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From: TSS ()
Subject: USDA STILL PANDERING TO INDUSTRY still wants 'don't ask, don't tell' mad cow recall policy
Date: March 27, 2008 at 11:52 am PST

USDA Might Limit Meat Recall Information
By ERICA WERNER – 16 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under pressure from the food industry, the Agriculture
Department is considering a proposal not to identify retailers where tainted
meat went for sale except in cases of serious health risk, The Associated
Press has learned.

Had that been the rule in place last month, consumers would not have been
told if their supermarkets sold meat from a Southern California
slaughterhouse that triggered the biggest beef recall in U.S. history.

The plan is being considered as the USDA puts the final touches on a
proposed disclosure rule. It had lingered in draft form for two years until
getting pushed to the forefront in February, when 143 million pounds of beef
were recalled by Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif., after
undercover video by an animal-rights activist showed workers abusing
crippled cows.

Agriculture Department spokesman Chris Connelly confirmed Wednesday that the
agency is weighing whether to make naming the stores mandatory only for
so-called "Class I" recalls, which pose the greatest health hazard. The
Chino recall was categorized as "Class II" because authorities determined
there was minimal risk to human health.

Currently, the government discloses only a recall itself. It does not list
which retailers might have received recalled meat. The same holds true for
recalled vegetables.

Consumer groups and Democratic lawmakers contend that the public should have
access to the names of retailers in all meat recalls. As originally written,
the rule would have applied to all meat recalls.

"It's unacceptable to us because of the way the rule was originally
fashioned, and we have an immediate example of the Hallmark case being
exempted," said Tony Corbo of Food & Water Watch, a Washington, D.C.,
advocacy group.

At an appearance in Sacramento, Calif., earlier this week, Agriculture
Secretary Edward Schafer said there are "differences with the different
classes of recalls."

"But, you know, a Class I recall, to have a retailer notification, I think,
is important," Schafer said.

Partly for competitive reasons, industry groups support the way recalls are
currently done, where a description of the recalled product is released by
the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service along with
some other information including where it was produced.

Retailers must remove recalled meat from their shelves but there's no
requirement that they notify their customers about meat already sold, though
some take voluntary steps to do so.

Consumers may be able to identify prepackaged foods like hot dogs that the
Agriculture Department mentions by brand name, but with ground beef or other
items that are repackaged at grocery stores, there's usually no identifying
information on the package to tell consumers it's a recalled item.

Kristi Thacker, a registered nurse in the small town of Eldon in central
Missouri, said she had no idea the frozen ground beef in her freezer,
purchased at her local grocery store, was tainted until her 5-year-old
daughter became sick from E. coli. This was during a recall in 2002 and her
daughter, Savana, has now recovered.

"My child would not have gotten sick if they would have told me that I had
bad hamburger. I would have thrown it away," Thacker said in an interview
Wednesday. "Instead, a month later, with bad hamburger sitting in my freezer
the whole time, she became deathly ill."

Stories like Thacker's have led consumer groups to argue that customers need
more information, a position shared by Dr. Richard Raymond, who made
publishing the retailer rule a top priority when he took over as the
Agriculture Department's undersecretary for food safety in 2005.

In an interview this week Raymond said that it was "common sense to assume"
that some consumers may have fallen ill because they didn't have access to
names of retailers selling tainted meat. But he disputed the suggestion that
industry opposition — expressed in written and public comments, meetings
with the White House Office of Management and Budget, and other venues — has
stalled the rule.

"It's going through the normal process," Raymond said. "It does
unfortunately take a long time to go through the normal process."

Industry groups argue that even if just Class I recalls are covered, the
rule could create confusion for consumers since retailer lists could be
incomplete or take days or weeks to compile. Customers could have a false
sense of security if their grocery store doesn't immediately show up on the
list, the groups contend.

Some cite the example of California, which is unique among states in having
a law requiring disclosure of retailers' names in recalls. California's list
of retailers from the Westland/Hallmark recall is 147 pages long and has
been continuously updated.

"We've met with USDA numerous times to be sure that they understand our
goal, which is to be sure that if a consumer has bought a product that has
been recalled we do not want them to eat that food," said Jill Hollingsworth
of the Food Marketing Institute in Arlington, Va.

But some industry officials also acknowledge competitive concerns, because
if lists of retailers selling recalled meat become public, competitors would
know who to approach to offer the product at a lower price. "That does cause
some issues in the marketplace," said Jeremy Russell, spokesman for the
National Meat Association.


Associated Press writer Steve Lawrence in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to
this report.


http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ib5V7z9A-ocCTOvoaRCq9Ohbl9SAD8VLCT6O2


Recalled beef from Chino slaughterhouse was used in 466 food products

http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2008/03/recalled-beef-from-chino-slaughterhouse.html


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS HALLMARK/WESTLAND MEAT PACKING CO.

March 6, 2008

Consumer Concerns

Q. My child/school recently consumed Hallmark/Westland products. What is the
risk to children's health?


snip...


Audit Report

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Surveillance Program - Phase II

and

Food Safety and Inspection Service

Controls Over BSE Sampling, Specified Risk Materials, and Advanced Meat
Recovery Products - Phase III

Report No. 50601-10-KC January 2006

Finding 2 Inherent Challenges in Identifying and Testing High-Risk Cattle
Still Remain

Our prior report identified a number of inherent problems in identifying and
testing high-risk cattle. We reported that the challenges in identifying the
universe of high-risk cattle, as well as the need to design procedures to
obtain an appropriate representation of samples, was critical to the success
of the BSE surveillance program. The surveillance program was designed to
target nonambulatory cattle, cattle showing signs of CNS disease (including
cattle testing negative for rabies), cattle showing signs not inconsistent
with BSE, and dead cattle. Although APHIS designed procedures to ensure FSIS
condemned cattle were sampled and made a concerted effort for outreach to
obtain targeted samples, industry practices not considered in the design of
the surveillance program reduced assurance that targeted animals were tested
for BSE.


snip...


Inherent Limitations in Identifying and Testing High-Risk Cattle APHIS
obtained significantly more samples for testing than they originally
anticipated would be needed to achieve its stated level of confidence in
estimating the prevalence of BSE in the U.S. herd. Because of the voluntary
nature of its program, however, we could not determine how successful APHIS
was in obtaining a representative proportion of high-risk cattle for
testing. Our prior report recognized the significant challenges for APHIS to
obtain samples from the high-risk population because of the inherent
problems with obtaining voluntary compliance and transporting carcasses for
testing. APHIS took steps to obtain facilitated pathways, by entering into
over 100 agreements, to collect and test brain samples for BSE. However,
using USDA published data that estimates the distribution of the cattle
population, as well as those that died or became nonambulatory, we could not
determine whether APHIS achieved either geographical representation or
representation of the desired surveillance stream (clinical suspects, fallen
stock, casualty slaughter fallen stock, and routine slaughter). Findings 1
and 2 present the conditions noted that impact this evaluation. USDA Testing
Protocols and Quality Assurance Procedures In November 2004, USDA announced
that its rapid screening test produced an inconclusive BSE test result. A
contract laboratory ran its rapid screening test on a brain sample collected
for testing and produced three high positive reactive results. As required,
the contract laboratory forwarded the inconclusive sample to APHIS’ National
Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for confirmation. NVSL repeated the
rapid screening test, which again produced three high positive reactive
results. Following established protocol, NVSL ran its confirmatory test, an
immunohistochemistry (IHC) test, which was interpreted as negative for BSE.
Faced with conflicting results between the rapid screening and IHC tests,
NVSL scientists recommended additional testing to resolve the discrepancy
but APHIS headquarters officials concluded that no further testing was
necessary since testing protocols were followed and the confirmatory test
was negative. In our discussions with APHIS officials, they justified their
decision to not do additional testing because the IHC test is
internationally recognized as the “gold standard” of testing. Also, they
believed that

conducting additional tests would undermine confidence in USDA’s testing
protocols. OIG obtained evidence that indicated additional testing was
prudent. We came to this conclusion because the rapid screening tests
produced six high positive reactive results, the IHC tests conflicted, and
various standard operating procedures were not followed. Also, our review of
the relevant scientific literature, other countries’ protocols, and
discussions with experts led us to conclude that additional confirmatory
testing should be considered in the event of conflicting test results. To
maintain objectivity and independence, we requested that USDA’s Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) perform the Office International des Epizooties (OIE)
Scrapie-Associated Fibrils (SAF) immunoblot test. The additional testing
produced positive results. To confirm, the Secretary of Agriculture
requested that an internationally recognized BSE laboratory in Weybridge,
England (Weybridge) perform additional testing. Weybridge conducted various
tests, including their own IHC tests and three Western blot tests. The tests
confirmed that the cow was infected with BSE. The Secretary immediately
directed USDA scientists to work with international experts to develop new
protocols that include performing dual confirmatory tests in the event of an
inconclusive BSE screening test. We attribute the failure to identify the
BSE positive sample to rigid protocols, as well as the lack of adequate
quality assurance controls over its testing program. Details of our concerns
are discussed in Findings 3 and 4.

snip...

Controls (Firewalls) to Prevent BSE in the Food Supply USDA instituted
proactive procedures to prevent tissues and products that could possibly
contain the infective agent for BSE from entering the food supply. FSIS
performs inspections on cattle before slaughter (ante mortem) to observe
clinical signs that may indicate a central nervous system disorder or other
signs that may be associated with BSE. Such animals are condemned and
prohibited from slaughter for human consumption. FSIS also identified
high-risk beef tissue and products as SRMs, and banned them from the food
supply. FSIS inspects slaughter processes to verify that slaughterhouses
have incorporated controls for handling SRMs into their operational plans;
adequate procedures must be in place for removing, segregating, and
disposing of SRMs. OIG reviewed the SRM plans of several establishments,
observed FSIS inspection procedures, and evaluated the effectiveness of
controls during the slaughter process. We did not identify SRMs entering the
food supply. However, due to the lack of adequate records, we could not
determine whether SRM procedures were followed and/or were adequate in 9 of

12 establishments visited during the audit. There is no requirement in the
United States for the age of animals to be recorded, therefore, APHIS and
FSIS rely on meat establishments to determine the age of cattle slaughtered
using documentation or dentition. SRM restrictions apply predominantly to
cattle 30 months of age or older. FSIS periodically checks the accuracy of
age determinations through dentition; however, we could not determine how
often these checks are made. We found that improvements can be made in the
following areas. • FSIS approved an alternate ante mortem inspection
procedure that limited the number of cattle subject to inspection. FSIS
discontinued this procedure during the audit. • FSIS does not have an
information system capable of readily identifying the scope of, and trends
in, noncompliance violations relating to SRMs. • Most of the establishments
reviewed did not have adequate SRM plans, and FSIS did not always identify
these deficiencies. • Several of the establishments did not comply with
their SRM plans and/or maintain records to support that they follow their
plans. FSIS has addressed the specific cases of noncompliance identified
during the audit. Findings

snip...


Downers and Cattle that Died on the Farm

Our prior audit recognized the significant challenge for APHIS to obtain
samples from some high-risk populations because of the inherent problems
with obtaining voluntary compliance and transporting the carcasses for
testing. USDA issued rules to prohibit nonambulatory animals (downers) from
entering the food supply at inspected slaughterhouses. OIG recommended, and
the International Review Subcommittee33 emphasized, that USDA should take
additional steps to assure that facilitated pathways exist for dead and
nonambulatory cattle to allow for the collection of samples and proper
disposal of carcasses. Between June 1, 2004, and May 31, 2005, the APHIS
database documents 27,617 samples were collected showing a reason for
submission of nonambulatory and 325,225 samples were collected with reason
of submission showing “dead.”

snip...


We also disagree with APHIS/FSIS’ contention that because they have tested
over 375,000 of their 446,000 estimate of high risk cattle, few in the
high-risk population are being missed, including those that might be
pre-screened before entering a slaughter facility’s property. In our prior
audit, we reported that APHIS underestimated the high-risk population;


*** we found that this estimate should have been closer to 1 million animals
(see Finding 1).


snip...


The policy stated in the preamble to 9 CFR 309.2(b)104 states that FSIS has
excluded all nonambulatory disabled cattle from the human food supply,
regardless of the reason for their nonambulatory status or the time at which
they became nonambulatory (emphasis added). If an animal becomes
nonambulatory in route to the establishment due to an acute injury, it must
be humanely removed from the truck, humanely euthanized, and the carcass
properly disposed of. Likewise, cattle that become nonambulatory on the
establishment premises, such as an animal that breaks its leg as it is
unloaded from the truck, are also required to be humanely moved, humanely
euthanized, and the carcass disposed of properly. However, an FSIS notice105
states that if cattle are ambulatory at ante mortem inspection and become
nonambulatory disabled prior to slaughter, the VMO should verify that the
animal suffered an acute injury and allow the animal to proceed to slaughter
and post mortem inspection. FSIS would expect such situations to be
extremely rare because cattle, when handled and moved under proper humane
handling conditions, should not be injured while being moved in pens. For
cattle that become nonambulatory disabled after ante

mortem inspection, if the VMO cannot determine that a specific, acute injury
occurred that caused the animal to become nonambulatory disabled, the animal
is to be condemned and cannot enter the slaughter establishment. There
appears to be inconsistent USDA policies related to slaughtering
downers/nonambulatory cattle. Regarding animals for slaughter, it is clear
that downers will not be slaughtered. In fact, one report106 states: “The
U.S. Policy is to condemn all cattle that are nonambulatory or disabled when
presented for slaughter." The Department has widely publicized that one of
the firewalls put in place to prevent the spread of BSE is the prevention of
downers from entering the food supply. Our review at the 12 plants visited
showed the following variations in application of the policy for condemning
or passing nonambulatory cattle for slaughter.

This was the only documentation of the condition of the cattle available at
the plants. Plant inspection personnel believed that FSIS Notice 5-04
allowed the slaughter of nonambulatory cattle if the cattle had passed ante
mortem inspection and then went down as the result of an acute injury.
Therefore, they had allowed the plant to slaughter these cattle for human
consumption. We observed use of a forklift and a rail above the pens to
transport nonambulatory cattle to the slaughter area.

snip...see full text 130 pages ;

http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/50601-10-KC.pdf


snip...


Science 23 November 2001:
Vol. 294. no. 5547, pp. 1726 - 1728
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066838

Reports

Estimation of Epidemic Size and Incubation Time Based on Age Characteristics
of vCJD in the United Kingdom

Alain-Jacques Valleron,1 Pierre-Yves Boelle,1 Robert Will,2 Jean-Yves
Cesbron3


SNIP...


The distribution of the vCJD incubation period that best fits the data
within the framework of our model has a mean of 16.7 years, with a standard
deviation of 2.6 years. The 95% upper percentile of this distribution is
21.4 years. The 95% confidence interval (CI) of the estimates of the mean
and standard deviation is relatively narrow: The 95% CI for the estimate of
the mean incubation period is 12.4 to 23.2 years, and the 95% CI of the
standard deviation is 0.9 to 8 years (10). The decrease in susceptibility to
infection in exposed subjects older than 15 years, as estimated from the
parameter , was found to be very sharp: 16% per year of age (CI: 12 to 23%).
This means that, under the best fitting hypothesis, an individual aged 20
years in 1981 had 55% less risk of becoming infected than a child aged 15
years (99.9% for an individual aged 70).

http://www.sciencemag.org/

http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2008/03/usda-questions-and-answers.html

SPECIFIED RISK MATERIALS

http://madcowspontaneousnot.blogspot.com/2008/02/specified-risk-materials-srm.html

March 16, 2008


MAD COW DISEASE terminology UK c-BSE (typical), atypical BSE H or L, and or
Italian L-BASE

http://bse-atypical.blogspot.com/2008/03/mad-cow-disease-terminology-uk-c-bse.html


SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM FROM DOWNER CATTLE UPDATE

http://downercattle.blogspot.com/


DOWNER COW BLUES SENATORS WANT CRACKDOWN

http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2008/03/downer-cow-blues-senators-want.html


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Release No. 0046.08 Statement by Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer
Regarding Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company Two Year Product Recall

Release No. 0046.08

Contact:

USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623


http://cjdmadcowbaseoct2007.blogspot.com/2008/02/release-no-004608-statement-by.html

Thursday, February 21, 2008

TRANSCRIPT: Technical Briefing - Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company -
(02/21/08)

Release No. 0054.08


http://downercattle.blogspot.com/


http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2008/02/transcript-technical-briefing.html

PLEASE SEE LONG LIST OF RESTAURANTS AND EATERIES IN CALIFORNIA THAT WERE
FEEDING DOWNER CATTLE TO THE PUBLIC, WITH JACK-IN-THE-BOX BEING AT THE TOP
OF THE LIST. 120 PAGES OF THEM. seems they would have learned the first time
after all that potentially tainted beef from the mad cow cohorts from the
Washington mad cow. ...


Hallmark / Westland Meat Recall - Retail Distribution

http://dhs.ca.gov/fdb/local/PDF/WestlandRecallRetailDistributionConsolidatedForWeb2-29-08.PDF


Additional Products Containing Westland Recalled Beef

http://dhs.ca.gov/fdb/local/PDF/AdditionalProductsContainingWestlandRecalledBeef2-29-08.PDF


IF the USDA and the FDA et al were not in bed with the industry so much,
they would come clean with the rest of the states, and produce a list for
the public from each state as was done in California.

THAT'S just one state folks. nope, all the BSe about how No illnesses have
been linked to the Class II recall that USDA prompted from BSE and or h-BASE
or any other strain, is just that BS. the USDA knows PERFECTLY WELL that no
one would get sick right off the bat from mad cow disease. Every parent out
there should be demanding answers, not these same lies. THE USDA should
follow every single child that consumed any of these products for the rest
of there lives. there is no way out of it now. the product is gone,
consumed, and these kids, the elderly, and most everybody in between have
been exposed. non-ambulatory i.e. DOWNERS are the most likely to have a
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy. WE know it's here, we know why the
USDA et al shut down the testing, they did not want to document any more.
...TSS


Science 23 November 2001:
Vol. 294. no. 5547, pp. 1726 - 1728
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066838

Reports

Estimation of Epidemic Size and Incubation Time Based on Age Characteristics
of vCJD in the United Kingdom
Alain-Jacques Valleron,1 Pierre-Yves Boelle,1 Robert Will,2 Jean-Yves
Cesbron3


1 Epidemiology and Information Sciences, INSERM U444, CHU Saint-Antoine,
Université Pierre et Marie Curie et Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris,
27 rue Chaligny, 75012 Paris, France.
2 National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit, Western General
Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK.
3 Immunité Anti-Infectieuse JE 2236, UFR de Médecine de Grenoble, Université
Joseph Fourier, Domaine de la Merci, 38706 La Tronche, France.


SNIP...


The distribution of the vCJD incubation period that best fits the data
within the framework of our model has a mean of 16.7 years, with a standard
deviation of 2.6 years. The 95% upper percentile of this distribution is
21.4 years. The 95% confidence interval (CI) of the estimates of the mean
and standard deviation is relatively narrow: The 95% CI for the estimate of
the mean incubation period is 12.4 to 23.2 years, and the 95% CI of the
standard deviation is 0.9 to 8 years (10). The decrease in susceptibility to
infection in exposed subjects older than 15 years, as estimated from the
parameter , was found to be very sharp: 16% per year of age (CI: 12 to 23%).
This means that, under the best fitting hypothesis, an individual aged 20
years in 1981 had 55% less risk of becoming infected than a child aged 15
years (99.9% for an individual aged 70).

http://www.sciencemag.org/


[Docket No. 03-025IFA] FSIS Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk
Materials for Human Food and Requirement for the Disposition of
Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle

9/13/2005

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/Comments/03-025IFA/03-025IFA-2.pdf


3/6/2008

i call for an investigation of the investigators

>>>House committee subpoenas Hallmark/Westland CEO The subpoena orders him
to testify at a March 12 hearing titled "Regulatory Failure: Must America
Live With Unsafe Food?"<<<

what a hoot. the ones that should be subpoenad and held accountable are the
very ones on the committee. they have failed the public for years about BSE
risk and regulations. the very people that are going to investigate this
thing are the very folks responsible for all the children and elderly that
were exposed to the potential of mad cow via non-ambulatory i.e. DOWNERS,
the most likely to have a TSE. waxman et al have been claiming to be
concerned about BSE aka mad cow disease's and one issue was the
non-ambulatory 'downer' cattle, and i quote waxman;

Failure To Test Staggering Cow May Reflect Wider Problems Rep. Waxman raises
concerns that the recent failure of USDA to test an impaired cow for BSE may
not be an isolated incident, citing the failure of USDA to monitor whether
cows condemned for central nervous system symptoms are actually tested for
mad cow disease.


http://reform.democrats.house.gov/documents/20040607142914-86912.pdf

http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20040607142914-86912.pdf


folks, that was in 2004. why, in 2008, why are we still discussing the same
failures$$$

THE PEOPLE BELOW SHOULD ALL BE SUBPOENAED AS WELL FOR THEIR CONTINUED
FAILURES TO PROTECT THE CONSUMER FROM MAD COW DISEASE. and i call for an
investigation of the investigators below. why in 2008 are we still
floundering$$$


http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2008/03/house-committee-subpoenas.html


Thursday, March 27, 2008

USDA STILL PANDERING TO INDUSTRY still wants 'don't ask, don't tell' mad cow
recall policy

http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2008/03/usda-still-pandering-to-industry-still.html


Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
P.O. Box 42
Bacliff, Texas USA 77518




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