With the diagnosis (presumptive) of BSE or "mad cow disease" in the
state of Washington, we need to exercise caution. This is NOT a panic
situation. Facts will evolve over time, but not only is our agricultural
community safe, but so are our alpacas and llamas! Be calm and let the
facts unfold over the next few weeks.
David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Ohio State University
12-15-03 Mad Cow
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy:
Do alpacas have anything to fear?
David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head, Food Animal Medicine and Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
The Ohio State University
This communication is a very preliminary discussion about the relevance
of concerns regarding transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in
alpacas. This issue has been raised recently because of the Canada-USA
border closing to movement of all ruminanting species after the
diagnosis of BSE in a single cow in Alberta, Canada.
TSE's are the prion particle diseases of animals and humans. Prions are
similar to viruses, but much smaller and act to cause abnormal function
or metabolism in the cells. In the case of TSE's, the prion particle
causes a change in the form of an intracellular protein. Cell
proteinases can no longer breakdown this protein causing a buildup of
the protein until cell function degrades. Eventually, enough cells are
involved to cause clinical signs of disease.
To date, we have found no published research on TSE's in South American
Camelids. There has been one published study that looked at the prion
protein characteristics in a Dromedary Camel. Sheep and cattle have
approximately 97% homology (identical sequences) in the prion protein.
This homology may have some bearing on the fact that cattle and sheep
suffer from a similar prion disease (sheep = scrapie; cattle = BSE or
bovine spongiform encephalopathy). The dromedary camel examined had only
92 to 93% homology to cattle and sheep. At this time, we have no idea
what the significance of this finding is. The differences in alleles may
or may not be indicative of a species barrier to TSE's in camelids.
To date and to our knowledge, no camelid has been diagnosed with a TSE.
At Ohio State University, our pathologists examine over 100 llamas and
alpacas each year. Brains are routinely inspected because of the common
meningeal worm infection in the Northeast to the Midwest USA. Our
pathologists have never seen any lesions similar to a spongiform
The current state of knowledge of TSE in camelids is severely lacking.
Scientific study will be needed to answer questions regarding species
susceptibility of camelids to TSE's. TSE's are not directly contagious.
The principle risk that an infected animal might pose to other humans or
animals is in the event the animal is eaten. Eating prion infected
tissues may result in infection in the exposed animal. Thus, all meat
and bone derived proteins have been banned from ruminants feeds in the
USA. Thus, alpacas would only become infected if they have consumed
feedstuffs containing tissues from infected animals (e.g. sheep or
cattle with TSE). Affected alpacas would only transmit the disease to
their offspring or to other animals if they themselves or contaminated
tissues were eaten.
This is strictly preliminary and is in response to questions we have
been asked. We will continue to update and modify this report as more
information is obtained.
Sequencing analysis of prion genes from red deer and camel.
Kaluz S, Kaluzova M, Flint AP.
University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, UK.
An abnormal isoform of the prion protein (PrP) appears to be the agent
responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). The
normal isoform of PrP is host-encoded and expressed in the central
nervous system. The recent bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
epidemic in the UK and the incidence of prion-related diseases in other
animals could indicate that ruminants are highly susceptible to
infection via ingestion of prion-contaminated food. Sequence analysis of
PrP gene open reading frames from red deer and camel was carried out to
investigate sequence variability of these genes among ruminants.
PMID: 9358067 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
FSNET JUNE 2, 2003
BSE disease investigation in western
Canadian mad cow probe enters make-or-break phase.
Statement of the American Meat Institute on the 'New Scientist' article
suggesting that the United States must take extraordinary measures to deal
with 'undetected BSE'
Mad cow disease tests food agency
Mad cow vaccine in works
Much goes into cattle feed - even eyeballs
Nobel scientist to join mad cow probe
Sacred cow; animal rights group's musings don't hold much sway here
Human activities give rise to new diseases
Consumers willing to fork out to ensure beef safety
A cut above: what's safe in a mad, mad world
FSnet is produced by the Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph,
and is supported by: The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Health
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National Pork Board, Council for Biotechnology Information, New Zealand
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Corn Producers' Association, Caravelle Foods, Bioniche, Office of Consumer Affairs, Burger King, Sobeys Ontario, The Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Alberta
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The Food Safety Network's national toll-free line for obtaining food safety
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archived at: http://220.127.116.11/fsnet-archives.htm
BSE DISEASE INVESTIGATION IN WESTERN CANADA
June 2, 2003
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is
investigating a single case of
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow
disease, in a cow from an Alberta farm. This case of one cow was detected as
of Canadašs ongoing BSE surveillance program. BSE is a progressive,
disease of the nervous system of cattle. It is what is known as a
transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Other TSEs include scrapie in
sheep, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, and Creutzfelt-Jakob disease
(CJD) in humans.
This is a brief overview of the testing that has been
completed to date.
All animals from the case farm, the trace-forward
premises, the first line
of inquiry of the trace-back premises and the three farms in BC associated
with the feed investigation have been slaughtered, which totals just over
1160 head of cattle. Previously the case farm, the trace-forward farms and
one of the premises in the primary line of inquiry had been reported
The additional tests performed on these premises are also negative. In
addition, negative results have been received on the farm on which pasture
co-mingling occurred and partial results on the other herd in Saskatchewan
in the primary line of inquiry are also negative. We continue to await the
results of DNA testing to help us identify the birthplace of the positive
animal. We should be able to update you on results from DNA testing and
the remainder of the rapid diagnosis tests at the next briefing.
The investigation continues with further trace-out initiatives from the
first line of inquiry. As the trace-outs are completed, no additional farms
will be quarantined, but individual animals will be evaluated and assembled
As indicated last Friday, we released the quarantine on the three
trace-forward farms over the weekend because the remaining animals were
neither related to the index cow or had a common feed source. This brings
the total of quarantined farms down to 14.
With the negative results on the co-mingled premises we will be moving to
remove the quarantine there as well. We will remove the quarantine on the
case farm following its cleaning and disinfection later this week. Lifting
of the quarantines in BC related to the feed investigation will be
undertaken with receipt of negative results and completion of the
environmental clean up.
Dr. Brian Evans, Chief Veterinary Officer of Canada, has commissioned a team
of international experts to review our epidemiological investigation and
response to the finding of a single positive animal. These individuals will
be asked to validate that our actions have been appropriate and whether
proposed policy adjustments are warranted.
For more information, please see the Backgrounder / Previous Daily Updates.
CANADIAN MAD COW PROBE ENTERS MAKE-OR-BREAK PHASE
June 2, 2003
CALGARY, Alberta - The sweeping probe into Canada's mad cow
has, according to this story, entered a make-or-break stage with
saying on Monday they could pinpoint the source farm of the country's only
confirmed case within two days, helping to allay fears of an outbreak.
The story says that more than 1,160 animals from 12 farms have been
killed and sent for testing, and 700 of those deemed free of the
Brian Evans, Canada's chief veterinarian, was quoted as saying Monday in
Ottawa that, "The next 36 hours will be a very critical time for us in
of the quantity and significance of the test results we will be receiving.
If things progress in the way they have been progressing, if we are able
to definitively name a source farm through the results coming forward in
the DNA side of the house ... I think later this week we will be very much
in a position to fully define the scope of the investigation."
With the industry losing as much as C$27.5 million ($20 million) a day
in revenues because of the export bans, and its global reputation in
tatters, such results could not come soon enough for ranchers, feed lot
operators, processors and truckers, especially in Alberta, Canada's top
region. Meanwhile, the story says that authorities invited a panel of
from the United States, Switzerland and New Zealand to audit results of the
investigation and review Canada's detection policies in hopes that bans on
shipments, especially to the key U.S. market, are lifted before long.
Evans was quoted as saying, "These people come with a lot of
they come with a lot of expertise. I think it will be important that they
have a say in terms of agreeing or disagreeing that we have done everything
possible in this circumstance."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has been in talks with Canadian
officials on the export ban, has not put a timeline on when it may be
lifted, or loosened to allow products not affected by mad cow disease.
Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief was cited as saying Ottawa is negotiating
access to U.S. markets for Canadian live and slaughtered veal.
STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE ON THE 'NEW SCIENTIST' ARTICLE
SUGGESTING THAT THE UNITED STATES MUST TAKE EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES TO DEAL
WITH 'UNDETECTED BSE'
June 2, 2003
(Attribute to James Hodges, President, AMI Foundation)
In the current issue of the British publication "New Scientist,"
an article titled "BSE crosses the Atlantic" offers a predictably
harsh condemnation of
both U.S. and Canadian regulatory and industry firewalls aimed at preventing
and controlling the development of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
Predictable because an outspoken contingent of European scientists has been
demanding for years that both Canada and the United States adopt the entire
package of strict controls and mandatory live cattle testing that has been
imposed across the European Union. Harsh because the proposals so
righteously demanded by these scientists, who have little familiarity with
the U.S. beef industry, would wreak economic and environmental chaos for
the sake of feel-good policies aimed at controlling an imagined BSE
in this country -- despite the reality that this country has never uncovered
a single BSE case in nearly eight years of aggressive surveillance and
testing of the very high-risk animals known to be the likeliest carriers of
At the core of the laundry list of reactions these European activists are
demanding is a call for "continent-wide testing" of all live
cattle in North
America, using the screening tests employed in several EU countries.
Despite acknowledging that such tests are known to have serious specificity
problems -- that is, they yield a high percentage of false positives, which
require that the animal be tested more thoroughly -- the sources quoted in
New Scientist continue to claim that our failure to screen all our cattle is
only "hiding" our alleged BSE outbreak.
The BSE "program" being urged on U.S. producers and regulators
for completely banning meat and bone meal from the food and feed chains;
removal and incineration of brains, spinal cord and spleen; and a total ban
on the use of Advanced Meat Recovery systems for REMOVING edible beef
from cattle bones following the fabrication process at packing plants.
In evaluating any of these proposals one essential fact must be considered:
Europe has suffered through a horrendous epidemic of BSE lasting more
than a decade. Even in the last two years, as the incidence rate of new BSE
cases has fallen dramatically, countries such as the United Kingdom,
France, Germany and Spain continue to record hundreds of newly confirmed
cases. The EU was forced to impose drastic measures such as those outlined
above. Their beef industries were crippled; ours are not. Their consumers
had lost faith in their countries' beef safety; ours have not.
There is a reason that the United States has not had a case of BSE: We have
put a series of protective firewalls in place -- which Europe did not --
from the very beginning of the discoveries relating to how BSE develops and
how it can spread within a country's beef herd. The draconian measures
suggested by sources in New Scientist are understandable and appropriate
for countries that have experienced documented outbreaks involving thousands
of cases of BSE over many, many years.
They are decidedly inappropriate for the United States, where vigilant BSE
testing, strict segregation of ruminant-derived feed proteins and the
exclusion of cattle, beef products and feed ingredient imports from
BSE-stricken countries has provided our beef industry with a protective
barrier that makes the likelihood of discovering even a single case of BSE
MAD COW DISEASE TESTS FOOD AGENCY; MORE SCREENINGS LIKELY -
NEW PRESIDENT SEEKS TO RESTORE FAITH IN CANADA'S BEEF INDUSTRY
June 1, 2003
The Toronto Star
Richard Fadden, president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the
man leading the battle against mad cow disease in Canada, was cited as
saying a lot more cattle across the country will likely have to be routinely
tested for the contagion to restore consumer confidence here and abroad, and
that the expanded post-mortem screening for bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE) could cover all cattle that become seriously ill before slaughter -
more than 10 times the number now checked, adding, "We're clearly going
to have to do more testing."
The story says that Fadden, who took over the inspection agency just eight
months ago, has passed through a baptism of fire during the past two weeks
while he and his team tracked down and - they hope - contained mad cow
Yet, when Fadden's 15-year-old daughter asked for a lunchtime hamburger just
a few days ago, the two of them popped into an Ottawa fast-food outlet
without hesitation. The 52-year-old career public servant volunteers the
hamburger outing example when asked if he is still eating Canadian beef.
"I call that cow BSE," Fadden says, pronouncing the abbreviation
"People think I need medication for saying this," he adds with a
The story says that humour, candour and a lawyer's training in grasping key
details have been crucial for Fadden and his agency in dealing with the
country's costliest and most public food safety crisis arising from one cow.
But Fadden is no stranger to crises. He was in change of co-ordinating
Canadian security and intelligence at the Privy Council Office when
terrorists struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Lessons from that
experience are being applied now, he says, citing the naming of a senior
official to keep a daily written record of the mad cow campaign.
With 5,600 employees, more than $500 million in annual spending and 21
laboratories, the agency checks on everything from Atlantic mussels to
Alberta cattle, to genetically engineered food.
Cobbled together in 1997 from four government departments, the agency
has been condemned for secrecy, incompetence and toadying to the industries
it regulated. A Star investigation in 1999 found CFIA had failed to put
consumer interests first in three major food-poisoning outbreaks.
But the handling of the mad cow crisis has outside experts like Doug
Powell, a University of Guelph professor and expert in food safety risks,
analogies to top-quality scientific investigations.
"The CFIA isn't the gold standard yet, but they're getting better.
done a really good job of communicating what they know in the BSE
In his first interview since the crisis began, Fadden was cited as talking
candidly about the agency's performance and the challenges ahead. Asked
about Alberta's 31/2-month delay in testing "Bessie," he says
"I can't say
the delay had no consequences."
Cattle that had been in the same herds with Bessie probably passed
unnoticed through slaughterhouses between Jan. 31 and May 16, he explains,
adding that if these animals had shown outward signs of disease, they should
been caught by the inspection system.
But scientists agree that cows can have thousands of rogue prions in
their brains the disease agent - and not display mad cow symptoms.
Asked what age to start checking cattle for BSE, Fadden says Canada's
30-month-old rule isn't written in stone and the agency could move partway
toward the more cautious European testing at 18 months.
On learning from Britain's mistakes with foot-and-mouth disease, he says the
$30 billion potential cost to Canada of a similar outbreak has spurred
extensive study of the British experience.
Fadden was cited as saying he believes their biggest error was letting
veterinarians control the government response for so long. "They
too narrow a perspective to it."
On the agency's ability to respond to fast-changing hazards, Fadden says
it is responsible for 13 acts and more than 32 sets of regulations, many of
them decades old. "It takes us 18 months to get a new regulation
think that's too long."
MAD COW VACCINE IN WORKS
June 1, 2003
Globe and Mail/National Post/CP
Toronto < Neil Cashman, a professor of medicine at the University of
Toronto, was cited as saying Sunday that a vaccine for mad cow disease
could be a year away and that he has discovered a way of identifying an
antibody specific to prions, adding, "We should have an answer on
can block prion replication in about a year. At that point, if everything
looks good, there will be a move to larger animals including sheep and
and some real heavy work to see if it could be applied to humans."
The stories say that Dr. Cashman's research team, which included colleagues
from the United States and the United Kingdom, found that prions propagate
through a process akin to crystallization, unlike the growth of viruses and
bacteria, which depend on nucleic acid, and this allowed for the deliberate
manipulation of prions, which in turn could lead to a vaccine and the
eventual eradication of mad cow disease.
Cashman was quoted as saying, "You could screen the 10 million cattle
Canada for cattle that are incubating mad cow disease, so you would have a
way of identifying only those cattle that are going to come down with the
disease rather than just recognizing them when they become symptomatic ...
which would improve the safety of the food supply, hopefully the world
around, not just Canada."
The findings were reported online in the June 1 edition of scientific
journal Nature Medicine.
MUCH GOES INTO CATTLE FEED - EVEN EYEBALLS
June 2, 2003
OTTAWA - Amid all the finger-pointing over who is to blame for the mad
cow crisis, Baron Justus von Liebig, according to this story, probably
a special mention.
The story says that von Liebig was a pioneering German chemist who, in 1865,
recommended the use of meat by-products in pig feed, launching what
eventually became the widespread practice of feeding animal parts to
This practice -- specifically the feeding of cattle scraps to cattle -- has
been blamed for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or
mad cow disease.
Researcher Z.O. Muller was quoted as saying in an article published by the
UN Food and Agriculture Organization that, "Feeding of animal wastes
in reducing feed cost and a lower price of animal products."
Muller even defends the use of manure in animal feed, noting animals in
nature eat their own excrement or that of other species.
"Pigs freely roaming in villages leave hardly any poultry or cattle
unutilized, even when they are fully fed on the 'best balanced' diets,
according to man's view."
Manure is not on the list of approved ingredients for animal feed in Canada,
but U.S. regulations permit the use of poultry litter.
Cattle-feed regulations are complex and, in the wake of Canada's first
home-grown case of mad cow, increasingly controversial.
Sergio Tolusa, feed program co-ordinator with the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency, was cited as saying that protein from non-ruminants such as pigs,
horses and poultry can still be used in cattle feed because their
physiology is different from cattle and they are not thought to be at risk
Tolusa was further cited as saying that Canadian regulations are under
review, but a complete ban on animal protein in feed is not likely. The
World Health Organization has not called for such a prohibition, adding,
"We are still faced with a one-off case here in Canada. Going to a
animal-to-animal feeding ban based on a one-off case would be an extreme
It is more likely that the feed ban would be broadened to include pigs and
horses, and perhaps blood and milk proteins, he said.
NOBEL SCIENTIST TO JOIN MAD COW PROBE: ALBERTA EXPERTS WANT TO FIND OUT
WHETHER RANDOM MUTATION CAUSED SINGLE CASE
June 2, 2003
The Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, the University of Alberta's dean of
medicine, was cited as saying Sunday that Nobel Prize winner Dr. Stanley
will help Alberta experts find out if this province's lone case of mad cow
disease was caused by a random mutation, adding, "We really hope this
will be a spontaneous case. That is the most important question which needs
to be answered."
Prusiner was cited as telling Tyrrell by phone Friday he will help study
the prions found in the brain of the diseased Alberta cow, to see if this is
an infection caught from another animal or if it is a random mutation
just one cow.
SACRED COW; ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP'S MUSINGS DON'T HOLD MUCH SWAY HERE
June 2, 2003
The Calgary Sun
It must, according to this story, be an "I told you so" moment for
down at the Norfolk, Va. headquarters of People for the Ethical Treatment of
Bruce Friedrich, PETA's top vegan tries hard not to gloat, casting the focus
on what his group calls the "holocaust on your plate. When the industry
so totally and gratuitously abusing (cattle) and the animals are suffering
so miserably, the last thing on your mind is 'I told you so.'
The last thing we want is for people to eat more chickens."
But, the story says, the movement's website has seized the bovine moment of
madness, with the logo of a frothing steer imposed over the universal hazard
"It's mad to eat meat," reads a sub-headline, which adds bovine
encephalopathy to the threat of salmonella, E. coli, heart disease and
cancer posed by red meat.
PETA troops have taken to handing out "vegetarian starter kits" in
supermarkets in Calgary and Edmonton.
As Albertans desperately wage their war on negative perception, PETA's
nattering nabobs must be as welcome here as mad cow under cellophane at
the meat counter.
Not so, insists Friedrich, who describes a friendly reception on our prairie
that sounds more fictional than factual.
HUMAN ACTIVITIES GIVE RISE TO NEW DISEASES
May 28, 2003
SARS, BSE and West Nile aren't just making headlines, they're making
history. These diseases are truly products of our age - an age of global
transport, industrialized agriculture and global warming. And they represent
the tip of the iceberg in terms of emerging diseases.
Suzuki says that humans today are pushing every conceivable ecological
boundary. We are displacing animal habitats, feeding meat products to
herbivores, dining on exotic predators and doing it all while rushing madly
about the planet in cars, boats and jet airplanes. We are everywhere and
meddling in everything. As a result, we are being exposed to "new"
that have never before infected humans.
Look at SARS. It now appears this latest disease epidemic may have
originated in civet cats - a small, wild, nocturnal mammal that happens to
be considered a delicacy in southern China. Humans may have become infected
when these animals were slaughtered for food.
That sounds disconcertingly familiar to another global disease epidemic that
has now killed nearly 20 million people worldwide - AIDS. HIV, the virus
believed to cause AIDS is thought to have been spread to humans from
chimpanzees through the bushmeat trade. AIDS has taken a tremendous toll in
Africa. In the next 17 years, some 55 million Africans are expected to die
from the disease.
And there's more. Earlier this spring, a Dutch veterinarian became the first
human to succumb to the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza that has been
ravaging poultry farms in the Netherlands. About 100 other people also
contracted the disease, which forced authorities there to slaughter more
than 18 million chickens. The disease has also spread to pigs, which are
ideal virus incubators and can act as intermediaries for a virus to spread
from other animals to humans.
Four years ago that happened when Malaysian pig farmers hacked into forests
to make room for their farms. Fruit bats that used to live in the forests
began to roost in barns and building rafters. Their droppings, which carried
a virus called Nipah, contaminated the pigs' feed. Although the virus
appears to be harmless to bats, it causes a brutal cough and often death in
pigs. From the infected pigs, the virus soon spread to farm workers, who
developed similar symptoms. More than 100 people died and authorities had to
slaughter more than a million pigs.
Experts say that we are entering a new age of infectious disease and it's
largely due to human activities. When we push deep into forests and jungles,
we expose ourselves to new diseases. When we practice intensive livestock
farming and feed herbivores to herbivores, we create ideal conditions for
the spread of disease. As we change the climate, we create new vectors for
disease to spread. The growth of international trade and travel further
increases the capacity for diseases to flourish.
Some of these factors we cannot change. But some we can. We can work to end
the bushmeat trade in Africa and Asia. We can curtail the continued
destruction of our forests. We can enforce better livestock practices.
CONSUMERS WILLING TO FORK OUT TO ENSURE BEEF SAFETY
June 1, 2003
The Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - Half of North American consumers are, according to this
story, willing to pay extra to ensure their beef is free of mad cow disease
tracing every single cow if health questions are raised about its meat.
Economist DeeVon Bailey of Utah State University was quoted as telling a
conference on branding, labelling and identity preservation, at the
University of Alberta's Telus Centre on Tuesday that the research, conducted
in Canada and the United States before the Alberta mad cow furor that,
"The cost would be cents on the pound, not dollars."
No precise cost estimate is possible until planners decide how the idea
will be put into place, but Bailey said Europeans are paying extra to make
sure their beef can be tracked to the source if mad cow disease threatens
An improved Canadian tracing system could help restore the reputation of
Alberta beef south of the border, Bailey said.
Ellen Goddard, acting chairwoman for the University of Alberta's
Department of Rural Economy, was cited as saying beef is facing a strong
challenge from chicken as health-and-diet-conscious consumers reconsider
Once an improved tracking system is in place, Goddard said health-conscious
consumers could be attracted to beef by the extra protection.
"They would be willing to pay a premium," she said. Kevin Grier,
senior market analyst with the Guelph-based George Morris Centre, said
consumption figures clearly show Canadians have not lost their appetite for
"This is a non-event at the consumer level," he said, speaking for
independent agri-food think-tank. "People are still purchasing
A CUT ABOVE: WHAT'S SAFE IN A MAD, MAD WORLD
June 2, 2003
The foofaraw surrounding the discovery of a case of mad cow disease in
Alberta is, according to this story, enough to tempt the most committed
carnivore into becoming a vegetarian. But as authorities like to remind us,
Canada produces some of the safest food in the world. There's no need to
panic, especially when you're armed with some useful information. The
story says that: Milk and all milk products are safe. So are collagen and
prepared from hides and skins. Gelatin, a key ingredient in fruit and
jellies, is also used in pharmaceuticals and pet food, while collagen is
used in plastic surgery, among other things.
A bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infection has never been
detected in skeletal muscle tissue, from which the majority of quality meat,
including steaks and roasts, is derived.
The BSE infection in 90 per cent of cases has been found in the cow's
brain or spinal cord.
Experts say bits of spinal cord could be found in mechanically recovered
meat. That meat is the residue taken off the carcass after the prime cuts
have been removed. Experts believe BSE has been transmitted to humans
through hamburger and other products that contain infected mechanically
Feeding protein from slaughtered ruminants, including cattle, sheep and
goats, to other ruminants -- believed to be the main way the disease is
transmitted -- has been banned in Canada since 1997. Still, some consider
organic livestock herds to be the safest bet.
BSE has an incubation period of four to five years, but cattle may not
show any symptoms until later in life. Younger cattle are less likely to
contracted the disease.
5-20-2003 * * National Lama Health & Government Relations
* * Mad Cow Disease
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (aka Mad Cow Disease) has today been
confirmed in an 8 year old cow sent to slaughter in Canada. The cow was
tested as part of Canada's ongoing BSE surveillance program. Prior to
this case of BSE, the only prior confirmed case in Canada was found in a
beef cow imported from Britain in 1987 that was immediately destroyed.
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is a chronic, degenerative
disorder affecting the central nervous system of cattle and was first
diagnosed in Great Britain. Though the majority of the confirmed cases
to date have been from the United Kingdom, BSE has also been confirmed
cattle in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. BSE has not
been confirmed in the US.
BSE part of an animal and human disease group known as Transmissible
Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE's). TSE's have been confirmed in a
number of different animal species. One, Scrapie, has been described in
sheep and goats for hundreds of years, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has
been well documented for a number of years in elk and deer populations
throughout Colorado, Wyoming and various other states as well as Canada.
TSE's have been further documented in mink and cats and humans are also
susceptible. Perhaps the best-known human TSE is Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease (CJD). Presently, animal and human TSE's have no treatments or
preventative vaccines and are fatal.
The US government has taken aggressive actions since the late 1980's in
order to protect our country from BSE and/or other Foreign Animal
Diseases. As part of these preventative measures, USDA has just
announced today that it is "placing Canada under BSE restriction
guidelines and will not accept any ruminants or ruminant products from
Canada pending further
investigation." For a number of years now, USDA has prohibited
importation of live ruminants including cattle, sheep and goats from
countries that are "at risk for having BSE".
Members of the National Lama Health & Government Relations Committee are
monitoring this situation and are in contact with USDA, USAHA and State
Vet personnel as we work to mitigate potential negative impact to the
llama and alpaca industry. We are advancing critical distinctions that
uniquely set llamas and alpacas apart from the food chain destined and
true ruminant species that notably are included on the USDA import
Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Teri Nilson Baird: Ph: 303-646-4373
Karen Conyngham: Ph: 512-328-8715
Ph: 610-488-6666 email: BALDAN@aol.com
Marsharee Wilcox: Ph: 410-374-3783
IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE, AN 8-YEAR OLD COW IN ALBERTA, CANADA WAS DIAGNOSEDWITH
BSE THIS YEAR. NOW, THIS IS NOTHING TO GET HISTERICAL ABOUT. THECANADIANS ARE
DOING A VERY THOROUGH JOB RESEARCHING AND TRACKING THISCOW. THEY HAVE A MORE
ADVANCED / SOPHISTICATED TRACKING SYSTEM THAN WEHAVE IN THE USA, SO I AM SURE
THEY WILL GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT QUICKLY.
HOWEVER, THE USA HAS BANNED MOVEMENT OF ANY RUMINANT SPECIES FROM CANADAINTO THE
USA FROT EH TIME BEING. AT LEAST IN THE MESSAGE INCLUDED BELOW,THEY SEEM TO
INCLUDE CAMELIDS. WE WILL KEEP YOU APPRISED.
May 20, 2003
Subject: Clarification of the Prohibition of the Importation of all
Ruminants, Ruminant Meat, Ruminant Meat Products and Other Ruminant
Protein Products from Canada due to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Regional Directors, VS
Regulatory Support, PPQ
On May 20, 2003, Mr. Bobby R. Acord, Administrator, Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received information from Dr. Sarah
Kahn, Chief Veterinary Officer and Director, Animal Health and
Production Division, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, reporting a
confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Due to this
reporting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), APHIS, Veterinary
Services (VS) is placing a prohibition on the importation of all live
ruminants (such as cattle, sheep, goats, cervids, camelids), ruminant
meat, ruminant meat products and other ruminant products from Canada.
This prohibition is effective as of 1:30 p.m., May 20, 2003. APHIS
believes that emergency measures are necessary to minimize risk to
livestock, livestock producers and other industries in the United
We are suspending the following animals and animal products from Canada:
1. Live ruminants (imports and transits);
2. Processed animal protein (such as meat and bone
meal, meat meal,
bone meal, blood meal, protein meal, etc.), regardless
of species of
origin (not intended to exclude human food in
prepackaged, final form);
3. Animal feed (unless demonstrated to be of
exclusively milk or
4. Pet food (unless animal protein is non-mammalian
origin, under permit
5. Milk replacers containing animal fat or non-milk
6. Ruminant blood and blood products;
7. Animal vaccines containing ruminant-derived
8. Ruminant offal (internal organs, intestines and
tissues not otherwise specified);
9. Ruminant casings;
10. Ruminant glands (including but not limited to
thymus, thyroid, pituitary, etc.);
11. Ruminant gland extracts/derivatives;
12. Unprocessed ruminant fat;
13. Processed fats and oils;
14. Nutritional supplements containing specified risk
materials (SRMs)both in bulk and in final finished package for human or animal
15. Ruminant bones;
17. Tallow, except for tallow derivatives;
18. Ruminant bone-derived gelatin for animal use
(permit and additional
conditions will allow imports for non-animal/industrial
19. Ruminant-derived cartilage and/or chondroitin
20. Non-hide derived collagen (exemptions similar to
those for gelatin
for non-animal use); and
21. Ruminant urine/urine derivatives.
22. Ruminant meat and meat products
The following animal and animal products are still eligible for entry:
milk, milk products, ruminant hide derived products, ruminant semen and
embryos. Semen and embryo import protocols that include the BSE
certification statements will be completed shortly.
Thank you for your cooperation and support.
Karen A. James-Preston, DVM
Technical Trade Services
National Center for Import and Export
The above compilation of articles about "BSE" was provided by
David E Anderson, DVM, MS
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
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