Document Directory

14 Jan 01 - CJD - 'First Mad Cow case' from Austria
14 Jan 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cows' may have reached Midwest
14 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow blood donor ban 'will kill patients'
14 Jan 01 - CJD - Austria discovers first suspected BSE case
14 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany to step up BSE research
14 Jan 01 - CJD - Scientists test for BSE in milk
14 Jan 01 - CJD - New BSE inquiry raises fears over milk safety
13 Jan 01 - CJD - First suspected BSE case in Italian cow found
13 Jan 01 - CJD - Comets spread virus; man does rest, scientists say
13 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow collagen concerns
13 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy fears first BSE case
13 Jan 01 - CJD - Third Danish cow confirmed with BSE
13 Jan 01 - CJD - FDA says safety lapses won't spread Mad Cow
13 Jan 01 - CJD - Anger over 'green' agriculture order to combat BSE
12 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany 'to slaughter BSE cattle'
12 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. feed producers break Mad Cow rules
12 Jan 01 - CJD - FDA Warns on Mad Cow, But Says Food Supply Safe
12 Jan 01 - CJD - France struggles with Mad Cow crisis
12 Jan 01 - CJD - Matadors state their claim to BSE cash
11 Jan 01 - CJD - Scientist Says Mad Cow Tests Not Infallible
11 Jan 01 - CJD - Schroder embraces green farming amid BSE crisis
11 Jan 01 - CJD - FDA Warns Livestock Feed Makers
11 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany's Greens win agriculture portfolio
11 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE-free Austria hopes its organic legacy will prevail
11 Jan 01 - CJD - Malaysia bans European beef



14 Jan 01 - CJD - 'First Mad Cow case' from Austria

Staff Reporter

BBC- Sunday 14 January 2001


The first suspected case of BSE - or Mad Cow disease - in Austrian cattle is reported to have been found.

A seven-year-old animal, which had been raised in the Austrian Tyrol region but sold to Germany, has initially tested positive, the Austrian news agency, APA, said.

Germany recently introduced the compulsory slaughter of cattle in response to a BSE scare.

Austria, which has banned all imports of German cattle, is one of the few European countries which, until now, has no reported cases of BSE.

The news agency said the cow, which had been tested in the German state of Baden Wuerttemberg, would be subjected to further analysis.

consumer confidence

No cases of the human equivalent of BSE, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD), have yet been confirmed in Germany, but two people are suspected to be suffering from it .

The crisis has hit consumer confidence hard. Last week Health Minister Andrea Fischer and Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke both resigned over their handling of the affair.

The Austrian BSE fear came a day after the Italian Health Ministry said it had detected the country's first suspected case of Mad Cow disease in Italian cattle.

The Italian Government ordered compulsory testing for BSE in cows over the age of 30 months last November in line with tough new European Union regulations.


14 Jan 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cows' may have reached Midwest

By David Usborne

Independent- Sunday 14 January 2001


Alarm is growing in the United States that the efforts of the past decade to guard against the import of Mad Cow disease may not have been successful.

The deaths of scores of captive mink at 11 farms in the Midwest have added to the concern. The animals died from a form of Mad Cow disease after being fed meat from so-called "downer cows", which died from unknown causes. The fear is the cows could have been cases of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).

No clear cases of BSE have been recorded in America. Nor has the new form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the illness it causes in humans, been detected. Since 1991, the US has taken measures to protect itself from the problem, including banning imports of British beef and animal feeds.

However, various bovine bi-products, used to make vaccines and other medicines, are still legal . The Federal Drug Administration has warned that many animal feed manufacturers are not complying with import restrictions.

* The Italian Farm Minister, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, said yesterday that more cases of Mad Cow disease could be uncovered, after Italy detected its first suspected case since 1994. He said: "We are a country that imports many animals, so we cannot exclude finding cases of BSE."


14 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow blood donor ban 'will kill patients'

By Jerome Reilly

Sunday Independent - Sunday 14 January 2001


A Plan to ban a large section of the Irish population from giving blood in an effort to end the threat of the human form of Mad Cow disease will lead to fatalities, unless radical new measures are taken to immediately boost blood supplies .

Those who will be banned include anyone who ever received a blood transfusion in the past and anyone who lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 some 13 per cent of the population.

A memorandum from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), which has been seen by the Sunday Independent, reveals that people will almost certainly die from a shortage of blood if the new controls to stop the spread of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) are introduced without counter-measures being introduced to ensure supplies.

"There is no evidence that vCJD has been transmitted by blood but if we wait for evidence thousands of people could be infected ," warns the memorandum, prepared by IBTS chief executive Martin Hynes. It advises that the risk of contracting the human form of Mad Cow disease from blood though theoretical cannot be ignored.

The memorandum also states that a decision on whether to ban donations from any person who has had a blood transfusion in the past must also be taken sooner, rather than later.

However, an outright ban on anyone who spent time in the UK over the crucial 16-year period when vCJD infectivity was at its peak, combined with other measures to ensure the safety of blood supplies, would immediately eliminate 13 per cent of the population from giving blood.

"If bans were introduced here without adequate planning or alternative supplies being put in place, the consequences would be such an immediate and severe shortage of blood that some patients would almost certainly die," the memorandum warns.

It would also lead to the cancellation of elective surgery (such as hip operations and other non-fatal conditions) and the postponement of surgery in non-trauma cases.

The memorandum advises that a number of strategies need to be put in place to minimise the risk which would arise from a sudden and severe shortage of blood. That would mean a nationwide recruitment campaign to entice new and lapsed donors, and forcing doctors and hospitals to introduce an aggressive policy of only giving blood transfusions when absolutely necessary.

The latter would mean an end to "feelgood" transfusions such as those given to women who are mildly anaemic following labour or Caesarean section.

Other strategies include the sourcing of a small but critical amount of blood products from countries which are currently BSE-free, seeking alternatives to blood transfusion as they become available, and ensuring greater efficiencies at all stages of the transfusion chain.

Health Minister Mícheál Martin is being kept informed of any new developments and has promised full State funding to ensure any crisis is dealt with as soon as possible.

A panel of world experts on BSE, vCJD and blood are due to meet in Dublin on February 15 to discuss strategies. Yet it is clear from the internal memorandum that a blanket ban on donations from those who spent time in the UK and on those who have had transfusions in the past is almost inevitable.

The memorandum adds that while steps are being taken to minimise the risk of infection through the food chain, persons infected now and in the future by blood transfusion may, in years to come, represent the main continued risk for transmitting infection.

From tomorrow, everyone donating blood will be asked whether they spent time in the UK during the Eighties and Nineties. This will be followed by a nationwide survey to discover the extent of any potential loss of donors in the wake of an outright ban.


14 Jan 01 - CJD - Austria discovers first suspected BSE case

Ananova

Press Association - Sunday 14 January 2001


Austrian newspaper reports say the country's first probable case of mad-cow infected cattle has been discovered.

Governor Wendelin Weingartner of Tyrol said the cow was born in the province and slaughtered in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Tests after slaughter for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE, came up positive, Mr Weingartner said.

New testing has been ordered to confirm the initial results. If the infection is confirmed, the whole herd from where the animal originated from will be slaughtered.

Mad Cow disease, which erupted in Britain in the 1980s, is believed linked to the fatal human variant,Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which has killed at least 80 people in Britain and two in France.

Austria has prohibited the feeding of cattle with meat and bone meal since 1990. BSE, which leaves holes in the brains of infected animals, is believed to be transmitted when cattle eat fodder with ground parts of infected animals.


14 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany to step up BSE research

Ananova

Press Association - Sunday 14 January 2001


Germany is to step up research into Mad Cow disease to help fight public fears about infected beef.

The country's army is also destroying stocks of troop rations containing meat and sausage that were produced before October 1.

Renate Kuenast, the new minister for agriculture and consumer protection said the measures were aimed at regaining public trust in beef farming.

She said: "We currently have far too little knowledge about the infection's transmission. In addition, reliable tests are a long way off."

The European Union's top health official, David Byrne, has expressed alarm about a Mad Cow case discovered in a German animal younger than 30 months .

In a letter received by German officials, he said cases in such young cows so far have been discovered only in Britain, where the disease reached "epidemic proportions," German newspaper reports said.

EU countries this month began requiring all cattle older than 30 months to be proven free from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) before the beef can be sold.

EU spokesman Gilles Gantelet said yesterday that Byrne had written to all 15 EU governments asking for a status report, two weeks after they stepped up testing of slaughtered cattle for signs of BSE.

Germany has recorded 13 BSE cases since first confirming the disease in November.

Mad Cow disease, which erupted in Britain in the 1980s, is believed to be linked to the human disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.


14 Jan 01 - CJD - Scientists test for BSE in milk

Ananova

Press Association - Sunday 14 January 2001


Scientists are carrying out new tests to see if cattle infected with BSE can pass on the disease in their milk.

The study, commissioned by the Food Standards Agency, is due to start in the next few weeks and will take milk samples from cows suffering different degrees of BSE.

Experts in the Central Veterinary Laboratories who are researching for the FSA will look for evidence of the prion protein - the organism related to BSE.

A FSA spokeswoman said: "There is no current evidence to suggest BSE is found in milk but we said we would have review and this is a continuation of that.

"The study is going to have a look at different volumes of milk from different cows to see if it has been infected."


14 Jan 01 - CJD - New BSE inquiry raises fears over milk safety

Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

Sunday Times- Sunday 14 January 2001


A nationwide investigation into the risk that milk could transmit BSE between cows and humans is being launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The move follows private warnings from scientists that the original experiment used to declare milk safe was flawed .

This weekend Professor Malcolm Ferguson-Smith, the Cambridge University geneticist who sat on the two-year BSE inquiry, criticised the agriculture ministry for not doing the necessary work. "It is astonishing that this research has not been done," he said.

The new investigation coincides with fresh figures on the spread of variant CJD (vCJD), the human equivalent of BSE, showing that the number dead or dying from the disease has risen to 90 . It has also emerged that the number of people aged over 50 dying from the disease has risen to six . It had been thought that it was mainly a disease of the young.

The main research used to declare milk safe was published in 1995. It was based on giving milk from cows with BSE to mice, orally and by direct injection into the brain. None of the 275 mice in the research developed any sign of the disease.

Although scientists say there is no evidence at present to suggest that milk is unsafe, Ferguson-Smith believes the experiment was flawed because of the species barrier that prevents BSE passing from cows to mice. This, he said, made it highly unlikely that any of the mice would have fallen ill.

He said the work should also have been done in calves, adding: "This would have been a thousand times more sensitive."

He warned that milk should be assumed to have the potential to carry infection. Pointing out that BSE spreads via the lymphoreticular system, a loose network of organs involved in the immune system, he said: "Milk contains mammary cells, cell organelles and cells from the lymphoreticular system. It therefore has the potential to transmit prion diseases."

Britain consumes about 14 billion litres of milk a year, of which half is as milk or cream and the rest cheese, yoghurt and other dairy products. Tests suggest none of the processing methods could kill prions, the deformed proteins thought to cause BSE and CJD. The majority of the 1m or so animals thought to have entered the human food chain while infected with BSE were dairy cows, whose milk would have been consumed for years before they died.

Most of the scientists and politicians involved in the BSE crisis have taken comfort from the fact that there is little positive evidence that prion diseases can be transmitted by mothers' milk.

In Papua New Guinea, where the Fore tribe was almost wiped out by kuru, a prion disease spread by cannibalism, studies have shown that suckling children did not get the disease from their mothers. Only consumption of flesh, especially brains and other nervous tissue, seemed to pass it on.

There is, however, some evidence that other prion diseases can spread through mothers' milk . In Japan, researchers tested tissues taken from a pregnant woman who died of sporadic CJD, a rare form that killed 38 people in Britain last year. They found that her colostrum - secreted in the first few days after a child is born - could pass the disease to mice.

There is also a mystery over the mechanism by which calves seem to get BSE from their mothers. Some evidence suggests that they are infected in the womb and other work suggests that milk could be a cause .

An FSA spokesman said the Central Veterinary Laboratories, a government agency, had been commissioned to start the research in the next few weeks. It would involve trying to infect calves known to be free of BSE with milk from diseased animals. The research will take at least three years - the time it takes cattle to incubate BSE.

The spokesman said there was no evidence yet regarding milk, but added: "We have identified this project as a priority. "


13 Jan 01 - CJD - First suspected BSE case in Italian cow found

Ananova

PA News- Saturday 13 January 2001


The Italian health ministry has reported the country's first suspected case of Mad Cow disease in a native cow.

The milk cow was found on a breeding farm near Brescia , in the northern region of Lombardy and has now been destroyed.

A few years ago in Sicily, two cows imported from Britain were found to have the brain-wasting disease but no case in a native Italian cow had been reported before the announcement.

The health ministry said two tests indicated the cow could have the disease. The results of a third test, which should give the definitive word, are expected for late on Tuesday.

Late last year, farmers mobilised on the border with France to make sure no beef from that country made it into Italy to try to keep the disease from reaching this country.

Italy imported 40 per cent of its beef from France until November, when Rome banned most beef imports following an increase in detection of the Mad Cow disease in France.

On Friday, Italy lifted the ban on cattle imports, except for T-bone steak, from France. Rome said it deemed its own tests sufficient to protect consumers.


13 Jan 01 - CJD - Comets spread virus; man does rest, scientists say

DPA

Otago Daily Times- Saturday 13 January 2001


London: Comets bombarding the earth with extraterrestrial bacteria could have caused Britain's disastrous Mad Cow disease or BSE crisis, two top academics in Britain have claimed.

Cattle left to winter outside in England and Wales - a practice not found in Scotland or on the Continent - could have developed BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) after eating grass laced with a sprinkling of interstellar dust.

According to Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, of the University of Wales, Cardiff, there is growing evidence to suggest all life on earth came from the stars.

The professor of applied mathematics and astronomy at Cardiff's University of Wales has put forward the radical theory in conjunction with Cambridge University counterpart, Professor Sir Fred Hoyle.

Both believe particles from passing comets can enter the earth's atmosphere, bringing with them microbacteria. It is these which explain sudden outbreaks of disease in past centuries, the astronomers claim.

Prof Wickramasinghe said bacteria recently discovered in South America had been dormant for a quarter of a billion years. That made it uniquely well qualified to be a space traveller and underpinned their theory about BSE.

The professor said small particles of bacterial and viral sizes "descend through the stratosphere in the winter months when cattle in this country are outside".

"The particles would obviously rain down on the grass, and you cannot think of a better way to mop it up than to have cattle roaming from field to field."

Once a genetic fragment or piece of infected protein got into a few cattle, "man took a hand, by grinding up infected animals and including them in feed", he said. - DPA


13 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow collagen concerns



Sunday Telegraph (Aus) - Saturday 13 January 2001


A leading manufacturer of collagen used in cosmetic surgery has written to plastic surgeons addressing concerns about Mad Cow disease.

US based company Collagen Aesthetics wrote to its clients on January 8 outlining its safety features to assure against infection.

The letter notes that Mad Cow disease - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - has not been detected in US cattle to date.

Cosmetics will form part of the inquiry by the Federal Government's advisory committee on BSE, due to meet for the first time at the end of the month.

Collagen is derived from the skin of cows.

Collagen Aesthetics says its animals' lineage is documented back to 1980 and its cows live in a "closed herd" that has no contact with outside cows.

The cattle are fed grain grown on the same station as the herd, and are not fed anything derived from other animals.

It is believed that BSE spread to cows by feeding them ground-up remains of sheep that carried a similar disease, scrapie.

Collagen Aesthetics estimates 1.5 million people have been treated with its collagen products and there have been no reports of the variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans linked to Mad Cow disease.


13 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy fears first BSE case

Staff Reporter

BBC- Saturday 13 January 2001


The Italian Health Ministry said it had detected the country's first suspected case of BSE, or Mad Cow disease, in Italian cattle on Saturday.

The suspect cow, from a farm near Brescia in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, had shown no symptoms of the disease before being slaughtered two days ago.

Samples of brain tissue have been sent to another laboratory in Turin for further analysis. Final confirmation of whether Italy has joined the EU countries afflicted by BSE is expected on Tuesday.

The Italian Government ordered compulsory testing for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cows over the age of 30 months last November in line with tough new European Union regulations.

'No threat'

Italian Health Minister Umberto Veronesi reassured consumers there was no threat to public health.

He told a news conference: "We are not 100% sure, and even if it was the case, it would be the first time an Italian-born cow had contracted the disease."

Italy discovered two cases of BSE in cattle imported from Britain in 1994.

Until now, Italy had been one of the few countries in Europe not to have reported any home grown cases.

Two government laboratories in the north of Italy, where most of the country's dairy farms are located, have carried out about 600 random tests so far, all of which were negative

Growing concern

The disclosure comes amid growing public anger and concern across Europe over BSE, which has been linked to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal brain-wasting disease in humans.

Scientists believe the disease is spread through animal feed contaminated with infected meat or bone meal.

Last week Malaysia followed Australia and New Zealand's example and imposed a blanket ban on European beef due to concerns over the spread of the disease.

In December last year, Japan also decided to ban imports of EU beef, processed beef foodstuffs and cow sperm. China has also banned EU meat-based animal feeds.

The crisis has also badly hit Germany, where last week Health Minister Andrea Fischer and Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke both resigned over their handling of the affair.


13 Jan 01 - CJD - Third Danish cow confirmed with BSE

Ananova

PA News- Saturday 13 January 2001


British scientists have confirmed that a third Danish cow has been found with Mad Cow disease.

The milk cow, which was born and bred in Denmark, died in December. It was not slaughtered.

The rest of the 110-head herd in Fjerritslev, which had been under observation since early December, would be destroyed, said Knud-Boerge Petersen of the Danish Veterinary Laboratory, which performed the original test.

The other cows also would be tested for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, the scientific name of the disease, as a protective measure.

A second animal from the same herd was slaughtered on December 7 because it suffered from spasms, which can be symptoms of BSE but Danish and British tests were negative.


13 Jan 01 - CJD - FDA says safety lapses won't spread Mad Cow

By Lisa Richwine, Reuters

Boston Globe - Saturday 13 January 2001


ASHINGTON - Many companies that produce animal feed have failed to fully comply with regulations aimed at keeping Mad Cow disease from spreading to humans if it enters the United States, regulators said yesterday.

Despite the lapses, the Food and Drug Administration expressed confidence that the US food supply is safe from the deadly disease, which has caused a health crisis in Europe. US cattle are being monitored at slaughterhouses, and so far the disease has not been found in the United States.

''At this point we don't believe the disease is in the United States. Unless the disease were found in the United States, the food is safe,'' Dr. Stephen Sundlof, head of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in an interview.

Still, the FDA is taking steps to improve compliance, Sundlof said. The agency has the authority to recall or seize products or prosecute companies that do not follow the rules.

The feed industry, reacting to the FDA's findings, said it was encouraged that an ''extremely high'' number of firms were following record-keeping rules, which it called the most important sign that companies were trying to follow the FDA's orders.

The regulations were put in place in 1997 as a precaution in case Mad Cow disease, also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, appeared in US animals. The rules aim to prevent animals that eventually become human food from eating feed made from infected animals.


13 Jan 01 - CJD - Anger over 'green' agriculture order to combat BSE

By Toby Helm in Berlin

Telegraph- Saturday 13 January 2001


Germany experienced the first rumblings of a rural rebellion yesterday as thousands of farmers reacted against the government's conversion to "green" agriculture after the national outbreak of BSE.

Protests broke out across much of the country over plans to end "industrial" farming methods and Berlin's insistence that any beef herd in which a BSE case is found must be slaughtered. The German Farmers' Association said that ts members were so angry that it feared the protests would become disruptive over the next few days.

A senior official said: "If nothing happens [to reassure us] then we can expect cows, calves and bulls to be running over the streets and motorways." Near Memmingen, in south-western Germany, a large group of protesters gathered as 140 cows were sent for slaughter after the discovery of one case of BSE.

An array of banners accused the Social Democrat/Green coalition government of destroying farmers' livelihoods by ordering the slaughter of healthy animals to no purpose. Yesterday, Germany's tally of confirmed BSE cases rose from 10 to 12 and more suspect cases were reported. With some experts predicting that the total could rise into the hundreds, the centre-Right regional government of Bavaria, one of the nation's farming heartlands, sought to protect farmers from the loss of all their cattle by holding out against Berlin.

It said that it would resist advice from the federal government to kill entire herds until it was forced to implement the policy by changes in federal laws. Until late last year Germany had had no recorded cases of BSE. But panic spread after the first were discovered on November 24. The national enthusiasm for beef and sausages waned dramatically. Some butchers reporting an 80 per cent fall in the sale of beef.

Farmers' worries turned to despair on Wednesday when Chancellor Gerhard Schroder appointed a Green politician, Renate Kunast, 45, as Agriculture Minister. At the same time, he insisted that farming methods had to become cleaner and more environmentally friendly.

Miss Kunast's appointment came after the then agriculture and health ministers both resigned on Tuesday amid heavy criticism of their handling of the response to BSE's arrival in Germany. Miss Kunast's predecessor, Karl-Heinz Funke, had claimed until November that Germany was "BSE free", despite warnings seven months before from government scientists that cases would soon be found.


12 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany 'to slaughter BSE cattle'

Staff Reporter

BBC- Friday 12 January 2001


German officials say the government is about to introduce the compulsory slaughter of cattle to try to eradicate Mad Cow disease, or BSE.

It's not yet clear whether only herds already affected will be destroyed, or whether all cattle considered to be at risk will be slaughtered.

Officials say the new measures would replace the current system under which each German state decides its own policy on culling herds. The developments coincide with demonstrations by German farmers, who want government help with hundreds-of-thousands of unsold cattle.


12 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. feed producers break Mad Cow rules

Staff Reporter

Winnipeg Free Press - Friday 12 January 2001


WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of animal feed producers have violated regulations meant to keep Mad Cow disease out of the United States, says a new Food and Drug Administration report.

No cases of Mad Cow disease have been found in U.S. cattle despite intense monitoring, the FDA stressed in saying the violations don't mean the food supply has been tainted.

But armed with results from feed-mill inspections, the FDA is warning that companies could face seizures, shutdowns, even prosecution if they continue to violate rules meant to keep U.S. livestock from eating slaughtered-animal parts linked to the deadly brain-wasting disease.

Many companies in violation already have received warning letters, and some feed has been recalled.

"Today's food is safe," because slaughterhouse inspections have found no suspicion of Mad Cow disease, FDA veterinary chief Dr. Stephen Sundlof said Thursday.

But the rules are important in case the illness ever appears.

Europe's mad-cow crisis "is not a result of them not having adequate regulations in place," Sundlof said. "It was a problem of enforcement and we don't want to end up like that."

The report comes a week before the FDA, warily watching Europe's deepening Mad Cow crisis, also is scheduled to debate strengthening regulations on blood donation meant to keep a human version of the disease from ever striking in the United States.

Fear over Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, arose in the mid-1990s when Britain discovered a new variant of the human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease apparently had been caused by eating infected beef. About 80 people have died of the nvCJD disease in Britain since then, and now France, Germany and other European countries are grappling with infected livestock.

Animals get the disease by eating the tissue of other infected animals, and British cows are thought first to have been infected by eating feed made from sheep harbouring a similar illness.

The FDA formally banned any proteins from cows, sheep, goats, deer or elk -- animals that get similar brain-wasting diseases -- from feed for cows, sheep or goats in 1997.

Poultry or pigs can still eat those proteins, but feed must be labelled "do not feed to cows or other ruminants" and companies must have systems to prevent accidentally mixing up the feeds.

Yet FDA inspections found:

--Of 180 renderers -- companies that turn slaughtered animal parts into meat and bone meal -- that handle risky feed, 16 per cent lacked warning labels and, worse, 28 per cent had no system to prevent feed mixups.

--Of 347 FDA-licensed feed mills that handle risky feed, 20 per cent lacked warning labels and nine per cent lacked mixup-prevention systems.

--Of 1,593 unlicensed feed mills that handle risky feed, almost half lacked warning labels and 26 per cent lacked mixup-prevention systems. (FDA only licenses mills that add medications to feed; unlicensed mills are legal but unused to FDA rules.)

States are helping FDA inspect the companies, and hundreds are left to inspect.

But Sundlof pledged Thursday that every company will be inspected.


12 Jan 01 - CJD - FDA Warns on Mad Cow, But Says Food Supply Safe

The Associated Press

Newsday.com- Friday 12 January 2001


Washington-Hundreds of animal feed producers are violating rules intended to keep Mad Cow disease out of the United States, prompting the government to warn yesterday that companies must shape up or expect shutdowns, even prosecution.

The food supply remains safe despite the violations because no cases of Mad Cow disease have been found in U.S. cattle, the Food and Drug Administration said.

But the violations are serious because if the deadly brain disease does sneak into the country, companies that don't follow the FDA's rules could spread it through animal feed.

So the FDA warned that continued violations will prompt seizures of feed, company shutdowns, even prosecution. Many companies already have received warning letters, and some feed has been recalled.

"Today's food is safe," because slaughterhouse inspections have found no suspicion of Mad Cow disease, FDA veterinary chief Dr. Stephen Sundlof said yesterday.

But Europe's mad-cow crisis "is not a result of them not having adequate regulations in place-it was a problem of enforcement. And we don't want to end up like that," Sundlof added, promising more intense inspections.

The report comes a week before the FDA, warily watching Europe's Mad Cow situation, is to debate strengthening blood-donation regulations meant to keep a human version of the disease from striking.

Fear over Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, arose in the mid-1990s when Britain discovered a new version of the human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease apparently was caused by eating infected beef. About 80 people have died of the new CJD disease in Britain since then, and now France, Germany and other European countries are grappling with infected livestock.

Animals get the disease by eating the tissue of other infected animals, and British cows are thought first to have been infected by eating feed made from sheep harboring a similar illness.

So the livestock industry in 1996 voluntarily banned sheep and certain other animal parts from U.S. feed. The next year, the FDA formally banned any proteins from cows, sheep, goats, deer or elk -animals that get similar brain-wasting diseases -from feed for cows, sheep or goats. Poultry or pigs can still eat those proteins, but feed must be labeled "do not feed to cows or other ruminants" and companies must have systems to prevent accidentally mixing up the feeds.

Yet FDA inspections found, among other infractions: Of 180 renderers-companies that turn slaughtered animals' parts into meat and bone meal-that handle risky feed, 16 percent lacked warning labels and, worse, 28 percent had no system to prevent feed mixups.

The American Feed Industry Association said it supported the FDA's enforcement of the rules, saying most companies inspected so far are complying.


12 Jan 01 - CJD - France struggles with Mad Cow crisis



CBC- Friday 12 January 2001


WebPosted Fri Jan 12 15:01:42 2001 PARIS - The beef industry in France is reeling from the impact of Mad Cow disease on the markets inside the country and elsewhere.

The French industry is huge, with millions of cattle being raised. But a relatively small number of sick animals - fewer than 200 - have caused enormous damage.

Demand for beef - both at French supermarkets and in other countries - has plummeted, and prices with it. Hundreds of workers have been laid off.

But nowhere is the impact as graphic as on the farms where cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) are found.

"We are going into mourning, for 25 years of work," said one farmer whose entire herd was about to be destroyed after one cow was found to have BSE.

A crisis that began in Britain - where for a time it seemed isolated - has now engulfed the continent. The French used to put a "Made in France" stamp on all their beef as a guarantee of quality and safety - but that no longer applies.

Prices at auction dropped 25 per cent

The crisis hit home with the French when infected beef was inadvertently sent to supermarkets for sale last fall.

Now, Spain, Portugal and Germany have all discovered the disease in their food chains, too.

The European Union has created new regulations for testing animals in an effort to keep the problem from spreading further.

Every animal older than 30 months must now be tested in France, a rule that will go into effect elsewhere in July.

Those regulations are costly and time-consuming, but are considered vital to the effort to rebuild the industry. To test a single sample of brain tissue costs $100.

And while consumer confidence is making a slow return, the farmers continue to suffer the results - low prices for their cattle at auction. Prices down at least 25 per cent.

Farmers say they are being penalized for feeding their animals what they thought was healthy and nutritious feed, only to learn years later how dangerous it could be.

Mad Cow disease is believed to have been introduced and spread to cattle through feed fortified with bonemeal and offal.


12 Jan 01 - CJD - Matadors state their claim to BSE cash

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid

Independent- Friday 12 January 2001


Europe's BSE crisis has struck the Spanish bullfighting industry, prompting unity among breeders, matadors and taurine vets who have demanded up to £10m compensation for revenue losses expected this season from halted sales of the vanquished beasts to butchers.

Bulls taken from the arena are traditionally sold to butchers. Delicacies such as bull's tale, testicles and ear stew are a part of Spain's national fiesta.

These dishes are likely to become folk memory because the industry has proposed not to sell any bull killed this season for butcher's meat and has agreed to destroy parts of the bull at risk of BSE infection.

In return, breeders and managers are seeking compensation of £240 per bull, a sum that could reach £10m. The prestige of bullfighting has already suffered after unprecedented number of bulls were sent from the ring unfit to fight last year because they kept falling over.

Government action has compounded Spanish alarm over BSE in recent days. beef producers sued the Health Minister, Celia Villalobos, for defamation on Tuesday after she warned against making stew with beef bones; and the Galician agriculture minister, Castor Gago, was sacked on Wednesday for dumping 300 dead cows in a disused mine .


11 Jan 01 - CJD - Scientist Says Mad Cow Tests Not Infallible

By David Brough

YAHOO- Thursday 11 January 2001


ROME (Reuters) - A leading Italian scientist has warned that tests of cattle for Mad Cow disease under new EU rules are not an infallible guarantee of the health of animals.

``Anything you test in terms of infectious disease has a window of false negatives,'' said Adriano Aguzzi, professor of pathology at the University of Zurich's Institute of Neuropathology.

``That applies to BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow disease),'' he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

``Even if many tests are negative, we cannot be sure that BSE has been defeated,'' said Aguzzi, widely considered one of the leading scientists in his field.

His remarks were supported by Professor Ralph Blanchfield, a food scientist at the London-based Institute for Food Science and Technology, who said, ``None of these (BSE) tests have been 100 percent validated.''

Under tough new EU rules to prevent the spread of Mad Cow disease, cattle aged over 30 months must be tested for BSE. Farmers in some countries have complained authorities have been slow to get testing started because of a lack of suitable equipment, creating beef supply bottlenecks.

The so-called prionics test used in Europe examines the brain of the dead animal for the presence of prions, the protein that causes the deadly brain-wasting disorder.

Many scientists believe the illness can be passed on to humans via infected beef.

More than 80 people have died of the human equivalent of Mad Cow disease, or new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), in Britain and two have died in France.

BSE Tests Negative

Italy's Health Ministry said this week that some 1,700 tests of cattle for Mad Cow disease had been carried out so far, and all were negative.

Two confirmed cases of BSE were detected in Italy in 1994, involving British cattle imported to Sicily. Both animals were destroyed.

Aguzzi said that the presence of the disease in cattle could only be detected late in the incubation period.

Researchers were now scrambling to improve the efficiency of tests.

Aguzzi said that the fallibility of BSE tests did not mean that beef was unsafe to eat.

``The best way to protect the consumer is to make sure that no brain or infectious tissues enter the food chain,'' he said.

Effective from October 1 last year, the European Commission adopted rules banning from the food chain cattle tissue at risk of carrying BSE.

The move outlaws the use of so-called specified risk materials (SRMs), such as cattle's eyes, spinal cords and brain tissue, in food and animal feed.

Aguzzi said that the number of people likely to die from vCJD was likely to rise.

``If you look at the numbers, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the number of vCJD cases is increasing exponentially,'' Aguzzi said. ``I am not optimistic.''


11 Jan 01 - CJD - Schroder embraces green farming amid BSE crisis

By Toby Helm in Berlin

Telegraph- Thursday 11 January 2001


Chancellor Gerhard Schröder moved to avert a collapse of confidence in his government yesterday by announcing a "green revolution" for German agriculture in response to a growing BSE crisis.

Gerhard Schröder: believes his interests are best served by pleasing consumers, rather than farmers

After two more holes had been blown in his cabinet by the resignations of the agriculture and health ministers on Tuesday, Mr Schröder demonstrated a sudden conversion to environmental farming as he appointed a Green, Renate Kunast, as his new Agriculture Minister.

Ms Kunast, a 45-year-old former social worker and trained lawyer, immediately promised to ensure a form of farming "closer to nature". She will take charge of a new "super ministry" that will also have responsibility for consumer affairs, particularly food safety.

It was the first time for 32 years that a German farmer had not been appointed to the post, one of the most important in the cabinet. The appointment also showed that Mr Schröder believes his interests are best served by pleasing consumers, rather than farmers who tend not to vote for his Social Democrats.

Ms Kunast, the co-leader of the Greens, succeeded Karl-Heinz Funke, a Social Democrat, who stepped down along with Andrea Fischer, the health minister, after intense criticism of their response to the arrival of BSE in Germany in November.

Announcing their replacements, the Chancellor said the age of "industrial" farming was over. "It's high time that we changed the course of agriculture... We want food safety through appropriate farming methods that are good for the environment."

He added: "The BSE crisis has made it compellingly clear that we have to make several organisational, and not just personnel, changes." While careful to stress that small-scale "eco-farming" was not the entire answer, he can expect the Greens to push hard for results.

Ms Kunast told a press conference she would work within government and the European Union to get the agricultural subsidy system tilted more towards green farming. She said: "This is an opportunity for consumers, an opportunity for farmers and an opportunity for the Greens."

Ulla Schmidt, a 51-year-old Social Democrat, was appointed Health Minister. As Mr Schröder patched up his government - he has now lost seven senior ministers since taking office in September 1998 - the opposition and German press said his recent comfortable run was at an end.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claimed that his administration was becoming "a turnstile for politicians in transit". Until last November, Germany had had no confirmed cases of BSE. Mr Funke confidently assured the public that they had nothing to worry about.

Since then, following a programme of testing, 10 cases have been confirmed, spreading near-panic in a nation of dedicated sausage and meat eaters. Amid the chaos that ensued, the two ministers were accused of ignoring warnings about BSE from scientists and of not knowing what advice to give the public about the safety of the national dish, the wurst (sausage).

Mr Schröder denied that their departure represented a crisis for his government, pointing out that all the ministers who had left went for different reasons, at least two in non-controversial circumstances. Nonetheless, Tuesday's resignations could herald trouble for Mr Schröder if other ministers now under pressure are also forced out.

Joschka Fischer, the Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor, has been forced to apologise for beating up a policeman in 1973 during his days as a street-fighting anarchist. His biggest test will come next week when he gives evidence in a case involving a former associate who became a terrorist. Hans Joachim Klein is accused of involvement in three murders during a 1975 attack on a meeting of Opec oil ministers in Vienna.


11 Jan 01 - CJD - FDA Warns Livestock Feed Makers

Associated Press

Las Vegas Sun- Thursday 11 January 2001


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hundreds of animal feed producers are violating rules intended to keep Mad Cow disease out of the United States , prompting the government to warn on Thursday that companies must shape up or expect shutdowns, even prosecution.

The food supply remains safe despite the violations because no cases of Mad Cow disease have been found in U.S. cattle, the Food and Drug Administration said.

But the violations are serious because if the deadly brain disease does sneak into the country, companies that don't follow the FDA's rules could spread it through animal feed.

So the FDA warned that continued violations will prompt seizures of feed, company shutdowns, even prosecution. Many companies already have received warning letters, and some feed has been recalled.

"Today's food is safe," because slaughterhouse inspections have found no suspicion of Mad Cow disease, FDA veterinary chief Dr. Stephen Sundlof said Thursday.

But Europe's mad-cow crisis "is not a result of them not having adequate regulations in place -- it was a problem of enforcement. And we don't want to end up like that," Sundlof added, promising more intense inspections.

The report comes a week before the FDA, warily watching Europe's Mad Cow situation, is scheduled to debate strengthening blood-donation regulations meant to keep a human version of the disease from ever striking here.

Fear over Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, arose in the mid-1990s when Britain discovered a new version of the human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease apparently was caused by eating infected beef. About 80 people have died of the new CJD disease in Britain since then, and now France, Germany and other European countries are grappling with infected livestock.

Animals get the disease by eating the tissue of other infected animals, and British cows are thought first to have been infected by eating feed made from sheep harboring a similar illness.

So the livestock industry in 1996 voluntarily banned sheep and certain other animal parts from U.S. feed. The next year, the FDA formally banned any proteins from cows, sheep, goats, deer or elk - animals that get similar brain-wasting diseases -- from feed for cows, sheep or goats. Poultry or pigs can still eat those proteins, but feed must be labeled "do not feed to cows or other ruminants" and companies must have systems to prevent accidentally mixing up the feeds.

Yet FDA inspections found:

-Of 180 renderers -- companies that turn slaughtered animals' parts into meat and bone meal -- that handle risky feed, 16 percent lacked warning labels and, worse, 28 percent had no system to prevent feed mixups.

-Of 347 FDA-licensed feed mills that handle risky feed, 20 percent lacked warning labels and 9 percent lacked mixup-prevention systems.

-Of 1,593 unlicensed feed mills that handle risky feed, almost half lacked warning labels and 26 percent lacked mixup-prevention systems. (FDA only licenses mills that add medications to feed.)

States are helping FDA inspect the companies, and hundreds are left to inspect. But Sundlof pledged Thursday that every company will be inspected.

The American Feed Industry Association said it supported the FDA's enforcement of the rules, saying most companies inspected so far are complying.


11 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany's Greens win agriculture portfolio

John Hooper in Berlin

Guardian- Thursday 11 January 2001


With his back to the wall over his ministers' handling of Germany's deepening BSE crisis, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder yesterday named a Green to steer the country's farmers towards a more organic future.

Renate Künast, the new food and agriculture minister, will also have responsibility for consumer affairs. She warned that there were no quick solutions to the Mad Cow crisis, but said that her aim would be to draw food production "close to nature".

The appointment of Ms Künast, the co-leader of the Greens, was a bitter blow to Germany's powerful farming lobby.

Her predecessor, the portly Karl-Heinz Funke, who resigned on Tuesday, was himself a farmer and an enthusiastic supporter of intensive agricultural methods.

Ms Künast is a lean-faced city-dweller with a punk-style haircut and a passion for rollerblading.

Explaining his decision to go, Mr Funke had told reporters that he wanted to "clear the way for a new beginning".

Whether Germany gets one, though, will depend on two factors: Ms Künast's readiness to take unpopular measures and the chancellor's readiness to stand by her if she does.

As the outgoing health minister, Andrea Fischer, herself a Green, observed at her farewell press conference, the German consumer is reluctant to pay the prices that organic farming needs to charge to be profitable.

Ms Künast was careful yesterday not to give any hostages to fortune.

"Over the next few months, we must identify all the things that have been done wrong in recent years, and systematically develop concepts for what should be done differently," she said.

In the meantime, Ms Künast will be under heavy pressure from farmers to alleviate their plight. beef sales have dropped by more than half since the discovery last November that BSE had entered German herds.

A lawyer by training, the 45-year-old Ms Künast has a reputation for humour, hard work and quotable repartee.

In a typical quip, she yesterday noted that by putting her in charge of consumer affairs, Mr Schröder had landed her with "everything from egg-boilers to e-commerce".

Like many of her generation, she entered Green politics as a protester against nuclear waste.

Though born near Wuppertal in then West Germany, she has lived in Berlin since the 1970s and in 1985 became a city councillor.

She is regarded within the Green movement as a moderate. Last June, she was elected, together with Fritz Kuhn, to be the party's overall leader.

One of the two ministerial portfolios up for grabs had been expected to go to North Rhine-Westphalia's environment minister, Bärbel Höhn. Ms Höhn is best known as a vociferous opponent of the decision last year to lift the EU ban on the export of British beef.

In the end, Mr Schröder decided that Ms Künast was the bigger hitter for what, from now on, will be a key post. The health ministry went to Ulla Schmidt, a deputy leader of the Social Democrat group in parliament.


11 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE-free Austria hopes its organic legacy will prevail

Kate Connolly in Berlin

Guardian- Thursday 11 January 2001


So far Austria has found no cases of BSE, giving it the unusual chance to act as a trendsetter for the rest of Europe. Some 20,000 Austrian farmers, or 10%, are organic - the highest proportion in Europe. Germany's boasts only 2.14%.

Organic farming was introduced to Austria in the late 1920s and has been sustained largely by consumer demand. The numbers soared in the early 90s when an environmentally aware government offered generous subsidies to lure farmers away from conventional methods. It banned the addition of bonemeal to animal feed at the same time. In 1991 there were 1,970 "bio farmers", a figure which had increased 10-fold by 1995.

But according to Sonja Anzberger of ARGE Biolandbau, the umbrella organisation for organic farmers in Austria, although farmers are confident they will stay in the clear, they are not resting on their laurels. "We're remaining very quiet, because although it's unlikely that our organic farmers will be affected by BSE it's too early to sit back and say 'we told you so'," she said.

Consumers are worried that the German state of Bavaria, which borders Austria, has been worst hit and although German imports are banned, there are fears that BSE might already be in the food chain.

The agriculture ministry has carried out 1,320 tests on cattle over 30 months old, all of which have proved negative. Consumer purchases of beef have decreased by 20% since thebeginning of the year.

Meanwhile Austria is turning its attention to its eastern neighbours, particularly Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic whose farmers use few or no chemicals.

Increasing numbers of eastern European farmers are resisting pressure by the EU to mimic western methods and are converting to organic forms. The work of the organic farmers' lobby was boosted last year when the Polish government increased subsidies to organic farmers and began working on an organic farming act which sets out strict operating guidelines.


11 Jan 01 - CJD - Malaysia bans European beef

Staff Reporter

BBC- Thursday 11 January 2001


Malaysia has become the latest country to ban the import of all beef and beef products from the European Union (EU) because of fears of "Mad Cow disease".

The move follows a similar ban last week by Australia and New Zealand on European beef products.

Health Minister Chua Jui Meng said on Thursday the ban would only be reviewed when the World Health Organisation and the EU were able to confirm the safety of such beef products.

Malaysia imported $2.9m worth of beef and beef products from EU countries during the first 10 months of last year, he said.

Most of its beef, however, comes from Australia, New Zealand and India.

Europe is facing a growing crisis of Mad Cow disease - or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - which has been linked to a fatal brain-wasting disease in humans.

Animal feed

Mr Chua said feed meal containing animal protein would also be banned.

"We do not want what happened in Europe to happen here, whereby the feeding of feed meal has spread the disease from animals to humans," the national news agency Bernama news quoted him as saying.

It is thought that BSE is spread through animal feed contaminated with infected meat or bone meal.

Australia and New Zealand said their ban on all European beef products was to ensure that they continued to have one of the safest food supplies in the world.

Last month, Japan also decided to ban imports of EU beef, processed beef foodstuffs and cow sperm. China has also banned EU meat-based animal feeds.

An epidemic of Mad Cow disease started in Britain during the 1980s.

In 1996, a link was made between BSE in cattle and a new, variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a brain-wasting condition in humans.

More than 80 British people have died from the condition, said to be caused by an infectious agent carried in blood and tissue called a prion.