January 23, 2006
“I appreciated the opportunity to speak with Canadian Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell today, who apprised me of the new BSE detection in Canada. I assured him that based on the information he supplied, I anticipate no change in the status of beef or live cattle imports to the U.S. from Canada under our established agreement. As I’ve said many times, our beef trade decisions follow internationally accepted guidelines that are based in science.
“We will continue to evaluate this situation as the investigation continues. I have directed our USDA team to work with Canada and its investigative team. Minister Mitchell has pledged his full cooperation.
“I am confident in the safety of beef and in the safeguards we and our approved beef trading partners have in place to protect our food supply. We will continue to adhere to international guidelines in our relationships with all trading partners, and my hope continues to be that we achieve a system of science-based global beef trade.”
R-CALF’s new leader wants to expand group
BILLINGS, Mont. The new leader of R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America wants to change perceptions of the group.
Chuck Kiker is from mainstream cattle country — Texas. And as R-CALF’s new president, the cattle and rice producer wants to expand the size and appeal of the group, perhaps best known for its fight over cattle and beef trade with Canada.
If successful, Kiker says it could mean an eventual move from R-CALF’s home base in Billings, Montana, to a larger city such as Dallas or Denver.
He says everybody defined R-CALF as a radical group from the North, and now that’s being redefined.
Kiker succeeds Montana rancher Leo McDonnell as president. He says the South is an area of interest for recruitment and R-CALF has hired help to sign up more members there.
Possible mad cow case found
Monday, January 23, 2006
OTTAWA (CP) — Federal agriculture inspectors are looking into the possibility of another case of mad cow disease, a spokesperson for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Sunday.
“We have an ongoing testing program for BSE and that means from time to time we undertake confirmatory tests when we come up with a suspicious sample,” said Mark Van Dusen.
“We are undergoing such testing on a suspicious sample.”
Van Dusen said the animal must go to a Winnipeg lab for final tests. Inspectors should know within 48 hours if they have another case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy on their hands.
He said there are no indications that any part of the animal entered the human-food or animal-feed systems.
Canada’s beef and dairy cattle breeding industry remains shut out of American markets since BSE was discovered in an Alberta cow in May 2003.
The Americans reopened their border to young cattle last July after the two-year ban brought on by fear of mad cow disease.
When that happened, many people believed the crisis, which has cost Canada’s cattle industry more than $7 billion, was finally over.
But Canada has a surplus of about 900,000 older-cull cattle that can’t be shipped south because of lingering concerns they may harbour a risk of BSE.
Van Dusen couldn’t confirm the age of the animal currently being tested but said it is definitely older than 30 months. Younger cattle are believed to have a lower risk of developing BSE.
He said he is aware of rumours the animal is from Alberta.
Canadian beef recently returned to some supermarket shelves in Tokyo following the lifting of a two-year ban on imports. Japanese officials agreed to allow beef from North America back into the marketplace — provided it came from animals under 21 months.
Entry into Japan is considered key to the long-term recovery plan of Canada’s battered beef industry.
Cattle officials have pinned their hopes on a growing appetite from Pacific Rim countries to help reduce the reliance on the U.S. market, which gobbles up the vast majority of this country’s beef exports.
© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006
Canada beef industry doesn’t see fresh U.S. ban
Mon Jan 23, 2006 12:31 PM EST
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – The discovery in Canada of a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease, is unlikely to spur fresh trade restrictions by the United States, the country’s biggest export market, an industry official said on Monday.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said a six-year-old cow from an Alberta dairy farm tested positive for the brain-wasting affliction, making it the fourth reported home-grown case in the country. The animal’s remains did not enter the human food chain or the cattle feed system, the agency said.
Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture rules recognize the potential for the odd instance of the disease in Canada and the United States, said Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.
“It’s not unexpected that we’re going to see a few more isolated cases. It’s obviously unwelcome, but pretty well around the world there have been what’s referred to as ‘BARB’ cattle. Those are born after ruminant ban,” Laycraft said.
CFIA chief veterinarian Brian Evans has said there would be no scientific basis for barring shipments of Canadian beef from animals under 30 months of age.
In 1997, Canada had banned the use of protein from ruminant animals — such as cows, deer, goats, sheep and elk — in cattle feed following Britain’s BSE outbreak. Scientists believe this would help stop the spread of the disease.
However, not all the old feed was disposed of, Laycraft said.
“Although it’s too early to know precisely, the fact it is contained — it was in the herd in which it was born — is going to greatly facilitate the investigation,” Laycraft said.
The Canadian industry lost an estimated C$7 billion ($6 billion) from the discovery of the first BSE case in May 2003, which triggered international trade bans. The United States resumed the import of young animals in 2005.
Canada finds new case of mad cow disease
Mon Jan 23, 2006
12:24 PM EST
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – A new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease, has been found in Canada, the fourth home-grown case since 2003.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials said on Monday that a six-year-old cross-breed cow in the province of Alberta had been confirmed to have the disease.
The Holstein-Hereford cow’s carcass did not enter either the human food chain or the animal feed chain, CFIA chief veterinarian Brian Evans said.
“Last evening the…laboratory for BSE located in Winnipeg confirmed the presence of BSE in a cross-bred cow born and raised in Alberta,” he said.
“The animal was detected on the farm where it was born and no part of this animal entered the food for human consumption or feed for animal consumption purposes.”
Evans said it is premature to say whether export markets would ban Canadian cows and beef as a result of the discovery, adding that there would be no scientific basis for barring shipments of Canadian beef from animals under 30 months of age.
Detecting sporadic cases of older cattle with traces of the brain-wasting disease is “normal,” he said.
Tighter controls and testing after the first case of hoegrown BSE in Canada was discovered late in May 2003 are bringing the national herd toward eventual BSE-free status, Evans said.
USDA needs to move ‘quickly and firmly’ to restore Japan’s confidence in U.S. beef
by John Gregerson
1/23/2006 for Meatingplace.com
U.S. and Japanese officials were set to meet over the weekend to begin to untangle how vertebrae parts wound up in beef shipped from the United States to Tokyo, and what Japan will require of the U.S. beef industry and Agriculture Department before it reopens it border to U.S. beef. The vertebrae parts, among the tissue types Japan has banned as a condition of reopening its markets to U.S. beef, were discovered at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on Friday in an 860-pound product shipment from New York. Kyodo News reported the shipment was made by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based packer Atlantic Veal & Lamb. Japan immediately reimposed its ban on U.S. beef following the discovery of the vertebrae parts. Though it didn’t identify the U.S. packer responsible for the shipment, USDA indicated the company had been delisted for export of beef products to Japan. U.S. Meat Export Federation President Philip M. Seng said that USDA would need to respond “quickly and firmly” in assuring Japanese officials that USDA and the U.S. beef industry are willing and able to comply with trade provisions between Japan and the United States. “It’s very important that the USDA respond quickly and thoroughly to questions the Japanese may have in order to put the issue to rest before it has a chance to germinate,” Seng told Meatingplace.com. “That means elucidating to Japan what transpired, how it transpired and what is planned to prevent it from happening again.” He said the fact that USDA and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns moved quickly to address the issue, both in dispatching USDA inspectors to Japan and boosting inspection efforts in the United States, may bode well for talks between the two countries. In particular, Seng lauded a move by Johanns to require a second FSIS signature on export certificates. “We’ve jarred Japanese confidence in USDA and we may have to go a little over the edge in order to regain that confidence,” he said. Seng added he wouldn’t be surprised if the Japanese require a more thorough audit of U.S. processing operations by Japanese inspectors as a condition for resuming imports of U.S. beef product. “They may want to observe all 100 percent of the plants deemed eligible to export beef to Japan.”NCBA demands full investigationMeanwhile, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO Terry Stokes insisted that the situation be fully investigated, while emphasizing that “what’s being investigated is a technical violation, not a beef safety issue” since bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which is associated with bovine nervous system tissue, is indigenous to older cattle. Prior to the ban, only beef product from cattle 20 months of age and younger had been shipped to Japan. American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle said AMI has been told the product in question was veal from cattle six months of age. “Despite this shipment, sent in error … U.S. beef and veal remain among the safest in the world,” he said.
By CAT URBIGKITCasper Star-Tribune correspondent
BOULDER — After 110 years of raising cattle in a harsh western Wyoming climate, there are some things you just know, without being able to explain them. Some might call it instinct, but it might just be something in your blood that’s been passed on from generation to generation.
That’s how it is with Lucky Seven Angus owner Jim Jensen. His family has been in the cattle business in Sublette County for more than a century, and Jensen plans to pass the ranching traditions on to the next generation as well.
“In 1895, my great-grandpa, James Jensen, moved to Boulder and worked at the Gilligan ranch, for cows as his wages,” Jensen said. “In 1896, he lived in a dugout in the Big Sandy area, shoveling snow off the grass in the winter so his cows and horses could eat. That’s how he started.”
James Jensen began acquiring property and eventually owned a large portion of the Boulder valley, but sold off portions of the ranch to others starting out in the cattle business. The ranch was passed down to the next generations, with some splits to accommodate brothers.
“I’m the next generation,” Jensen said, “and my three kids are the next generation.”
Korea Will Resume U.S. Beef Imports as Planned
Korea says Japan’s decision to slap a fresh ban on imports of U.S. beef will not affect the agreement between Seoul and Washington to resume American beef imports at the end of March. Agriculture Ministry officials say Korea and Japan have different conditions. For example, Korea will import meat only while keeping its ban on bone imports, as bones and bone marrow are believed to be linked to mad cow disease.
But the ministry is watching Japan’s case carefully and will strengthen the inspection process. South Korea and Japan banned imports of U.S. beef in 2003, after the first U.S. case of BSE was discovered there.
Japan’s Abe pushes US for explanation on beef
Mon Jan 23, 12:47 AM ET
Japan’s top government spokesman said on Monday there would be no resumption of U.S. beef imports without an explanation of how banned spinal material came to be found in a shipment of U.S. meat last week.
Japan, formerly the biggest market for American beef, had just last month lifted a ban on imports imposed in 2003 after a U.S. case of the brain-wasting mad cow disease.
Imports were halted again after spinal material, believed to have a higher risk of causing a fatal human form of mad cow disease, was discovered in a shipment of imported meat on Friday.
“First of all, the United States must find out the cause, then introduce measures to prevent this from happening again,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told a news conference.
“We will make a decision based on that,” he added, when asked about the ban.
The government will also ask Japanese importers to check whether any banned material has been included among U.S. beef already imported since the ban was lifted, Abe said.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, on a visit to Japan, has repeatedly apologized for the violation of regulations.
Abe later met Zoellick and quoted him as saying in their meeting that the United States would do its best to investigate the cause of the problem and relieve Japanese consumers’ concerns over safety.
Zoellick did not specify when a report on the incident would be submitted to Japan,