From: TSS ()
Subject: Fears Over US Beef
Date: August 3, 2007 at 9:29 am PST
Fears Over US Beef
America Must Take Bold Steps to Ensure Meat Safety
South Korean consumers are increasingly worried about the safety of U.S.
beef imports that have repeatedly contained banned parts. The latest jitters
hit the country Thursday when the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
suspended quarantine inspections of all beef from America over mad-cow
concerns. The ministry said it had discovered a box of vertebral columns,
designated as ``specified risk material'' that could potentially cause mad
cow disease, in an 18.7-ton shipment from the United States.
No doubt food safety is emerging as one of the important global issues. We
remember that the U.S. has strongly condemned China for exporting food
products containing harmful materials. The Chinese authorities executed
Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of the food and drug safety agency, last month
after being convicted of taking bribes from pharmaceutical firms. The
execution was seen as Beijing's strong will to ensure food and drug safety
at home and abroad.
The U.S. has failed to meet export standards 15 times since last October
when Korea partially reopened its market after it banned American beef
imports in December 2003 over the outbreak of mad cow disease. How could the
U.S. continue to violate the bilateral standards in which it agreed to ship
only boneless meat from cattle under 30 months old? It is quite regrettable
that the U.S. has not made any sincere efforts to prevent the repetition of
Korean quarantine officials sent back U.S. beef imports four times between
October and December last year because they contained bone fragments and the
excessive dioxin levels. This year, American meatpackers shipped beef with
short ribs to Korea seven times. They also exported mislabeled beef for U.S.
domestic consumption three times. The U.S. side seemed to have only tried to
find excuses for the violations without taking bold steps to correct its
loose inspection system. Every time Washington officials attributed the
violations to meatpackers' simple mistakes.
The U.S. inaction proves that America is applying double standards to its
foreign trade. It is very strict on goods imported into the country, while
overlooking safety standards for products to be shipped to other countries.
What's more annoying is the remarks by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike
Johanns. In response to the latest case, he said only six out of about
600,000 boxes of beef to Korea have problems. ``So you could see, this has
really worked remarkably well. I would just be very bold in saying that kind
of number whether you're dealing with Kias or Toyotas or beef is a very,
very strong number,'' he said.
His saying indicates that the U.S. has no intention of rectifying its
mistakes. Johanns said the real solution to the problem is to go to
standards of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). ``This would
not even be an issue if we were at OIE standards,'' he said. He claimed the
vertebral column from an animal under 30 months of age is within OIE
standards. His stance shows that the U.S. is only interested in opening the
Korean market wider to its beef, while not respecting the bilateral
agreement on beef trade.
American lawmakers have already threatened to reject a free trade agreement
(FTA) signed by the both countries in June, if South Korea does not comply
with a U.S. demand for a full market opening to American beef. Korean
farmers and anti-FTA activists criticized Seoul government for taking the
lukewarm step of halting the inspection of U.S. beef imports over the spinal
bone case in a bid to avoid the threat. They said the Roh Moo-hyun
administration should have imposed a total ban on American beef until the
U.S. takes scrupulous measures to ensure beef safety.
Washington officials should realize that they might succeed in forcing Seoul
to completely open its beef market, but that they cannot win back Korean
consumers' confidence in U.S. beef. And Korean policymakers must make
efforts to protect sovereign consumer rights to safe beef without yielding
to mounting trade pressure from the U.S.
2007/08/02 07:04 KST
U.S. admits to shipping unauthorized beef parts to South Korea
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- The United States acknowledged Wednesday that
it shipped animal parts to South Korea that are currently banned due to a
mad cow disease scare.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said one box of U.S. beef that reached
Seoul last weekend contained backbone that should have been removed.
"My hope is that there isn't a ban on U.S. beef or anything like that,"
he told reporters. He did not say which company shipped the material.
The vertebral column is considered a high-risk bone material linked to
the cause of mad cow disease.
South Korea in January last year lifted a ban of more than two years on
all American beef, citing health concerns after the discovery of the mad cow
disease at a U.S. cattle farm. But it agreed only to resume imports of
boneless products from animals age 30 months or younger.
The Asian nation, which in June signed a free trade agreement with the
U.S., has been considering removing import restrictions on bone-in beef as
Graphic pictures greet Winfrey jury
By KAY LEDBETTER
Globe-News Farm and Ranch Editor
Pictures of sheep heads, euthanized pets and roadkill greeted jurors
this morning as they returned to the continuation of the cattlemen vs.
Oprah Winfrey lawsuit.
The lawsuit continues today in U.S. District Mary Lou Robinson's court,
but in a much diminished state.
Defense lawyer Charles Babcock called Van Smith, a City Paper reporter
from Baltimore who had written an article on rendering plants in
Smith and Babcock went through more than 50 pictures taken as the
reporter toured the Valley Proteins plant in Baltimore and followed a
rendering truck to the local animal shelter, a sausage plant and a
The pictures showed offal being emptied from the slaughterhouses. They
showed animal shelter workers in the euthanasia room; barrels of dead
animals in a refrigerated room at the animal shelter; waste meat from
the sausage plant; and dead sheep from the slaughterhouse.
QUESTION, IS U.S.A. FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEM POISONING US ?
What Do We Feed to Food-Production Animals? A Review of Animal Feed
Ingredients and Their Potential Impacts on Human Health
Amy R. Sapkota,1,2 Lisa Y. Lefferts,1,3 Shawn McKenzie,1 and Polly Walker1
1Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Bloomberg School of Public
Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA; 2Maryland Institute for
Applied Environmental Health, College of Health and Human Performance,
University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA;
3Lisa Y. Lefferts Consulting, Nellysford, Virginia, USA
Table 1. Animal feed ingredients that are legally used in U.S. animal feeds
Rendered animal protein from Meat meal, meat meal tankage, meat and bone
meal, poultry meal, animal the slaughter of food by-product meal, dried
animal blood, blood meal, feather meal, egg-shell production animals and
other meal, hydrolyzed whole poultry, hydrolyzed hair, bone marrow, and
animal animals digest from dead, dying, diseased, or disabled animals
including deer and elk Animal waste Dried ruminant waste, dried swine waste,
dried poultry litter, and undried processed animal waste products
Food-animal production in the United States has changed markedly in the past
century, and these changes have paralleled major changes in animal feed
formulations. While this industrialized system of food-animal production may
result in increased production efficiencies, some of the changes in animal
feeding practices may result in unintended adverse health consequences for
consumers of animal-based food products. Currently, the use of animal feed
including rendered animal products, animal waste, antibiotics, metals, and
fats, could result in higher levels of bacteria, antibioticresistant
bacteria, prions, arsenic, and dioxinlike compounds in animals and resulting
animal-based food products intended for human consumption. Subsequent human
health effects among consumers could include increases in bacterial
infections (antibioticresistant and nonresistant) and increases in the risk
of developing chronic (often fatal) diseases
such as vCJD. Nevertheless, in spite of the wide range of potential human
health impacts that could result from animal feeding practices, there are
little data collected at the federal or state level concerning the amounts
of specific ingredients that are intentionally included in U.S. animal feed.
In addition, almost no biological or chemical testing is conducted on
complete U.S. animal feeds; insufficient testing is performed on retail meat
products; and human health effects data are not appropriately linked to this
information. These surveillance inadequacies make it difficult to conduct
rigorous epidemiologic studies and risk assessments
that could identify the extent to which specific human health risks are
ultimately associated with animal feeding practices. For example, as noted
above, there are insufficient data to determine whether other human
foodborne bacterial illnesses besides those caused by S. enterica serotype
Agona are associated with animal feeding practices. Likewise, there are
insufficient data to determine the percentage of antibiotic-resistant human
bacterial infections that are attributed to the nontherapeutic use of
antibiotics in animal feed. Moreover, little research has been conducted to
determine whether the use of organoarsenicals in animal feed, which can lead
to elevated levels of arsenic in meat products (Lasky et al. 2004),
contributes to increases in cancer risk. In order to address these research
gaps, the following principal actions are necessary within the United
States: a) implementation of a nationwide reporting system of the specific
amounts and types of feed ingredients of concern to public health that are
incorporated into animal feed, including antibiotics, arsenicals, rendered
animal products, fats, and animal waste; b) funding and development of
robust surveillance systems that monitor biological, chemical, and other
etiologic agents throughout the animal-based food-production chain “from
farm to fork” to human health outcomes; and c) increased communication and
collaboration among feed professionals, food-animal producers, and
veterinary and public health officials.
Sapkota et al.
668 VOLUME 115 | NUMBER 5 | May 2007 • Environmental Health Perspectives
BANNED MAD COW PROTEIN IN COMMERCE