Latest Canadian BSE case not unexpected, experts say
by John Gregerson
on 1/24/2006 for Meatingplace.com
Officials on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border are saying that the discovery of BSE in a 6-year-old Alberta animal “is not unexpected,” but rather consistent with projections that additional Canadian cases would be uncovered as a result of “residual infectivity” following the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban Canada implemented in 1997. “We’ve seen the same thing in other countries,” Dr. Brian Evans, Canada’s chief veterinary officer, told Meatingplace.com. “The United Kingdom implemented its first feed ban in 1988, but it wasn’t until 1992 or 1993 that it broke the back of the BSE epidemic and began to see infections fall off.” “We simply have to look at the BSE experience worldwide,” agreed American Meat Institute Foundation President James H. Hodges, also speaking to Meatingplace.com. “Most countries that had BSE also had it after bans were put in place.” Feed residue may be culprit Evans explained that because even small amounts of infective tissue — even as small as a grain of sand — can transmit BSE when animals are at their most susceptible age, it’s not unreasonable to assume that animals can contract the disease from residue remaining on a feed bin or feed auger. He also said “the potential [for infection] will always be there” as long as other potential vectors of infectivity, including poultry litter in cattle feed, exist. “That’s why we continue to perform surveillance,” he said. Hodges said ongoing surveillance in Canada and the United States indicates “a high level of statistical confidence that if BSE exists in either country, it exists at very, very low levels.” The geographic location and age of the animal identified Monday are consistent with the three domestic cases previously detected through Canada’s surveillance program. Evans said the fact that the age of the infected animal, born in April 2000, is consistent with the bottom threshold of the other three infected animals discovered — 70 months to 80 months — is reason for optimism. He cited the Harvard Risk Assessment for BSE, which indicates that once BSE is significantly reduced in cattle populations, the disease eventually dies out. “That said, I wouldn’t want to identify a date threshold, because it would be based upon assumptions that may or may not happen,” said Evans. Evans said that when Canada uncovers a case of BSE, a molecular assessment of the diseased tissue is performed to determine whether the case has a common affiliation with other cases. He also indicated that a live animal test for the disease, if it becomes available, would help in further eradicating the disease. Industry reaction muted Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns indicated he anticipated no change in the status of beef or live cattle imports to the United States from Canada. Elsewhere, Stan Eby, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said Monday’s diagnosis “is proof that [Canada’s surveillance program] is working.” AMI President J. Patrick Boyle said, “Canadian government data demonstrate a high level of compliance with feed restrictions aimed at preventing the transmission of BSE via feed.”
Early to talk of resuming Japan beef trade
TOKYO, Jan 24 (Reuters) – U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary J.B. Penn said on Tuesday it was premature to talk of a date for a resumption of U.S. beef imports by Japan. Penn was speaking at a news conference after talks with Japanese government officials on issues related to the discovery of banned spinal material in a U.S. beef cargo on Jan. 20, which prompted Tokyo to stop all imports of the meat from the United States.
Penn said the United States needed to continue its investigation into how the incident happened.
At a separate news conference, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official told reporters that Japan had urged the U.S. side to find the cause of the problem over the imported material and prevent it recurring. The suspension came just a month after Japan lifted a two-year ban imposed after the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States in December 2003, which had halted annual trade worth about $1.4 billion. Formerly the top U.S. export market, Japan agreed to resume imports last month but it imposed certain conditions, including the removal of all risk material that could cause the feared brain-wasting disease.
Mad-cow found in animal born after feed ban
Canada expects no trade retaliation; infected bovine did not enter food supply
By ANDRÉ PICARD
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 Posted at 5:49 AM EST
PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTER/ The Globe & Mail
Another case of mad-cow disease has been detected in Canadian cattle – this time in an animal born 2 1/2 years after a ban on feed that was believed to be the source of the devastating neurological disease.
Although the long lag time between the ban and the cow’s birth is “notable,” officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the discovery of a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy is neither surprising nor worrisome.
Oh Give Me a Home Where the Sane Cattle Roam
It looks like Canada is experiencing its 4th case of mad cow since 2003.Curiously, the cow in question was born 2.5 years after a ban on culprit feed was put into place.Canada is downplaying this episode:
“As little as one milligram of contaminated feed could cause BSE.”- Dr. Brian Evans, chief veterinarian at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
I guess it’s reassuring that there was as little as 1 mg. of banned animal tissue in all of Canada’s livestock feed, and that it only passed the choppers of this one cow, and since “the infected cow did not enter the food supply so there is no risk to consumers”, we can relax and go ahead and add a little ground beef to this Sunday’s chili.I understand health officials and beef industry workers don’t want to alarm the public or in any way disturb import, export, or retail sales of beef. But when they present such an incredulous story, they reveal an outright contempt for the intellect of consumers.Just go ahead and cry “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” You’d be surprised how far honesty and transparency will get you. Well … at least you’ll be able to sleep at night.By the way, the US reinstated imports of Canadian cattle in July, 2005. Canada is currently the number one supplier of cattle to
Chart source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association,
US Beef Imports Through August Continue at Record-setting Pace
Beef News – Ohio Beef
The January 25, issue # 471, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at: