The region’s only mad cow testing facility, a part of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU, will no longer test for mad cow disease as a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture comes to an end March 1.It's disappointing that the USDA is taking this step, especially since the use of animal products in cow fodder is still allowed.
The Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory was given a contract to test Northwest cows for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
The facility began testing in June 2004, several months after a cow in the Yakima Valley tested positive for BSE, the first such case in the United States.
U.S. agriculture officials are planning to close the mad-cow testing lab at Washington State University in Pullman, despite increasing concerns.I'm pretty much speechless. What the hell are they thinking?
The Seattle Times reports the facility -- one of three slated for closure -- will cease operations March 1. It opened three years ago after the nation's first case of the brain-wasting disease -- bovine spongiform encephalopathy -- was found.
Laboratory tests indicated a young woman had contracted the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, the General Health Directorate said in a brief statement posted on its Web site.That last bit really makes the story.
Officials said the disease could be proved beyond doubt only after death.
Stepped-up inspections at some meat and poultry plants are set to begin in April, according to an Agriculture Department official overseeing the first overhaul of food safety inspections in a decade.Not bad, right? Considering the large number of food-processing related stories over the past year it's nice to hear that the US government is doing something right. But then it gets murky:
Food safety critics weren't pleased. Carol Tucker Foreman, director of food policy for Consumer Federation of America, called the policy reckless and illegal. She said the new policy was the result of the White House's desire to reduce spending and "will almost surely result in more illnesses and more deaths from food poisoning."What? Oh, right, see this is what they're talking about:
Plants with fewer risks and better food-handling records will be inspected less often.So what's really going to happen is that the administration has figured out a way to cut back on regulation, while making it sound like they're doing more.
In a memo dated March 7, 2006, representatives of one American cattle operation wrote, "52 head of the 60 came in NO EID. The papers have a mixture of EID & bar codes for official tags. We recorded the bar codes (although a couple came in with no tags at all) and gave them our EID tag." ... "We had a load come in with the wrong health papers all together," stated an e-mail dated April 6 to the state from a cattle firm. "It was never caught at the border." The correct health papers for that load of 66 cattle, the e-mail's author noted, were later obtained from officials at the Canadian border.
The authors begin by presenting data on the surgical procedures undertaken on vCJD patients prior to the onset of clinical symptoms which support the hypothesis that cases via this route are possible. They then apply a mathematical framework to assess the potential for self-sustaining epidemics via surgical procedures.
They conclude that further research is needed into how surgical instruments are used so as to reduce uncertainty and assess the potential risk of this transmission route.