Document Directory

27 Jan 01 - CJD - If New Blood Filtering Becomes Required, Hoxworth Ready
27 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease - The killer illness for a new world order
27 Jan 01 - CJD - Industry, government to discuss Mad Cow disease
26 Jan 01 - CJD - U.N. warns of Mad Cow spread
26 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany steps up testing for Mad Cow disease
26 Jan 01 - CJD - EU may broaden BSE tests
26 Jan 01 - CJD - UN: World at Risk from BSE
26 Jan 01 - CJD - Botswana Suffers Effects Of Mad Cow Disease
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Roche to take over distribution of Swiss co Prionics' BSE test 'Prionic-Check'
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Investigation launched after man dies of suspected CJD
25 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. FDA says Texan cattle protectively put in quarantine over BSE fears
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Germans slaughter first herd over BSE
25 Jan 01 - CJD - FAO sees Mad Cow Risks in M.East, E.Europe, India
25 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. Quarantines Texas Cattle Over Mad Cow Rules
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Gov't Urged To Act on Mad Cow crisis
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease Can Come To Russia
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Risks seen in other areas
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad media disease
25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow test a boon for firm
24 Jan 01 - CJD - McDonald's Profits Fall on Mad Cow Scare
24 Jan 01 - CJD - High hopes for new BSE test
24 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow crisis Has Asia Within Its Reach-Scientists
24 Jan 01 - CJD - Investigation Launched After Man Dies Of Suspected CJD
24 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow scare changes candy composition
24 Jan 01 - CJD - French find more efficient BSE test
24 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. Prepared for Mad Cow crisis As Europe Scrambles
24 Jan 01 - CJD - Emirates bans European beef imports
24 Jan 01 - CJD - Palestinians control imports over 'Mad Cow' fears



27 Jan 01 - CJD - If New Blood Filtering Becomes Required, Hoxworth Ready



Cincinatti Now- Saturday 27 January 2001


The government should require that white blood cells be filtered out of all donated blood, a federal advisory panel recommended Friday -- a change that could make transfusions less risky for some people but cost the nation half a billion dollars a year.

The Food and Drug Administration will have to decide whether to order the filtering and if so, how soon, but officials indicated they support the change.

If that change goes through, the Hoxworth Blood Center in Cincinnati says it will be ready to filter all of its donated blood after making some lab renovations. Hoxworth current filters about 12% of its blood donations.

At issue are white blood cells called leukocytes. Removing most of them from a unit of transfusable blood is called leukoreduction. Leukocytes are important infection fighters, but people who need transfusions need red cells or other blood components, not someone else's leukocytes. In fact, leukocytes are a main reason some people suffer post-transfusion fever and chills. And some patients -- premature infants, cancer or AIDS patients and those who need repeated transfusions -- today are given leukoreduced blood because they're at risk for a virus that can hide in white cells. They are also at risk for an anti-leukocyte reaction can also reduce the effectiveness of future transfusions.

Somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of the blood supply already is leukoreduced so those patients can get the specially filtered blood.

The question is whether every American needs filtered blood. It has sparked a furious controversy among transfusion expertsand blood banks, partly fueled by filter makers hoping to increase sales.

Some scientists call leukoreduced blood purer and thus better. Others say there's no evidence expensive filtered blood benefits the average transfusion recipient. They say the money, roughly an extra $40 per transfused blood unit, should be used to fight real blood risks.

Wading into the controversy Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services' blood-safety advisory committee voted 11-2 to recommend that the FDA mandate leukoreduction for everyone "as soon as feasible."

The main reason the advisers cited: Some people such as cancer patients who need filtered blood accidentally get regular transfusions, often when they go to smaller hospitals that don't have transfusion experts. If only filtered blood were sold, that problem would be solved.

"To not vote for universal leukoreduction would be a giant mistake," Dr. Ronald Gilcher of the Oklahoma Blood Institute told fellow panelists. "This process... improves the quality" of blood. The institute uses only filtered blood. Also, proponents added, leukoreduction might benefit more people than believed. Some studies suggest, but do not prove, that transfusions might subtly weaken the immune system and that filtering might counter that by decreasing hospital infections.

But critics argued there's no proof that filtered blood will benefit anyone except high-risk patients who already should be getting it. Worse, filtering can lose some 10 percent of red cells, at a time when the nation already is experiencing blood shortages.

Also, the blood of healthy people who carry the sickle cell disease gene for some reason doesn't filter well, meaning many black blood donors might be rejected.

"We don't need to rush headlong into this decision. This is not an epidemic," said Dr. Jane Piliavin of the University of Wisconsin, urging fellow panelists against mandatory filtering. But when asked if they would prefer filtered blood if they were in the emergency room, most panelists said they would.

"Why can't you provide that to communities if you believe it yourselves?" asked panelist Dr. John Penner of Michigan State University. The panel cautioned that the FDA should mandate filtering gradually, in a way that would minimize blood shortages. They also urged federal health officials and Congress to find a way to pay for the filtering. Currently, neither Medicare nor most insurance reimburse hospitals for the more expensive blood.


27 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease - The killer illness for a new world order

By David Plotz

Slate - Saturday 27 January 2001


David Plotz is Slate's Washington bureau chief. You can e-mail him at plotz@slate.com.

It has become very dangerous to be a pig in Europe. In the last several months, the Mad Cow disease hysteria that has paralyzed Britain since the mid-'90s has crossed the Channel. France, Germany, Belgium, and Italy, among other nations, have discovered cows infected with the disease in their herds. beef consumption has plunged in the European Union, dropping 50 percent in Germany alone. Germans, French, and Belgians are baying for the blood of their politicians, who lied and claimed local livestock were Mad Cow free. Two German ministers have been drummed out of office. France is prosecuting a farmer for intentionally selling an infected cow to a supermarket chain. At least one insurer has started offering discounts to vegetarians.

Mad Cow disease-officially Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy-is a world-class horror. Eating meat infected with it seems to be the cause of "new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease" (nvCJD), an unbelievably gruesome, always fatal, brain-eating illness that has killed about 80 young Britons and a handful of other Europeans in the past five years. Click here for a rather revolting explanation of how the epidemic started and why it jumped from Britain to the continent. Warning: includes bovine cannibalism.

The United States has hardly blinked at the turmoil across the pond. No cases of BSE have been found here-we import no cow products from England-and the United States bans feeding cows supplements made from other cows. (A herd of Texas cattle was quarantined this week after a cattle-feed maker violated that ban.) Still, there is some cause for concern. The United States forbids blood donations by people who spent more than six months in the United Kingdom between 1980 and 1996. And BSE-like illness is rampant in Western elk and deer herds.

NvCJD has killed fewer than 100 people, and the much-anticipated mass epidemic-one scientist predicted 130,000 British deaths-does not seem to be materializing. The number of cases is rising, but slowly. So why should Mad Cow disease provoke such a frenzy?

Mad Cow fits the classic profile of a disease likely to cause hysteria. Ebola, AIDS, and polio-three of the most flamboyant illnesses of the century-overshadowed deadlier but less flashy plagues, such as malaria, for several reasons. First, the hysteria-inducing illnesses usually affect young people and strike in particularly gruesome ways. Ebola causes massive bleeding from every orifice. AIDS is responsible for grotesque cancers and infections. Polio paralyzed young children.

Second, at the moment of the panic-before much is learned about the disease's origin-everyone seems vulnerable, and it's not clear that prevention is possible. Maybe an Ebola victim flew in from the Congo and breathed on you! Maybe your dentist is HIV-positive! And finally, the disease organism is new and weird and seems to have sprung from a dark, mysterious place. AIDS is a creepy mutating monkey virus. Ebola remains a riddle: The Hot Zone traces it to the bats in a spooky East African cave.

Mad Cow is similarly vicious, unstoppable, and mysterious. It murders by driving its young victims insane, then melting their brains. It theoretically puts anyone who ever ate English beef at risk. It was spawned in the miasma of rendering plants and slaughterhouses, our own hell's kitchens. And the disease organism is a mystery. Some scientists say it is a new kind of infectious agent, a malicious, twisted protein called a "prion." Others blame a "slow virus," but they can't find it. Whatever it is, nobody has the vaguest idea how to kill it.

But perhaps the crucial reason Mad Cow grips Europe is its cultural resonance. Every culture gets the disease it deserves. Polio struck an America midway to urbanization: It was so threatening because it seemed vengeful confirmation that American cities were foul, murderous places. AIDS became an obsession because it nourished existing anxieties about the sexual revolution and gay rights.

Mad Cow is a rage because it encapsulates the dreads and frets of today's Europe. Europe-unlike the United States-has been seized by fears of genetically modified food and scientific meddling in agriculture. Mad Cow perfectly fulfills those fears. Corporate agriculture, by turning cows into cannibals, has made them killers. Nature is biting back.

Mad Cow also heightens European suspicion of globalism. Europe is a continent of Naderites, and Mad Cow is their nightmare, a disease that has spread because of poorly regulated, corporate-dominated, transnational agriculture. Government lies have only magnified the belief that politicians are in cahoots with big business. The whitewashes in Britain, Germany, and France were vain efforts to protect national beef industries, efforts that both failed and increased mistrust of government.

Most of all, Mad Cow has come to exemplify what's worrisome about the European Union. The crisis reveals how porous the continent has become: Union means that everyone is connected in a web of business and agriculture. But those connections can be alarming.

Anti-union, nationalistic mutterings have been percolating for years, notably in England and France. Mad Cow is turning muttering into real animus. The BSE panic is setting nation against nation in a way that Europe has not seen for decades. Most of the continent is enraged at Great Britain for spreading the disease. Britain, in turn, is almost gloating that the rest of Europe is mishandling the problem as badly as it did. Austria, which is disease-free, suspects that German cows are infecting its herds. Germany, France, England, and Italy are at each other's throats. Countries have issued beef bans and counterbans. Jon Cohen, author of Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine, says that Mad Cow is legitimizing centuries of distrust. "The French and the British are saying to each other, 'Just as we believed all along, you are poisonous to our culture.' "

The European Union probably won't collapse over Mad Cow, but it certainly looks more fragile. One small disease is sowing enough rage and consternation to undo what it has taken 50 years of cool diplomacy and economic self-interest to put together. Mad Cow is proving what Freudians have known all along: When it comes to brain diseases, the id out-muscles the superego every time.


27 Jan 01 - CJD - Industry, government to discuss Mad Cow disease

Associated Press

SunSpot.net - Saturday 27 January 2001


Cattle producers press for feed ban compliance

WASHINGTON - Uneasy over the Mad Cow crisis in Europe, U.S. cattle producers are pressing the government and feed makers to improve compliance with a federal ban on feeding animal meal to cows and sheep.

Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, has not been found in U.S. cattle. If it should reach the country, the animal meal ban is designed to keep the disease from spreading through animal feed.

The National Cattlemen's beef Association has organized a private meeting Monday between industry representatives and officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Agriculture Department to discuss the issue.

"We decided that, given the situation in Europe, that we wanted to bring all the key players together to achieve 100 percent compliance with the FDA feed prohibitions," Gary Weber, who oversees regulatory issues for the rancher's group, said yesterday.

The disease first appeared in 1984 in a cow in Britain that was thought to have eaten feed that included offal from sheep that harbored scrapie, a similar illness.

A recent FDA report found that hundreds of feed makers were violating labeling requirements and other rules associated with the ban.

The agency has warned feed makers that continued violations will prompt seizures of feed, company closures, even prosecution. Some companies have received warning letters, and some feed has been recalled, the agency said.

"We're prepared to go to the meeting and let them know we are doing or are willing to do our part to ensure that we don't get BSE into this country," said Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association, which represents plants that process animal parts for feed and other products. "We want the FDA to enforce the feed ban and take what resources it needs to make sure it is enforced."

Americans are not overly worried, according to an ABC-Washington Post poll. One in five of those surveyed said they were very concerned about the problem, and fewer than half said they were at least somewhat concerned.

Fears about the disease were highest among minorities, lower-income and less-educated Americans. The poll of 1,513 adults was taken Jan. 11-15 and has an error margin of 2.5 percentage points.

In 1996, the U.S. livestock industry voluntarily banned sheep and certain other animal parts from U.S. feed, in which it was included as a protein supplement. 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.


26 Jan 01 - CJD - U.N. warns of Mad Cow spread

Staff Reporter

CBC- Friday 26 January 2001


ROME - The United Nations is warning countries around the world to take measures against Mad Cow disease.

"All countries which have imported cattle or meat and bone meal from Western Europe... during and since the 1980's can be considered at risk from the disease," stated the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

U.N. scientists say risk of Mad Cow spreading is highest in Middle East, North Africa, eastern Europe and India

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) attacks the central nervous system of cattle.

The human variant, CJD or Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease, has already killed at least 80 people in Britain and three in France.

Scientists believed BSE originated from the meat and bone meal given as feed to cattle. They're not sure how it gets passed on to humans.

Several European nations have banned meat on the bone, suspecting the disease may be harboured in the bone itself.

Scientists from the FAO say the risk of Mad Cow spreading is highest in the Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India.

Experts say BSE risks are low in the Asia-Pacific region as long as animals are grazed.

Germany testing younger cattle

The European Union has ruled all cattle aged 30 months and older must be tested for BSE. But farmers are now demanding stricter requirements.

Germany is now opting to test cattle aged 24 months and older. The country has been hit by a Mad Cow scare. Twenty cattle have been found to have the disease since November.

The European Union is considering a ban on mechanically-recovered meat.

France is asking for an extension of the EU's "purchase for destruction" scheme which pays farmers who choose to have their cattle destroyed.


26 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany steps up testing for Mad Cow disease

Staff Reporter

CBC- Friday 26 January 2001


BERLIN - Germany plans to reduce the age limit for cattle being tested for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

German officials have discovered 20 cases of what's commonly called Mad Cow disease since November. The latest case was found Thursday.

Scientists believe that eating BSE-infected beef can lead to the new variant Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans, causing slow degeneration of the brain.

European Union countries have pledged to test all cattle over 30 months in age for BSE.

But Germany says it will take the extra precautions of testing all cows at 24 months of age. That means 300,000 more tests for BSE each year.

Scientists believe the disease spread from Britain to the continent through exports of animal feed containing parts of cattle affected by BSE.

In Germany there is another fear, that BSE was spread to calves shortly after birth through milk supplements containing animal fat from BSE-affected cattle.

Consumer panic has sparked a crisis in Europe's beef industry. More than 80 people in Britain and three in France have so far died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

In Germany, both the farm and health ministers resigned last month, and consumption of beef has dropped dramatically.

Germans are some of the biggest meat eaters in Europe, but more of them are turning to alternatives, such as ostrich steaks, or more expensive organically grown beef.


26 Jan 01 - CJD - EU may broaden BSE tests

By Europe correspondent Angus Roxburgh in Brussels

BBC- Friday 26 January 2001


The European Commission is considering lowering the age at which cattle must be tested for BSE, from the current 30 months.

Germany has announced that it will start testing all cows older than 24 months.

The decision to lower the age threshold for cattle considered safe for human consumption, from 30 months to 24, follows the discovery there of a case of BSE in a cow just 28 months old.

In Switzerland, two major supermarket chains have gone further, testing all cows over 20 months before allowing their meat to go on sale.

The moves call into question the precautions currently in place in the UK, where for the past five years beef from animals under 30 months has been on sale without being tested.

The UK Government argues that since BSE takes four to six years to incubate, it is erring on the safe side by banning beef aged over 30 months.

But even in the UK, there have been cases of Mad Cow disease in younger cattle, and the European Commission is now reflecting on whether to lower the age limit throughout the EU. If it does, the implication for British consumers is that for five years they may have been exposed to contaminated beef.

A UK Government spokesman has said there are no plans to change the 30-month scheme, but that the controls are under constant review.

EU agriculture ministers will discuss the latest developments on Monday. They will have to balance the top priority of ensuring public safety with the risk of causing widespread alarm and further devastation of the beef industry.


26 Jan 01 - CJD - UN: World at Risk from BSE

Staff Reporter

BBC- Friday 26 January 2001


The UN food agency has urged countries outside the European Union to take action to prevent the spread of Mad Cow Disease or BSE.

The Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said developing countries which had imported large quantities of cattle, meat or bonemeal from Western Europe were at risk.

There is an increasingly grave situation... in several member-states of the EU which have, until recently, been regarded as free from the disease

The FAO has advised adopting precautionary measures, such as a ban on feeding meat and bonemeal to cattle, sheep or goats.

The European Commission is considering lowering the age at which cattle must be tested for BSE, from the current 30 months. Germany announced on Friday that it would begin testing all cattle older than 24 months.

In recent months BSE - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - has been identified in cattle in several EU countries which had been regarded as free from the disease.

Suspect EU beef exports

Until now all known cases of BSE and the brain-wasting human variant vCJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), have been reported in Europe, or in cattle imported from Europe.

But the FAO said "all countries which have imported cattle or meat and bone meal (MBM) from Western Europe, especially Britain, during and since the 1980s can be considered at risk". It said the highest risk was in the Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India.

"There is an increasingly grave situation developing in the European Union, with BSE being identified in cattle in several member-states of the EU which have, until recently, been regarded as free from the disease," the statement said.

BSE first appeared in 1984 in a cow in Britain that was thought to have eaten feed that included offal from sheep that harboured scrapie, a similar illness.

Since then it has spread across much of Europe.

US quarantine

In the UK, more than 170,000 cattle have been diagnosed with BSE and about 1,300 in Belgium, Denmark, France, the Republic of Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland.

Germany and Spain reported their first native cases of BSE last year and Italy reported its first domestic case last week.

Small numbers of cases have also been reported in Canada, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Italy and Oman, but solely in animals imported from the UK.

More than 80 people in Europe have died from vCJD.

In Germany, the BSE row led to the resignation of two ministers over their handling of the crisis. Germany may have to slaughter about 300,000 cows this year to guarantee herds are healthy, as it works to restore consumer confidence in meat.

In Texas, USA, about 1,000 cattle are being quarantined while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines if they ate animal feed from a mill that may have violated rules designed to prevent BSE.

A recent FDA report found that hundreds of feed makers were violating labelling requirements and other rules associated with the ban.

Australia has extended its tests for BSE to dairy and other products from European countries as part of efforts to remain free of the disease.

But in Japan the agriculture ministry said a BSE outbreak was unlikely, as the country had taken sufficient preventive measures.

Officials in Indonesia and Thailand, two other countries pinpointed by scientists as at risk, ruled out any threat, saying they sourced their feed and beef from countries free of the disease.

Indian experts expressed little immediate concern over the disease, though the country has an immense cattle population.

Cows are considered sacred and are protected by Hindus who do not eat beef.


26 Jan 01 - CJD - Botswana Suffers Effects Of Mad Cow Disease

Wene Owino, Panafrican News Agency, Gaborone

All Africa- Friday 26 January 2001


With the campaign against "blood" diamonds threatening the very livelihood of Botswana, the country's economy now has to contend with the side effects of the Mad Cow disease in Europe.

The diamond-rich southern African country stands to lose millions as Europe, which forms its biggest beef market, shuns meat products because of the disease.

beef forms the bulk of Botswana's agricultural production and is the country's third largest revenue earner after diamonds and tourism. Botswana exports about 70 percent of its annual beef and livestock production to the European Union (EU), from which it earns about 215 million pula (1 USD = P5.5).

However, there are ominous signs that the country risks losing its EU market due to the outbreak of the Mad Cow disease.

Already, reports have it that about 20 percent of mainland Europeans have stopped eating beef in favour of alternative foods since the outbreak of Mad Cow disease in Europe last year.

Chief executive officer of the Botswana Meat Commission, Martin Mannathoko, has said that while none of Botswana's beef has been returned from Europe, the country was still losing its market.

"We're losing because our good customers are not buying. Because of the slump in beef consumption in Europe, we are no longer able to sell as freely as before," he said.

In Gaborone, the European Commission's head of delegation in Botswana, Robert Collingwood, was quoted as saying that many Europeans had stopped eating beef.

"The demand for beef in Europe has fallen very sharply owing to the Mad Cow disease scare, which is really a political issue," he said.

In Germany alone, it is alleged that 80 percent of consumers have stopped eating beef. The slump in the demand for beef has been confirmed by German Embassy's agriculture counselling unit in South Africa.

"Germans, with whom beef is a luxury, will be suspicious of any beef no matter where it comes from, given the recent debate on Mad Cow disease," Hans Volz of the unit was quoted as saying in a telephone interview.

Germany, which consumes about 22 percent of Botswana's livestock products per year, is the country's second biggest beef market after Britain, the original home of Mad Cow disease.

Though statistics show that the consumption of beef has been deteriorating in German in the last few years, the outbreak of the Mad Cow disease worsened the situation.

But according to Collingwood, there is no need for people in Europe to shun Botswana beef, as it was safe. This has been confirmed by an EU delegation, which recently visited Botswana on a fact-finding mission, he said.

"There has been a delegation from the European Union to Botswana to find out if there was any risk of Mad Cow in Botswana beef, and it concluded that the risk was non-existent," Collingwood added.

The threat against Botswana's beef market has come on the heels of a campaign against the so-called "blood" diamonds, which could be detrimental to the diamond producing economies, especially in Africa.

Botswana is the world's leading diamond producer by value and the gemstones are the country's chief source of revenue.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Roche to take over distribution of Swiss co Prionics' BSE test 'Prionic-Check'

Staff Reporter

Ananova - Thursday 25 January 2001


BASEL (AFX) - Roche Holding AG said it has agreed with Swiss biotechnology company Prionics AG to take over the distribution of Prionics BSE test Prionics-Check in virtually all markets.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Prionics-Check is the first specific and rapid test for the detection of the Mad Cow disease in cattle, Roche said.

The collaborative agreement between Roche Diagnostics and Prionics is intended to ensure that the growing demand for reliable and sensitive tests for BSE can continue to be met, Roche said.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Investigation launched after man dies of suspected CJD

Staff Reporter

Ananova - Thursday 25 January 2001


An investigation is under way after a postman died from a suspected case of CJD.

Frazer McCarlie, 31, of Woodcote Avenue, Northampton, died from suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of Mad Cow disease, at the weekend.

A spokesman for Northampton General Hospital said doctors were unable to establish the exact nature of Mr McCarlie's illness and his body has been taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for further tests.

The spokesman said: "The exact cause of death will not be known until a post mortem has been carried out."

It is believed Mr McCarlie, who worked as a postman at Northampton's main postal sorting office in Barrack Road, was transferred at the end of November to Cynthia Spencer Hospice where he later died.

A spokesman for the Northampton Community Healthcare NHS Trust, chief executive, John Rom said: "The Trust can confirm that the patient in question died over the weekend.

"However, in the interests of patient confidentiality, we are unable to confirm the cause of death."


25 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. FDA says Texan cattle protectively put in quarantine over BSE fears

Staff Reporter

Ananova - Thursday 25 January 2001


WASHINGTON (AFX) - A number of Texan cattle have been quarantined on fears of mad-cow disease following reports that animal meal could have contaminated their cattle feed, Agence France-Presse reported, citing an unnamed official at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and federal health officials.

"The animals have been impounded while we await laboratory test results," Carla Everett, spokeswoman for the Texan Animal Sanitation Commission in Austin, Texas said.

The U.S. FDA banned the use of animal substances in animal feed in 1997.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Germans slaughter first herd over BSE

Staff Reporter

Ananova - Thursday 25 January 2001


The German government has ordered the slaughter of more than 1,000 cattle as part of its fight against Mad Cow disease.

It is the first herd to be killed since the disease was detected in cows in Germany last year.

The secretary of state for Saxony Anhalt says 1,012 cattle from one farm will be destroyed after veterinarians determined one of the animals in the herd was infected with the disease.

Germany has so far detected 19 cases of Mad Cow disease, the common name for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE, a brain-wasting ailment that scientists believe was spread by recycling meat and bone meal from infected animals back into cattle feed.

Officials say they had to destroy the entire herd because all the cows in the farm in Saxony Anhalt may have received the same feed. Farmers in Germany have protested against slaughtering whole herds.

German officials have declared the country Mad Cow-free until the first case emerged in November. The country's agriculture and health ministers resigned earlier this month amid accusations they had mishandled the crisis.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - FAO sees Mad Cow Risks in M.East, E.Europe, India

Reuters

MontereyCA - Thursday 25 January 2001


ROME, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India have the highest risk among countries outside the EU of harbouring Mad Cow disease , U.N. world food body officials said on Thursday.

Senior officials of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said it was highly likely that home-grown cases of Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), existed outside the European Union.

So far Switzerland was the only nation outside the 15-nation bloc that had reported a native case of Mad Cow disease, they said.

In an interview with Reuters, they encouraged states that had big dairy industries and had imported large volumes of meat-and-bone meal (MBM) from countries that had reported cases of BSE to consider banning the use of MBM in cattle feed.

The Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India had imported large quantities of MBM from BSE-hit countries including Britain, the officials said. India had an important dairy industry.

All countries that had imported cattle or MBM from Western Europe, especially Britain, during and since the 1980s, could be considered at risk from the disease, they added.

``If you establish a high risk, you may have to consider banning the use of MBM,'' Samuel Jutzi, director of FAO's animal production and health division, said.

Andrew Speedy, FAO's senior officer for feed resources, said: ``It is highly likely that there are native cases outside the EU.''


25 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. Quarantines Texas Cattle Over Mad Cow Rules

Reuters

NorthJersey.com- Thursday 25 January 2001


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health regulators said Thursday they had quarantined some cattle in Texas while officials investigate whether a feed mill violated rules designed to prevent the spread of Mad Cow disease.

A Food and Drug Administration spokesman (FDA) said the agency was probing whether the cattle were accidentally fed meat and bone meal made from other U.S. cattle.

``There's a possibility that bone meal derived from U.S. cattle may have been mixed with a feed supply and later fed to cattle,'' FDA spokesman Lawrence Bachorick said, adding he could not disclose the name of the feed mill or how many cattle were involved.

``To date, no cases of (Mad Cow disease) have been confirmed in the U.S. Nevertheless, the cattle here are being kept in isolation until we can determine whether they are fit for human consumption,'' Bachorick said.

FDA regulations prohibit cattle from being fed with meat and bone meal made from other ruminant animals that could carry Mad Cow, also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or a related disease. Scientists believe cattle can get BSE if they eat the remains of other infected animals.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Gov't Urged To Act on Mad Cow crisis

Associated Press

Las Vegas Sun- Thursday 25 January 2001


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Uneasy over the Mad Cow crisis in Europe, U.S. cattle producers are pressing the government and feed makers to improve compliance with a federal ban on feeding animal meal to cows and sheep.

Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, has not been found in U.S. cattle. If it should reach the country, the animal meal ban is designed to keep the disease from spreading through animal feed.

The National Cattlemen's beef Association has organized a private meeting Monday with representatives of the industry and officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Agriculture Department to discuss the issue.

"We decided that, given the situation in Europe, that we wanted to bring all the key players together to achieve 100-percent compliance with the FDA feed prohibitions," Gary Weber, who oversees regulatory issues for the rancher's group, said Thursday.

The disease first appeared in 1984 in a cow in Britain that was thought to have eaten feed that included offal from sheep that harbored scrapie, a similar illness.

A recent FDA report found that hundreds of feed makers were violating labeling requirements and other rules associated with the ban.

The agency has warned feed makers that continued violations will prompt seizures of feed, company closures, even prosecution. Some companies have received warning letters, and some feed has been recalled, according to the agency.

"We're prepared to go to the meeting and let them know we are doing or are willing to do our part to ensure that we don't get BSE into this country," said Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association, which represents plants that process animal parts for feed and other products.

"We want the FDA to enforce the feed ban and take what resources it needs to make sure it is enforced."

Americans are very aware of the problem in Europe, but so far they are not overly worried, according to an ABC-Washington Post poll. One in five of those surveyed said they were very concerned about the problem, and fewer than half said they were at least somewhat concerned.

"There's still a good deal of confidence in the authorities and producers to keep this disease out of our food supply," said ABC pollster Gary Langer.

Fears about the disease were highest among minorities, lower-income and less-educated Americans. Nine in 10 Americans said they eat beef, though a third said they are consuming less of it, a trend thought to be unrelated to Mad Cow.

The poll of 1,513 adults was taken Jan. 11-15 and has an error margin of 2.5 percentage points.

The U.S. livestock industry in 1996 voluntarily banned sheep and certain other animal parts from U.S. feed, in which it was included as a protein supplement. The following year, 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.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease Can Come To Russia

Staff Reporter

Pravda.RU- Thursday 25 January 2001


There is threat of the spread of Mad Cow disease in Russia, although not a single case of this disease has been registered among people or animals in this country so far, Russia's chief state sanitary physician Gennady Onishchenko told a press conference at RIA Novosti.

In some West-European countries the situation about the Mad Cow disease is developing fast, which, considering the great volume of meat imports, "creates a certain threat to our country", he noted. In this connection, he first of all expressed concern over "the cases of criminal imports where meat is imported from infected areas under the forged documents of those countries where the situation is better in this respect", RIA Novosti reports.

Due to the epidemic of Mad Cow disease, the medics throughout the world are facing the problem of diagnosing it. "This epidemic also raised the problem of the human organs transplantation and the use of growth hormones, during which one may contract the Mad Cow disease, concluded Gennady Onishchenko.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Risks seen in other areas



Stuff- Thursday 25 January 2001


ROME (Reuters): The Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India have the highest risk among countries outside Western Europe of harbouring Mad Cow disease, UN world food body officials said on Thursday.

Senior officials of the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said it was highly likely that home-grown cases of Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), existed outside the European Union (EU).

So far Switzerland was the only nation outside the 15-nation bloc that had reported a native case of Mad Cow disease, they said.

In an interview with Reuters, they encouraged states that had big dairy industries and imported large volumes of meat-and-bone meal (MBM) from countries that had reported cases of BSE to consider banning the use of MBM in cattle feed.

The EU has banned the use of MBM in animal feed for six months until June 30. Many scientists believe the use of MBM in cattle feed triggers the brain-wasting disease.

The Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India have imported large quantities of MBM from BSE-hit countries including Britain, the officials said. India has an important dairy industry.

All countries that have imported cattle or MBM from Western Europe, especially Britain, during and since the 1980s could be considered at risk from the disease, they added.

"If you establish a high risk, you may have to consider banning the use of MBM," Samuel Jutzi, director of FAO's animal production and health division, said.

Andrew Speedy, FAO's senior officer for feed resources, said: "It is highly likely that there are native cases outside the EU."

The officials also encouraged countries to consider testing older cattle for BSE and banning Specified risk Materials (SRMs), such as cattle's eyes, spinal cords and brain tissue, if they identified risks from the disease.

Many scientists believe humans may contract an equivalent form of Mad Cow disease, new variant Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, by eating infected beef. More than 80 people in Britain and three in France have so far died of vCJD.

ALL COUNTRIES AT RISK

The FAO officials said all countries were at risk from BSE, and FAO was advising states on the best practices for cattle feeding in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

It is very difficult to predict accurately which individual states were most at risk as farming and dietary practices varied sharply from country to country.

However, countries with important dairy cattle industries were more likely to report BSE cases than those with major beef industries as dairy cattle had higher protein diets, which might include MBM, than beef cattle.

Large imports of MBM did not necessarily mean a higher risk of BSE if the feed was aimed primarily at a growing poultry industry rather than for cattle, the officials said.

A panel of international experts on the Codex Alimentarius backed by FAO and the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) is now working on a so-called Code of Practice for Good Animal Feeding to ensure that animal products do not create unacceptable risks to consumers, the FAO officials said.

The group might decide to recommend a ban on using MBM in cattle feed at a meeting in Copenhagen on March 19-21, they said.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad media disease

Terence Corcoran

National Post - Thursday 25 January 2001


CBC Television's The National, which has a spotty record on health and science issues, lurched into the global Mad Cow story this week. "Tonight. Mad Cow concern," was how The National started up Monday night. "Good evening," said Peter Mansbridge. "When it comes to Mad Cow disease, Canadians have been assured our home-grown beef is safe, and there's no reason to doubt that. But there is another question. What about imported goods from other countries... Things like vaccines, drugs and cosmetics... Tonight we can report that Canadian health officials are actively assessing the risk here."

With that report, the CBC once again joined the international media and science stampede that threatens to turn a hypothetical risk and genuine science mystery into a global economic fiasco. Tens of billions of dollars in trade and economic activity are already going down the drain. The spillover is putting blood supplies at risk, adding fuel to the campaign against genetically modified food, knocking the global beef industry for a loop and fostering trade wars.

The National's report on drugs and vaccines was a classic of the News Story as Horror Flick genre. Reporter Kelly Crowe, playing the mad journalist role, began with the quaint qualifier: "Peter, the first thing to know about this story is that no one in Canada has ever died from this disease, the form that's directly related to infected beef." It was around this point that the report deployed its first horror-flick technique, a five-to-ten-second flash of a diseased cow staggering around a farm somewhere in what we used to know as the bucolic world of All Creatures Great and Small but which has now been transformed into the United Kingdom equivalent of Transylvania for animals.

Anyway, Ms. Crowe presented a parade of talking-head scientists who seemed to be saying there's a risk that as many as 400 imported drugs and vaccines containing bovine ingredients might pose a human health hazard. One scientist said the risk is "infinitesimal, but it may not be zero." He said his personal opinion is that "the very highest standards of compliance should be, ah, should be brought to bear." Whatever that means. After several more grotesque hits of staggering cows and pictures of what looked like a young man dying of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), The National's top story of the day petered out in a vacuous exchange between Ms. Crowe and Mr. Mansbridge. Mansbridge: "Kelly, how high a priority is it to learn more?" Crowe: "Well, scientists around the world are trying to learn as much as they can, as fast as they can..."

Right. By now, however, a large number of Canadians have it locked in their heads that Mad Cow disease, linked to the alleged human variant CJD, could possibly be passed on to their children the next time they go to the clinic for vaccination shots. Given the already common phobia of vaccines in some circles, the last thing we need is national television reinforcement of the idea that a vaccine could turn our children into the human equivalent of crazed cows.

The vaccine scare follows an earlier report on whether Canada will follow a U.S. decision to bar anyone who lived in France, Ireland and Portugal for more than 10 years since 1980 from giving blood. The American Red Cross imposed a ban on anyone who had lived in Europe for more than six months since 1980 -- even though the risk of contracting disease from the blood system was entirely "theoretical." Blood shortages would not be inconceivable under such standards.

Every nation is rushing to join the new global trade game of banning beef imports. Soon the entire system of international trade will be closed to the movement of beef and beef products. In Italy, McDonald's is scrambling to hold on to its customers after one, single cow was found to be infected with Mad Cow disease. Lawsuits are flying. beef consumption in Europe, meanwhile, is down 30% to 70% in some regions.

The estimated direct cost in Europe of dealing with Mad Cow disease now exceeds US$5.5-billion. That doesn't include lost business and trade disruption. One economist estimated billions more will be lost in abandoned economic activity.

Protecting human health is one thing. Fabricating a health scare is another. The U.S. Center for Disease Control, not given to minimizing risks, reports that the risk of getting human CJD from eating European beef in the following terms. "The current risks of acquiring nvCJD from eating beef (muscle meat) and beef products produced from cattle in Europe appear to be extremely small (perhaps fewer than one case per 10 billion servings), if it exists at all." That would put the risk -- if it exists at all! -- at half the one-in-five billion chance of being killed by a meteorite over the next year.

Only about 15 cows in all of Europe have been found with Mad Cow disease this year, hardly an epidemic. The link to human disease is just a theory. It will be some time before the worst of this is over, and the costs will be staggering. The worst of it is that, with the disease now overrun with politicians, bureaucrats, activists and wavering scientists -- not to mention an army of mad journalists writing reports that read like scripts for the next Friday the 13th -- discovery of the scientific truth is even less likely to emerge any time soon.


25 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow test a boon for firm

By Judy Silber

Contra Costa Times - Thursday 25 January 2001


Bio-Rad Laboratories' product stems European panic over tainted beef

A study being released today about a test marketed by Hercules-based Bio-Rad Laboratories could help ease intense European fears about Mad Cow disease and help politicians make better decisions about the meat European supermarkets can safely sell.

Results published in the British journal Nature show that the Bio-Rad test effectively detects prions, the infectious agents causing Mad Cow disease in cattle. Bio-Rad's test could limit the huge slaughter of cattle throughout Europe that was initiated to curb the risk the disease poses to beef eaters.

Mad-cow fears in continental Europe have intensified in recent months in the wake of a record number of cases reported last year outside of Great Britain. While the number of cases found outside Great Britain pales in comparison to those found in Great Britain since the disease was discovered in 1986 -- 180,000 versus several hundred in France and less than a dozen in Germany -- the level of paranoia has escalated nonetheless.

An insidious disease also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Mad Cow disease can be transmitted to people through the food supply. In people, as in cattle, prions slowly destroy the brain, leaving victims mentally and physically incapacitated. More than 80 people have died so far in Great Britain, and two have died in France.

The French scientists examined the Bio-Rad test's effectiveness by taking a mixture of ground-up cow brains from infected cows, and diluting it to various concentrations. They then compared the Bio-Rad results with those obtained when they injected mice with the same mixture. Mixtures seen as positive by the Bio-Rad test killed the mice. Mixtures evaluated as non-threatening by the test did not kill the mice.

Since injected mice have a much greater chance of getting BSE than people who eat beef, the French scientists declared Bio-Rad's test effective.

"There's never a guarantee, but we can eliminate what is potentially dangerous," said Jean-Philippe Deslys, head of the prion research group at the CEA, the French Atomic Energy Commission.

The publication of the Nature article comes as European Union countries outside of Great Britain gear up for massive cattle testing. A European Union regulatory agency had ordered all cattle over age 30 months killed and their carcasses either tested or destroyed as of Jan. 1.

The precaution is meant to help eliminate BSE-positive cow meat from grocery shelves. Cows under 30 months are thought to have a low risk of transmitting BSE because it takes three to four years for prions to accumulate in significant quantities.

One of the biggest problems so far, and one the Bio-Rad test may alleviate, is how to handle the growing number of cow carcasses.

Unlike most proteins, which break down over time, prions last indefinitely. Thus, workers must first burn the carcasses, then handle the ashes as hazardous waste.

The Bio-Rad test promises to ease the burden of incineration by indicating which cows are infected and thus must be handled with caution and which can safely be sold for human consumption. But until recently, neither the European Union nor Bio-Rad had anticipated the tremendous demand. Bio-Rad has struggled to deliver enough tests, while technicians have had to rapidly learn how to do the tests.

The Bio-Rad test could also change other policies. Currently, a farmer's entire herd is sacrificed if testing finds that only one of the herd has BSE. That could change, however, once politicians and the public come to trust the Bio-Rad test, said Deslys.

Bio-Rad had predicted it would sell around 50,000 tests during 2001. But since Thanksgiving, when Germany, a country that had always denied a risk for its cattle, discovered BSE-positive cows in its herds, everything has changed. Panic and anger ensued, and the effects rippled across Europe as other countries also came to grips with a higher BSE risk.

Now the company is foreseeing a demand in 2001 that could total 12 million tests, said Bradford Crutchfield, manager of Bio-Rad's biomaterials division.

To meet the increased demand, Bio-Rad mobilized its workers and manufacturing plants around the world. As of last week, the company had ramped up to produce 100,000 tests a week.

Though the Bio-Rad test is one of three approved by the European Union, Crutchfield said Bio-Rad's test is faster and less cumbersome than the other two. Countries such as France that began with the other tests have turned to Bio-Rad in recent weeks. Some supermarkets even have ads displayed that say, "We sell Bio-Rad tested beef here."

Told early last year that European nations might begin full-scale testing, Bio-Rad put its expertise in diagnostic testing and manufacturing to work. For one thing, the company streamlined the test, whittling the time to perform it from 24 hours down to four.

Investors have taken notice. Bio-Rad's stock has climbed fairly steadily since October, increasing from $22.40 to $36.90 Wednesday.

The CEA scientists say they're gratified that their work could have a positive impact.

"To avoid a crisis in the economy, to avoid wasting millions and millions of dollars, that's very satisfying. It means that our work and research has value," said Deslys.


24 Jan 01 - CJD - McDonald's Profits Fall on Mad Cow Scare

Reuters

YAHOO- Wednesday 24 January 2001


OAK BROOK, Ill. (Reuters) - Fast food giant McDonald's Corp. (NYSE:MCD - news) on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 7 percent as an outbreak of Mad Cow disease in Europe pushed the region's sales down 10 percent and threatened to weaken the company's first quarter results.

Net income at the Oak Brook, Illinois-based hamburger maker, the largest restaurant company in the world, fell to $452 million, or 34 cents a share, from $486.2 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier. McDonald's was expected to earn 35 cents a share, according to a recent poll of analysts by First Call/Thomson Financial.

McDonald's, which operates nearly 5,500 restaurants in Europe, its second-largest market behind the United States, has since November seen sales erode amid an outbreak of Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, on the continent.

BSE is a chronic degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle and is believed to be contracted through feed containing animal by-products. It has been linked to a similar brain-wasting disease in humans.

CEO Jack Greenberg said in a statement that he expects a difficult first quarter of 2001 due to continued Mad Cow concerns, tough comparisons from last year, and an extra trading day in 2000.

``We expect the first quarter to be very challenging, due to outstanding results and an extra trading day in 2000, and continuing consumer confidence issues about European beef,'' he said.

Shares of McDonald's fell 3.4 percent or $1-1/8 to $31-3/4 in early New York Stock Exchange trading, off a 52-week high of $41-7/16. In the past year, the shares have underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average by about 15 percent. The company has been battling public fears with stepped up advertising and greater promotion of nonbeef products.

Sales to Europe, the company's second-largest market behind the U.S., fell 10 percent in the quarter to $2.21 billion from $2.45 billion one year ago. Operating income fell 17 percent to $267.3 million from $322.2 million.

``Europe got hit pretty hard,'' said Bear Stearns analyst Joe Buckley, who in June lowered his rating on McDonald's shares to neutral due to broader international concerns, including fluctuations in the euro. ``The problem with Mad Cow is that it is an unknown. No one knows how long these concerns last.''

Systemwide sales, which include sales from restaurants owned by franchises and those owned by the company, rose to $9.92 billion from $9.75 billion a year ago.

Sales in the U.S., McDonald's largest market, rose 3 percent to $4.82 billion, from $4.68 billion one year ago. Operating income rose 14 percent to $385.3 million from $338.9 million. Sales in Asia Pacific, McDonald's third-largest market, rose 3 percent to $1.75 billion from $1.70 billion a year ago.

``Despite a number of operating challenges, our worldwide comparable sales were positive and systemwide sales increased seven percent in constant currencies for the year,'' Greenberg said.

The company plans to add about 1,700 restaurants in 2001, he said. The company said that 2001 per share earnings were expected to grow between 10 to 13 percent, excluding the impact of foreign currency translation.

In the year, it plans to buy back about $1.2 billion in stock, the remainder of a three-year $4.5 billion plan. In 2000, it purchased $2.0 billion worth.


24 Jan 01 - CJD - High hopes for new BSE test

Staff Reporter

Times- Wednesday 24 January 2001


A new test for screening slaughtered cattle for "Mad Cow" disease might help prevent infected meat reaching butchers and supermarkets, scientists said today .

The test identifies the protein molecules believed to transmit BSE and its human version, variant CJD, in brain tissue within 24 hours.

French researchers found it was as sensitive as traditional "mouse assay" tests in which brain tissue is injected into mice which then develop symptoms if infected.

In Britain, all cattle over 30 months of age are killed and their carcasses destroyed as a safeguard against BSE.

A study comparing the test, developed by the French company CEA, appeared today in the journal Nature. The researchers, led by Jean-Philippe Deslys, from France's Service de Neurovirologie, said the test was a "viable alternative" to destroying cattle carcasses.

However, they said more work was needed to demonstrate the test's ability to spot disease in animals showing no symptoms.

A Ministry of Agriculture spokeswoman said the test was one of four that had been evaluated by the European Commission. She was not able to say if it might replace the removal of cows more than 30 months old.


24 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow crisis Has Asia Within Its Reach-Scientists

By Elizabeth Piper

YAHOO- Wednesday 24 January 2001


LONDON (Reuters) - Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Sri Lanka may become the next victims of Mad Cow disease after buying potentially tainted animal feed from Britain at the height of the UK epidemic, scientists said on Wednesday.

Britain, which banned the feeding of crushed animal carcasses to cattle in 1986, exported much of its stocks of feed to Europe and beyond until a decade later, when the trade was ended.

Scientists suspect the use of so-called meat and bone meal in feed has spread the deadly brain-wasting disorder, and so UK export data may hold a key to which countries are threatened by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE.

``The countries that stick out because they were importing animal feed at the height of our epidemic in the 1990s are Indonesia, India, Thailand, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. They really stick out a long way,'' said scientist Iain McGill, who worked at Britain's farm ministry at the height of the BSE crisis.

``Europe was importing a lot, but after the link became clear within the European Union they cut down from 1990 onwards. The exception would seem to be Italy. They might have a slightly later problem brewing.''

BSE's spread from Britain to Europe has devastated the beef industries of countries such as France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, all of which imported large amounts of animal feed after UK officials found Britain's first BSE case in 1986.

Messy Trade

Indonesia started importing general feedstuffs from Britain in 1991, with the largest consignment of over 20,060 tonnes in 1993, which compared with less than six tonnes into badly hit Germany that year, UK customs data showed.

Thailand, Taiwan and Sri Lanka imported lesser tonnages, but the quantities picked up in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Scientists said the spread of the disease depended on how much meat and bone meal was included in animal feed, and how much was fed to cattle -- but the figures did show the potential reach of Mad Cow disease.

``It really depends on what has happened to this meat and bone meal, but it's a very, very messy business and a very, very messy trade indeed,'' McGill said, noting that other EU countries hit by Mad Cow disease had exported meal and bone meal.

Ralph Blanchfield of the independent UK Institute of Food Science and Technology said no country was safe.

``I don't think any country can say they are 100 percent sure that they are free of BSE,'' he said.

For some countries it could be a matter of time before they unearthed cases of the disease.

``You would expect the first cases (in Asian countries) within three or four years but it really depends on how much they are recycling on their own,'' McGill said, referring to the practice of using domestic cattle carcasses in feed.

``If they are recycling either within a species or between species...then you might expect a peak round about now or in the next few years -- and that depends on looking for it.''

In Europe, increased testing of higher-risk cattle over 30 months old, part of a package of recent measures agreed by the European Union, have unearthed more cases of BSE than expected.

Lower-risk Countries

For the United States, the risk from European feed is low but the country's beef industry may not be safe, McGill said.

``The United States imported just under 20,000 kg (of UK feed) in 1989 when the epidemic started to get going but was not at its peak, so there would be a pretty low risk,'' he said.

But circumstantial evidence suggested that a similar disease in US mink might have been caused on farms where they had been fed cattle remains.

``They were recycling...so if they had an undetected case of the disease...they could be more exposed from their own BSE rather than from Europe.''

For McGill, like other scientists, the trade in animal feed should be another nail in the coffin for factory farming.

``The industrialised system whereby this potentially toxic material has been exported everywhere does pose a risk...I think we need to look at how industrialised farming got one bad apple in the cart and the entire world is put at risk .''


24 Jan 01 - CJD - Investigation Launched After Man Dies Of Suspected CJD

Staff reporter

Evening Standard - Wednesday 24 January 2001


An investigation is under way after a postman died from a suspected case of CJD .

Frazer McCarlie, 31 , of Woodcote Avenue, Northampton, died from suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of Mad Cow disease, at the weekend.

A spokesman for Northampton General Hospital said doctors were unable to establish the exact nature of Mr McCarlie's illness and his body has been taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for further tests.


24 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow scare changes candy composition

Staff Reporter

CBC- Wednesday 24 January 2001


BERLIN - The makers of Gummi bear candies say they are launching a new version of the popular candy which will contain no animal products.

German candy maker, Haribo, says the new jelly bears will be free of gelatin.

Officials say they are doing so because of fears of Mad Cow disease.

Some scientists believe BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, may be harboured vertebral column of the cow. Therefore, gelatin which comes from bone is thought to carry the disease.

A few countries, including France, have banned sales of beef on the bone.

"A lot of people have concerns. We ensure our products are safe... and guarantee there is no fear of BSE," said Haribo spokesperson Franz Weihrauch.

Until now, the company had been using pig gelatin in its sweets.

The new Gummi Bears are to hit Asia and North America in six to nine weeks. No release date has been set for Europe.

Fears of Mad Cow disease have resurfaced especially in Germany were 10 new cases have been discovered since November.

Consumers have stopped buying certain meat products such as sausages.


24 Jan 01 - CJD - French find more efficient BSE test

Staff Reporter

BBC- Wednesday 24 January 2001


Scientists in France say they've developed a method for detecting BSE, or Mad Cow Disease, which is much more accurate than other existing tests.

The scientists -- writing in the journal Nature -- say that if their biochemical test is carried out routinely, it will be able to detect BSE in animals even if they have no visible symptoms.

Current tests are not considered good enough by some experts because they only work on animals which already show clinical signs of the disease.

The new test is carried out on tissue taken from the animal's brain, and it produces a result within twenty-four hours.

However, at the moment, it can only be carried out on animals which have been slaughtered. This month, the European Commission introduced compulsory BSE testing for all cattle over the age of thirty months because of fears over a link between the illness and its human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD.


24 Jan 01 - CJD - U.S. Prepared for Mad Cow crisis As Europe Scrambles

By Randy Fabi

Lycos- Wednesday 24 January 2001


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As European nations scramble in fear of "Mad Cow" disease, U.S. business and government have calmly assured consumers that for the last decade they have taken the necessary steps to protect the nation's meat supply.

Although Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) -- better known as Mad Cow disease -- has never been detected in the United States, authorities have identified some of its relatives, including scrapie in sheep flocks and "mad deer " among herds of deer and elk.

But U.S. officials have watched nervously as a revival of Mad Cow fears has swept Europe. BSE cases, trade bans and calls for sweeping safety measures have been reported almost daily since France discovered late last year it might have put potentially tainted beef on supermarket shelves.

Thousands of Europeans have taken to the streets protesting their governments' complacency for not erecting strong barriers against the spread of BSE from Britain, where the disease is thought to have originated in the 1970's.

More than 80 people have died of the human form of the brain-wasting disease, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD). Many scientists believe that humans who catch nvCJD can do so as a result of eating BSE-infected beef.

ADDITIONAL U.S. REGULATIONS

U.S. officials were closely monitoring the situation in Europe and have expanded some regulations. But they remain confident that the United States will never experience a similar outbreak because of its strong regulatory system.

"It is unlikely to occur given the conditions here and the prohibitions that have been in place," said Linda Detwiler, senior staff veterinarian for the U.S. Agriculture Department. "Our surveillance over time has found no evidence of having BSE in the country."

Since Britain was identified as the first European country to report the brain-wasting disease more than a decade ago, the United States has banned the import of live ruminants, including cattle, sheep and goats, and their byproducts from countries with BSE.

In December, the U.S. Agriculture Department expanded its regulations to cover all rendered animal protein products, regardless of species, from Europe.

The USDA also has an extensive surveillance program testing cattle that show evidence of neurological disease. As of Oct. 31, 2000, the USDA has examined over 11,700 cattle brains for BSE.

U.S. regulators last week recommended the Food and Drug Administration widen a ban on blood donations to include long-term residents of France, Ireland and Portugal to make sure Mad Cow disease stays out of the U.S. blood supply.

If Mad Cow was ever identified in the United States, a group of government officials called the BSE Response Team would be responsible for getting the situation under control.

The team represents a mix of backgrounds and expertise, including veterinary medicine, food safety, public health, epidemiology, international trade and public affairs.

"Since the mid-80s, the U.S. cattle industry and the U.S. government have worked together to prevent what we viewed as a serious threat," Gary Weber, executive director of regulatory affairs for the National Cattlemen's beef Association, said. "We've been ahead of the curve while other countries haven't."

"MAD DEER," SCRAPIE IN U.S.

But question marks remain before the U.S. consumer.

Despite extraordinary precautions undertaken by the United States to prevent Mad Cow, diseases directly related to BSE like scrapie and "mad deer" have been identified in the U.S.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD), or mad deer, has been found in both wild and confined animals in six U.S. states.

A panel of federal advisors last week concluded that studies to date did not show humans developed nvCJD after eating tainted deer meat. But the panel said this doesn't mean that the possibility can be ruled out.

Scrapie, a brain disorder related to BSE, has been detected in the United States since 1947. The disease is fatal to sheep but poses no threat to people, scientists say.

Brazil last week located and destroyed three imported sheep from the United States after laboratory tests confirmed the animals had scrapie. Last year, in the United States, four sheep from Vermont tested positive for scrapie. The USDA is still seeking legal authority to seize and destroy about 350 Vermont sheep suspected of having the disease.

The use of meat and bone meal (MBM), a livestock protein additive, is also widespread in the United States. MBM materials have been targeted in Europe as the channel through which BSE was spread from Britain overseas.

HARVARD STUDY

Government officials and the farm industry is awaiting a study by Harvard University researchers that analyzes and evaluates the country's BSE preventive measures. The study is expected to be released this spring.

"In my opinion, it is highly unlikely that we would have a situation similar to Britain and France even if we had a BSE case," George Gray, director of the program for food safety and agriculture at the Harvard Center for risk Analysis, said.

"The system in place would make it extremely unlikely a BSE would pose a significant risk to animals or humans," he said.

But Gray admitted there is a real possibility Mad Cow could find its way into the United States.

"It could happen. I have no idea if it will," Gray said. "But I think even if it does, it won't turn into an epidemic."


24 Jan 01 - CJD - Emirates bans European beef imports

Staff Reporter

Arabia.com- Wednesday 24 January 2001


The UAE, which imports about 30,000 tonnes of meat a year, is the first Gulf state to ban Scandinavian and east European beef

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned all beef imports from the European Union, Scandinavia and eastern Europe because of fears of "Mad Cow" disease, according to a decree published Monday.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry said the ban also covered imports of fodder from the same countries.

Earlier this month Qatar urged the Gulf oil monarchies to reach a consensus on meat imports after Saudi Arabia banned EU beef and mutton. A week ago Bahrain banned EU beef imports.


24 Jan 01 - CJD - Palestinians control imports over 'Mad Cow' fears



Arabia.com- Wednesday 24 January 2001


Importers to obtain special licences before they could import from countries which produced and traded in meat

The Palestinian Authority said in a statement on Monday that it was tightening controls on imports of meat for fear of the spread of "Mad Cow" disease.

The Ministry of Economy and Trade said in a statement published in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds newspaper that importers would be required to obtain special licences and guidelines before they could import from countries which produced and traded in meat.

It said the decision was intended to "prevent transmission of Mad Cow disease" to the population in the Palestinian-ruled West Bank and Gaza Strip. There were no further details.

Scientists believe that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, the medical name for "Mad Cow" disease, is linked to an incurable brain-wasting disease in humans.

Most of Palestinian trade comes from Israel.