FSnet Jan. 1/04
at delay in reopening border to some Canadian beef products
among safest: peters; the agriculture minister says; The U.S. should emulate
denies U.S. mad cow case link
US: no need
to test all cattle for madcow
grass-fed cattle hot after mad cow case
industry, a swift response years in the making
linked to mad cow inquiry have been found
puts experience to work in mad cow case
move ill cows humanely
disease: lessons unlearned (4 letters)
schools give irradiated meat cold reception
additives permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption;
how to subscribe
hints at delay in reopening border to some Canadian beef products
Jan. 1, 2004
Globe and Mail
Dawn Walton and Jill Mahoney
CALGARY, EDMONTON -- The United States, according to this story, gave further
indications yesterday that it will delay reopening the border to young Canadian
cattle and some beef products, a move that would deal another blow to this
country's beleaguered cattle industry.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a proposed rule two months ago that
would lift the ban on some Canadian imports, but gave interested parties until
Monday to comment.
However, Ron DeHaven, chief veterinarian with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, was cited as saying the comment period would be open "at
least" until Monday, a statement made in response to the discovery last
week of mad-cow disease in a Washington-state Holstein that may have been born
in Alberta, adding, "Given this situation . . . the comment period for that
rule is still open and will be open at least until Jan. 5. The entire
epidemiological investigation needs to be taken into account as we determine
what action that we would take."
The story says that as soon as the possible Canadian link was announced, the
U.S. cattle lobby effort moved into high gear to delay reopening of the border
to live Canadian cattle under 30 months of age, meat from young animals and
The U.S. National Cattlemen's Beef Association has asked for an "indefinite
extension" on the comment period until the investigation into the
Washington-state BSE case is complete.
"This will allow us to gather all the information from the investigation so
we can comment accordingly on behalf of our members," association chief
executive officer Terry Stokes said.
Canadian officials said they still assume the comment period will end Monday.
"We just proceed on that basis and you know if there's a change to that,
whether they extend the comment period or whether they make a decision to reopen
it at some point thereafter, we'll just have to deal with that when it
happens," Blair Coomber, director-general of international trade policy for
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, said in an interview.
Still, many in the Canadian cattle industry have resigned themselves to the
possibility that the recent case will throw a wrench into removing trade
"Everything's up in the air," said Dennis Laycraft, executive
vice-president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.
It is the first time the United States has signalled it could prolong the
comment period, said Ted Haney, president of the Canada Beef Export Federation.
"You can't tell how much to read into it, but you know they are at least
considering an extension," he said.
beef among safest: peters; the agriculture minister says; The U.S. should
emulate Ontario safeguards
The London Free Press
Debora van Brenk
Ontario Agriculture Minister Steve Peters was cited as saying yesterday that the
United States should emulate safeguards in Ontario that have made the province's
beef among the world's safest.
After meeting privately with about 50 beef industry representatives -- including
producers, shippers, feeders, breeders and auction operators -- Peters said the
U.S. needs to deal scientifically with its mad cow scare, as Canada has, adding,
"My message to . . . the United States would be that we can't allow this
process to become emotional and politicized. I think it's imperative that we
deal with this in a science-based approach."
Though some Americans say the U.S. should indefinitely stop importing Canadian
beef, Peters said the two countries should take a "hemispheric
approach" to food safety and reopen borders soon.
"What we've been able to show to the consumers and what we can show
to the Americans is that our food supply is safe."
The story says there's so far no intention of keeping "downer" cattle
that can no longer walk) out of meat-packing plants here, even though the U.S.
announced that step.
Instead, Peters said, Ontario will continue making sure a vet inspects downer
cattle to certify them safe for consumption.
He noted Ontario has tested 2,300 cattle, all of which have tested negative for
BSE, in the last 18 months.
Peters doesn't see any reason to extend the testing to all cattle (as is the
case in Japan) or all cattle older than 30 months (as is done in Europe).
If the federal government decides to expand its testing, Ontario will
co-operate, he said.
exec denies U.S. mad cow case link
AP/ Canadian Press
TORONTO -- Barry Glotman , president of West Coast Reduction, which owns and
operates Northern Alberta Processing and several other of the plants, which
process animal carcasses was cited as telling the Associated Press that his
company was not the source of a U.S. case of mad cow disease, saying his
business adheres to strict guidelines and that it's premature to place blame,
adding, "I don't think we produce contaminated feed."
The Edmonton Journal was cited as reporting Wednesday that Canadian food safety
investigators had established a tentative link between the Edmonton rendering
plant and the infected Holstein found on a Washington state farm.
Glotman was further cited as saying that Tom Spiller, who is heading the
investigation into the feed sources of both animals for the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency, had recently visited the plant and asked for records showing
where the company sells its meat and bone meal, adding, "They're just
basically checking. We've been audited."
But Glotman said "it's a little premature right now" to blame his
In a statement released late Wednesday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was
cited as saying it is examining feed purchasing, production and distribution
records from 1996-1998, but did not specifically name any plants, adding,
"While it has been reported in the media that a possible link was
identified between a rendering facility and the two North American ... cases, it
is premature to draw such a conclusion at this time as the investigation is not
The statement added that "it is important to note that many feed mills and
farms in Western Canada draw material from the same renderers."
CFIA investigator Cornelius Kiley said the agency is getting a jump-start in
case testing confirms the Washington cow came from Alberta, adding, "We're
being prudent. We've got a line of investigation that was given to us by the
U.S. and we're pursuing the line that they believe links this cow to having been
born in Alberta. We could wait until next week until we know for sure, but we do
have staff that can go out and do some preliminary investigative work, so that's
what we're doing."
no need to test all cattle for madcow
By Charles Abbott and Randy Fabi
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration was cited as saying on Wednesday there was
no need to test all U.S. cattle for mad cow disease because its new safeguards
should satisfy American consumers and trading partners that U.S. beef is safe to
The story says that Japan, the No. 1 buyer, will send a team of food experts to
the United States, probably in January, to gather information that may bolster
U.S. requests for resumption of trade.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and USDA's chief veterinarian, Ron DeHaven,
brushed aside suggestions to test all cattle, as Japan does. DeHaven told
reporters it was premature to consider such an action in the eighth day of
investigating the mad cow case.
During a news conference, DeHaven was quoted as saying it was "far too
premature to draw any conclusions" about the source of feed that may have
infected the Holstein in Washington state and the Black Angus cow that was
Canada's first case of mad cow in May.
By KOZO MIZOGUCHI
Associated Press Writer
TOKYO -- The Yoshinoya fast-food chain was cited as saying it will stop serving
its trademark beef-and-onions rice dish unless Japanese authorities lift a ban
on U.S. beef imports.
The Royal Host restaurant chain is considering whether it can increase the
amount of beef it gets from Australia. McDonald's Japan has taken out full-page
newspaper ads reassuring consumers that its patties are made only with
The story says that news that a cow in Washington state tested positive last
week for mad cow disease -- the first U.S. case of the brain-wasting bovine
ailment -- has created a dilemma for restaurant chains in Japan, the world's
biggest customer for U.S. beef.
The story adds that low-cost chains like Yoshinoya, there's no substitute for
cheap U.S. beef.
With 980 restaurants nationwide, Yoshinoya relies on U.S. suppliers for 99
percent of the beef used in its "gyudon" beef bowl -- which at about
$2.50 is a staple for office workers and budget-conscious students.
Yoshinoya president Shuji Abe was cited as saying the chain would run out of
beef stocks in February and that if the ban on U.S. beef imports continued,
Yoshinoya won't be able to keep serving its signature product, adding, "I
never thought our business would come to this."
Japan imports about two-thirds of its beef, and around 47 percent, or more than
226,000 tons, came from the United States last year. The rest comes mostly from
Australia and New Zealand, neither of which has had a reported case of mad cow
grass-fed cattle hot after mad cow case
By Jim Christie
SAN FRANCISCO - Some consumers, fearing that the first U.S. case of mad cow
disease is not a fluke, are, according to this story, buying more beef from
grass-fed cattle -- even at much higher prices than conventional beef.
From the Midwestern heartland of the $27 billion U.S. beef industry to boutique
ranches tucked away in California's wine country, ranchers report that the
newfound public concern over food safety makes it a good time to be raising
cattle the old-fashioned -- or, some would say, Argentine -- way.
John Wood, president of Grassland Beef in Monticello, Missouri, an online
storefront selling cattle raised exclusively on grass without the use of growth
hormones, was quoted as saying, "This thing made the phone start to ring.
What it has done is make loyal customers out of our customer base."
The story goes on to say that even before the first U.S. case of mad cow disease
was announced last week, grass-fed beef producers were positioning their beef as
an organic alterative to corn-fed beef, pointing to its lower levels of
saturated fat and high levels of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants.
Some restaurants have taken up the banner, providing grass-fed cattle ranchers
an important market in the United States. In Argentina, ranchers raise cattle on
grasslands to produce some of the world's most highly prized beef.
Larry Bain, director of operations at San Francisco's Acme Chophouse and
Jardiniere restaurants, which together serve some 2,800 steaks from grass-fed
beef during busy weeks,,, was quoted as saying, "It's healthier for the
The grass-fed beef comes at a hefty cost -- about 25 percent to 30 percent more
than commodity cuts at supermarkets -- and some restaurants expect that premium
cattle industry, a swift response years in the making
January 1, 2004
WASHINGTON — When word flashed to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
last week that the first case of mad cow disease in the United States had been
found on the West Coast, it was a red alert for an industry that had, according
to this story, spent years playing down the threat.
The association and its allies have spent millions in recent years to deploy
lobbyists defending its interests on meat regulations, inheritance taxes and
other issues. So when a crisis surfaced that struck directly at beef sales, it
had a plan.
The story says that Washington lobbyists began tracking down members of
Congress, who were home for the holidays, and discussing the response with
officials at the Agriculture Department. Teams of experts in all 50 states were
made available to the news media to get out the group's message. And the
association posted a Web page, created years ago but held in reserve, to educate
Chandler Keys, the association's vice president for government affairs, was
quoted as saying, "We were trying to get to the American consumer, where
all our money comes from."
The initial response was the first line of defense for an industry facing the
largest test of its clout in years. It then embraced regulations imposed by the
Agriculture Department on Tuesday, including an about-face on a provision the
industry had long opposed and had defeated in the House earlier this year.
Howard Lyman, a former rancher and lobbyist for the National Farm Union who is
now an advocate for tighter regulations and a critic of the industry, was quoted
as saying,"Their barn is burning down. They are trying to put the best face
Mr. Keys was further cited as saying the association made a steadfast effort at
transparent communication with consumers about the diseased cow and the safety
of the meat supply, adding, "When people inside the Beltway worry about the
perception of the American public and spin things and manipulate the message,
that's the worst thing you can do."
Marion Nestle, who will step down as chairman of the Department of Nutrition,
Food Studies and Public Health at New York University in 2004 after 15 years,
was quoted as saying, "They are on the run now. Countries all over the
world are saying they will not buy their meat. That's serious."
cows linked to mad cow inquiry have been found
January 1, 2004
The Agriculture Department was cited as saying on Wednesday that it had found
some of the 81 cows thought to have been shipped to the United States from
Canada with a cow that turned out to have the first case of mad cow disease seen
in the United States.
Nine of the cows are still on the farm in Mabton, Wash., where the infected cow
"And we have good leads on all of the remaining animals," said Dr. Ron
DeHaven, chief veterinary officer for the Agriculture Department. So far, Dr.
DeHaven said, the leads have all been to farms in Washington, but the tracking
is not finished.
puts experience to work in mad cow case
January 1, 2004
By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
When California strawberries were suspected -- wrongly -- of making people sick
in 1997, Ann M. Veneman, then the state's agriculture secretary, stood up at a
news conference and said there was nothing to worry about. To prove the fruit
was safe, she popped a few in her mouth.
The announcement on Dec. 23 of the first case of mad cow disease in the United
States again brought Veneman before the cameras, this time as head of the
Department of Agriculture, facing the worst crisis of her three-year tenure. The
stage was much bigger; the stakes, higher. And her assurances that she still
planned to serve beef for Christmas dinner were not enough to make the problem
Veneman was quoted as saying yesterday in an interview at her office, which
overlooks the National Mall and, these days, three television satellite trucks,
that, "By far, it's the biggest food safety [and] animal disease crisis
I've dealt with. Maybe this is my biggest experience, but over the years we've
dealt with food safety crises. . . . And one of the things I've learned is that
it's very important to be out there quickly, to tell the whole story as soon as
Veneman, who during her tenure has coped with Britain's foot-and-mouth disease
outbreak, several domestic meat recalls and fears of a terrorist assault on the
food supply, was cited as saying that Canada's experience with a positive mad
cow test in May helped guide the administration's response, adding, "It was
aggressive action. You make changes when you are a BSE-positive country, even if
it's only one cow. . . . It helps to assure consumer confidence at a time when
consumers are seeing a lot of pictures on the television and, frankly, saying,
'Wow, I didn't really know this.' "
The story says that in general, supporters and critics alike have praised
Veneman's handling of the crisis. They call her openness necessary and her
sure-handedness a reflection of a career that has included a stint as the
department's No. 2 official and ample experience in law and politics.
J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute, an industry group,
was quoted as saying, "She did an exemplary job handling what is a fairly
complex animal health issue that has a lot of emotion surrounding it. She is
exceptionally well-qualified for this role."
Critics also say, however, that Veneman's actions illustrate that the White
House has been slow to realize that it takes more than lip service to ensure
that the nation's food supply is safe from mad cow disease and more common
Carol Tucker Foreman, an assistant secretary of agriculture in the Carter
administration who is director of the Food Policy Institute of the Consumer
Federation of America, was quoted as saying, "Virtually everything they did
[this week] was something that we had urged them to do for many years. It's like
they sat around waiting until somebody set off the dynamite under them before
they moved on it."
Foreman and other critics said Veneman was slow to craft new rules to control
listeria, an illness-causing bacterium that can be found in ready-to-eat foods.
And they say she has not followed through on recent pledges to seek authority
from Congress to impose civil penalties and cease-and-desist orders to ensure
meat is safe.
Nancy Donley, president of the advocacy group Safe Tables Our Priority, was
quoted as saying, "If I were to give her a letter grade, it would be like a
Veneman defended her record, saying she takes all interests into account and
noting that tests have shown significant declines in pathogens such as listeria
and salmonella in meats.
to move ill cows humanely
Jan. 1, 2004
Dianne M. Radmore, of Denman Island, B.C. writes regarding Tougher rules set to
battle mad cow, Dec. 31, to say that as animal agribusiness spin doctors and
politicians scramble to do damage control around the latest mad cow crisis, a
related scandal remains virtually ignored by mainstream media. The allegedly
Canadian-born dairy cow that ended up in Washington State was a
"downer"— an industry term used to describe animals too sick or weak
to even stand. Often unable to access food and water troughs, downers may endure
hours or even days without these most basic requirements.
It is also well documented that moving such animals humanely is practically
impossible. Routine methods include dragging with chains and pushing with
tractors or forklifts.
Animal activists have been lobbying for years for downed animal protection
legislation and yet the horror stories persist. Awareness of this cruelty should
prompt even more of us to question those food choices inconsistent with our
greater desire for a more peaceful and humane world in 2004.
cow disease: lessons unlearned (4 letters)
January 1, 2004
Martha Hubbart of Miami, writes regarding, "U.S. Issues Safety Rules to
Protect Food Against Mad Cow Disease" (front page, Dec. 31) to say:
Mary had a little lamb,
And when she saw it sicken,
She shipped it off to Packingtown,
And now it's labeled chicken.
This bit of verse was written in response to "The Jungle," the 1906
novel by Upton Sinclair that exposed the appalling practices in the meat-packing
Public reaction resulted in the pure-food legislation that (or so I was taught)
corrected the abuses. And yet Hubbart read that the Department of Agriculture is
just now taking new steps to ban the use of sick cows in the nation's food
How did we get here? What has been going on in that 98-year interval?
David W. Blair of Princeton, N.J., writes regarding, "Probability, Luck and
One Mad Cow" (Week in Review, Dec. 28) to say that the lucky discovery that
a mad cow has been processed and put into our food stream has led to the
widespread publicity about the deplorable state of our meat inspection and
control system. Obviously ailing and disabled animals have been slaughtered and
sold as food for humans.
In the Reagan administration, meat inspection was curtailed under the
ideological imperative of getting the government out of the way to let industry
do what it does best. There was little outcry from the public. Ideology and
lobbying continued to prevent improvement and modernization of the inspection
system, and now industry is seen to be doing what it does best.
Nick Ingoglia of North Caldwell, N.J., a neuroscientist, writes regarding
"A Pound of Prevention" (editorial, Dec. 31) to say the infectious
agents in mad cow disease, prion proteins, are naturally occurring. They become
lethal only when their structure is altered and they somehow induce the
alteration of other prion proteins, leading to the gradual deterioration of
brain tissue as seen in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. The symptoms of
Creutzfeldt-Jakob, however, are not apparent until years after the disease has
infected the host. This is likely to be true in cows as well as humans, so there
are probably thousands of "mad cows" not yet manifesting the symptoms
of the disease.
The only way we can feel completely safe from this disease is for scientists to
find a test to detect the abnormal prion protein in asymptomatic cows and to
remove cattle found to harbor the abnormal form of prion from the food chain.
Stela Maris Dallar of New York, writes regarding, "U.S. Issues Safety Rules
to Protect Food Against Mad Cow Disease" (front page, Dec. 31), to ask, why
on earth was a "downer" cow — a sure sign that the animal was sick
— slaughtered and sold to consumers? What kind of government leadership do we
have that did not stand up to the meat industry lobby and did not have a
long-term view of the consequences?
At last, some measures are being taken to protect the food supply. Are they,
however, enough to regain my confidence as someone who grew up eating meat and
who loves a good steak?
Dallar says she has a work colleague who lost her spouse to mad cow disease, and
her ordeal was devastating, both emotionally and financially.
Would she order a steak tonight? She's not sure.
schools give irradiated meat cold reception
Byline: By Tom Walsh, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The 560 public and private Iowa school systems that participate in the National
School Lunch Program can, according to this story, begin serving irradiated
ground beef on Jan. 1, but not one Iowa school system is planning to do so,
either then or anytime soon.
The story says that only two school districts in the nation... one in Indiana,
other in Maine... have approved the use of irradiated ground beef, according
to the 55,000-member American School Food Service Association.
Diane Duncan-Goldsmith, the food service director for the Iowa City Community
School District, was quoted as saying, "It's too controversial. It's an
emerging technology with as many pros as cons. My overwhelming concern is the
appropriateness of mass-testing this technology on children. I don't think
it's the appropriate arena."
The story says that although the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service in
1999 approved irradiation of raw meat and poultry used in consumer products, the
agency banned distribution of irradiated meats through the National School Lunch
Program. That ban was lifted by the 2002 Farm Bill, which directed USDA not to
prohibit the use of approved food safety technologies in commodities purchased
by the program.
The Farm Bill also required USDA to consider "the acceptability of
recipients of products purchased" by the agency for commodity distribution.
That requirement jump-started a USDA consumer education effort to provide
information about irradiation to local school districts, including parents,
students, teachers, food service staffers and school administrators.
Suzy Ketelsen, manager of food and nutrition for the Cedar Rapids
Community School District, was quoted as saying, "As a district, we'll need
to follow the lead of the state and the USDA. Protecting the public from
food-borne illness is a real priority, and, down the road, I do see the use of
irradiated products beyond flour and spices."
Dean Flaws, a consultant who works with the state's Bureau of Food &
Nutrition, was quoted as saying, "At least in talking with people, nobody
seems to be for it. We're planning to survey the approximately 360 public and
200 parochial school systems in Iowa that have school lunch programs to see if
any would be interested in ordering it. It may be, if there's any interest, that
we can get it just for those schools."
additives permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption;
December 31, 2003
Federal Register: Volume 68, Number 250
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
[Docket No. 2002F-0220]
AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is amending the food
additive regulations to provide for the safe use of acesulfame
potassium (ACK) as a general-purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer in
food, not including meat and poultry. This action
is in response to a food additive petition filed by Nutrinova, Inc. It
will simplify the existing regulations by replacing all of the
currently listed uses of ACK with a single-use category for food.
DATES: This rule is effective December 31, 2003. Submit written or
electronic objections and requests for a hearing by January 30, 2004.
ADDRESSES: Submit written objections and requests for a hearing to the
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration,
5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic
objections at http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Blondell Anderson, Center for Food Safety and
Applied Nutrition (HFS-265), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch
Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740-3835, 202-418-3106.
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