assessments strictly enforced by all Countries, and updated to include the BASE, and all TSE. The BSE MRR policy is nothing more than a legal tool to trade all strains of TSE globally. Any
Country that goes by the BSE MRR policy should be held accountable for the same thing the U.K. did.
THE only difference between the UK poisoning the globe, and the USA, it is now legal with GWs and OIEs BSE MRR policy ;
IT's O.K. to poison 3rd world countries ;
On 20 February 1990, Dr Pickles wrote to Ms Verity
(APS/CMO). Dr Picklesí minute included the following:
1. Mr Meldrum is arguing that MAFF have already taken all the
necessary and responsible steps to warn importing countries
of the BSE dangers in UK meat and bone meal. Yet the action taken
so far overseas suggest the message has not got
through, or where it has this has been late. The first nation
that woke up to the danger did so a year after our own feed
ban. It seems even now several EC countries neither ban our
imports or the general feeding of ruminant protein. It also
seems the OIE and CVO have yet to inform the rest of the world.
2. I do not see how this can be claimed to be responsibleí. We
do not need an expert group of the Scientific Veterinary
Committee to tell us British meat and bone meal is unsafe for
ruminants. I fail to understand why this cannot be tackled
from the British end which seems to be the only sure way of doing
it, preferably by banning exports. As CMO says in his
letter of 3 January surely it is short sighted for us to risk
being seen in future as having been responsible for the
introduction of BSE to the food chain in other countries.íí
EFSA Scientific Report on the Assessment of the Geographical BSE-Risk (GBR) of the United States of America (USA)
Summary of the Scientific Report
The European Food Safety Authority and its Scientific Expert Working Group on the Assessment of the Geographical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Risk (GBR) were asked by the European Commission (EC) to provide an up-to-date scientific report on the GBR in the United States of America, i.e. the likelihood of the presence of one or more cattle being infected with BSE, pre-clinically as well as clinically, in USA. This scientific report addresses the GBR of USA as assessed in 2004 based on data covering the period 1980-2003.
The BSE agent was probably imported into USA and could have reached domestic cattle in the middle of the eighties. These cattle imported in the mid eighties could have been rendered in the late eighties and therefore led to an internal challenge in the early nineties. It is possible that imported meat and bone meal (MBM) into the USA reached domestic cattle and leads to an internal challenge in the early nineties.
A processing risk developed in the late 80s/early 90s when cattle imports from BSE risk countries were slaughtered or died and were processed (partly) into feed, together with some imports of MBM. This risk continued to exist, and grew significantly in the mid 90’s when domestic cattle, infected by imported MBM, reached processing. Given the low stability of the system, the risk increased over the years with continued imports of cattle and MBM from BSE risk countries.
EFSA concludes that the current GBR level of USA is III, i.e. it is likely but not confirmed that domestic cattle are (clinically or pre-clinically) infected with the BSE-agent. As long as there are no significant changes in rendering or feeding, the stability remains extremely/very unstable. Thus, the probability of cattle to be (pre-clinically or clinically) infected with the BSE-agent persistently increases.
EFSA Scientific Report on the Assessment of the Geographical BSE-Risk (GBR) of Canada
Summary of the Scientific Report
The European Food Safety Authority and its Scientific Expert Working Group on the Assessment of the Geographical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Risk (GBR) were asked to provide an up-to-date scientific report on the GBR in Canada, i.e. the likelihood of the presence of one or more cattle being infected with BSE, pre-clinically as well as clinically, in Canada. This scientific report addresses the GBR of Canada as assessed in 2004 based on data covering the period 1980-2003.
The BSE agent was probably imported into the country middle of the eighties and could have reached domestic cattle in the early nineties. These cattle imported in the mid eighties could have been rendered in the late eighties and therefore led to an internal challenge in the early 90s. It is possible that imported meat and bone meal (MBM) into Canada reached domestic cattle and led to an internal challenge in the early 90s.
A certain risk that BSE-infected cattle entered processing in Canada, and were at least partly rendered for feed, occurred in the early 1990s when cattle imported from UK in the mid 80s could have been slaughtered. This risk continued to exist, and grew significantly in the mid 90’s when domestic cattle, infected by imported MBM, reached processing. Given the low stability of the system, the risk increased over the years with continued imports of cattle and MBM from BSE risk countries.
EFSA concludes that the current GBR level of Canada is III, i.e. it is confirmed at a lower level that domestic cattle are (clinically or pre-clinically) infected with the BSE-agent. As long as the system remains unstable, it is expected that the GBR continues to grow, even if no additional external challenges occur.
EFSA Scientific Report on the Assessment of the Geographical BSE-Risk (GBR) of Mexico
Summary of the Scientific Report
The European Food Safety Authority and its Scientific Expert Working Group on the Assessment of the Geographical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Risk (GBR) were asked by the European Commission (EC) to provide an up-to-date scientific report on the GBR in Mexico, i.e. the likelihood of the presence of one or more cattle being infected with BSE, pre-clinically as well as clinically, in Mexico. This scientific report addresses the GBR of Mexico as assessed in 2004 based on data covering the period 1980-2003.
The BSE agent was probably imported into Mexico and could have reached domestic cattle. These cattle imported could have been rendered and therefore led to an internal challenge in the mid to late 1990s. It is possible that imported meat and bone meal (MBM) into Mexico reached domestic cattle and leads to an internal challenge around 1993.
It is likely that BSE infectivity entered processing at the time of imported ‘at - risk’ MBM (1993) and at the time of slaughter of imported live ‘at - risk’ cattle (mid to late 1990s). The high level of external challenge is maintained throughout the reference period, and the system has not been made stable. Thus it is likely that BSE infectivity was recycled and propagated from approximately 1993. The risk has since grown consistently due to a maintained internal and external challenge and lack of a stable system.
EFSA concludes that the current geographical BSE risk (GBR) level is III, i.e. it is likely but not confirmed that domestic cattle are (clinically or pre-clinically) infected with the BSE-agent. The GBR is likely to increase due to continued internal and external challenge, coupled with a very unstable system.