Document Directory

18 Mar 01 - CJD - BSE test deal boosts Protherics
18 Mar 01 - CJD - BSE remains consumers' first fear
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Tonsilitis 'might be gateway for vCJD'
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Sore throat link to CJD
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Medicines could carry vCJD
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Mad Major, Mad Max: the Cats with Mad Cow Disease
18 Mar 01 - CJD - India disputes FAO report on Mad Cow disease
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Korean govt acts to dispel Mad Cow disease fears
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Mad Cow disease seen in London cats
18 Mar 01 - CJD - EU approves new Mad Cow plan
18 Mar 01 - CJD - China Bans Beef, Animal Feed Imports Over BSE Fears
18 Mar 01 - CJD - USDA to Seize Sick Vermont Sheep Before Appeals
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Funding group calls for research bids on diagnostic tests
18 Mar 01 - CJD - European farming under threat
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Food safety checks 'under strain'
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Intentia Becomes The First Vendor To Offer Origin Tracing For The Food
18 Mar 01 - CJD - No 'Mad Cow' risk from diet supplements
18 Mar 01 - CJD - How now, Mad Cow. How does your garden grow?
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Campbell introduces Mad Cow legislation
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Crisis Has Wide Ramifications in Industry
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Abbott Markets Tests For Mad Cow Disease
18 Mar 01 - CJD - "Mad Cow" Scare Cuts Beef Demand in Cebu Market
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Hundreds of medicines have yet to pass CJD safety standards
18 Mar 01 - CJD - Meat Packers Request Certificates to Ensure BSE-Free Livestock



18 Mar 01 - CJD - BSE test deal boosts Protherics

Ananova

PA News--Sunday 18 March 2001


Protherics says a test it helped to develop for detecting BSE is on course to achieve significant sales.

The biotech firm patented the technology in the 1990s and has just seen US group Abbot Laboratories sign a deal with the Irish company, Enfer Scientific, to market the kit worldwide.

Macclesfield-based Protherics believes it will be a success in Europe, where the European Community has introduced mandatory BSE testing.

The company now stands to gain a significant increase in royalties from the deal with Abbot.

The test, which detects the proteins responsible for causing BSE in brain tissue, is currently only used in Ireland.

Irish-based Enfer samples brain tissue sent in by abattoirs before they release carcasses into the food chain.

Each test costs around £30, with Protherics receiving a royalty on each one.

Since its introduction in Ireland in January, the test has been used on 56,000 carcasses, with results sent back in a matter of hours.

A recent EC study found the test had a 100% success rate in distinguishing animals clinically affected with BSE from healthy cattle.

The UK government does not use testing as it slaughters every animal aged over 30 months, claiming cattle younger than this are safe to eat.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - BSE remains consumers' first fear

Staff Reporter

BBC--Sunday 18 March 2001


Shoppers seem reassured that foot-and-mouth is an animal only disease

Consumers are more worried about the risk of BSE to food safety than any threat from foot-and-mouth.

A report for the market analysts, Mintel, says BSE remains the chief concern with many more shoppers worried about it than in 1999.

Other chief concerns are salmonella, e-coli and genetically-modified foods.

The foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is in fifth place suggesting that people believe it is only an animal welfare issue.

The disease ranks alongside worries over cancer-risk related foods and pesticides in fruit and vegetables in the survey.

Researchers also questioned adults about whether they had changed their shopping habits, since the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The findings suggest around 14% - and more women than men - have cut back on their meat consumption, with a further 10% considering reducing it in the future.

Almost two thirds of those questioned, however, have no plans to reduce the amount of meat they eat.

Only 2% admitted planning to stock up the freezer - with the majority sticking to the advice not to panic buy.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Tonsilitis 'might be gateway for vCJD'

By Nigel Hawkes, Health Editor

Times--Sunday 18 March 2001


Variant CJD sufferers may have been unlucky enough to have been suffering from a sort throat when they ate contaminated beef, an American scientist has suggested.

Stephen DeArmond of the University of California in San Francisco said that inflamed tonsils might have given the agent responsible for BSE and vCJD a chance to gain entry to the body. The idea could explain why relatively few had the disease and why young people, who suffer more tonsillitis, seemed at particular risk.

He told the BBC that there was no experimental evidence backing the idea, but that it was possible. "All I am trying to do is search for something that would get the protein into the lymphoreticular system, particularly into the tonsils, and certainly some irritation there, injury or inflammation, might have been one way."

The tonsils are known to be a reservoir for the prion proteins which cause vCJD. "Why does vCJD get into the tonsils, for instance, and it doesn't happen in sporadic CJD or any other forms of CJD that we know of?" Professor DeArmond said. "Could it be that these patients had a sore throat and they were just unlucky that they ate a sausage or a meat pie that had a lot of BSE brain associated with it?"

Peter Smith, the acting chairman of the Government's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, said some people had suggested that changes in teeth at adolescence might be related to vCJD, but no one really knew.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Sore throat link to CJD

By the BBC's Matt McGrath

BBC--Sunday 18 March 2001


The victims of vCJD may have succumbed to the disease because they ate contaminated beef when they were suffering from a bout of tonsillitis or a simple sore throat.

Could it be that these patients had a sore throat and they were just unlucky that they ate a sausage or a meat pie that had a lot of BSE brain associated with it?

The theory has been put forward by a leading American scientist, Professor Stephen DeArmond, from the University of California at San Francisco.

He said it could explain why relatively few people had been struck down with the illness so far and why so many of those who had were under the age of 35.

British researchers studying vCJD said the theory was plausible but stressed there was no experimental data to support it.

Scientists still know very little about why the variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease seems to strike some people and not others.

Exact route

To date, it has killed 94 people in the UK. Another eight are suspected sufferers and are still alive.

Researchers believe the illness is caused by infectious proteins called prions being passed to humans through meat contaminated with the brains and spinal tissue of cattle suffering from BSE, or Mad Cow disease. But the exact route remains a mystery.

Now, Professor DeArmond, one of the world's leading prion experts, has told the BBC that inflammation in the throat area of victims could be the key factor.

"All I am trying to do is search for something that would get the protein into the lymphoreticular system, particularly into the tonsils, and certainly some irritation there, injury or inflammation, might have been one way that these 90-odd people were unlucky," he said.

Prion reservoirs

The tonsils are an important focus for research because they are known to be a reservoir for prions.

It is this fact that has prompted British hospitals to dispose of all surgical implements used in tonsillectomies, to counter the very slight risk that the equipment could pass vCJD from one patient to another.

But Professor DeArmond said serious consideration was now being given to the idea that the tonsils were the route through which the primary infection from cattle to humans occurred.

"Why does it [the infection] get into the tonsils for instance and it doesn't happen in sporadic CJD or any other forms of CJD that we know of.

"Could it be that these patients had a sore throat and they were just unlucky that they ate a sausage or a meat pie that had a lot of BSE brain associated with it?

"Again, I'm trying to think of any other factor that would explain why a relatively small number of individuals would get the disease."

With perhaps 30% to 40% of the British population having the genetic make-up susceptible to vCJD infection, and so many contaminated meals eaten over the years, Professor DeArmond said one could have expected many more victims to have emerged by now.

Age profile

However, if sore throats had acted as a contributory, but limiting, factor, it might also explain the age profile of vCJD victims.

"Young people go through a lot of colds and sore throats that you become immune to later in life," Professor DeArmond said.

"As you get older, you experience more viruses and you reach a stage where you become less susceptible to these problems."

Researchers in the UK said the ideas expressed by Professor DeArmond were plausible but nothing had been proven.

Teeth theory

"The truth is we don't know what the reason is for the particular age distribution of the vCJD cases that have been observed so far," said Professor Peter Smith, the acting chairman of the government's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (Seac). "There are a lot of changes that take place around adolescence. Other people have suggested for example that it may be related to the sort of changes in teeth that take place at around that age - with some dental procedures there may be a risk.

"These are all possible hypotheses but we really don't know."

The UCSF professor is a colleague of Stanley Prusiner, the scientist honoured with a Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on prions. Californian researchers are now developing a therapy that will block the action of infectious prions.

The therapy, which has shown promise in the lab, will go into animal trials in the next 12 months. If these experiments are successful, they could lead to an effective treatment for spongiform diseases in humans within 10 years, Professor DeArmond said.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Medicines could carry vCJD

Staff Reporter

BBC--Sunday 18 March 2001


More than 800 medicines , some of which are on sale in the UK , could carry a risk of vCJD.

Drug companies were given until 1 March to prove that their products were free from the human form of Mad Cow disease.

But the Medicines Controls Agency (MCA) has admitted there are still around 860 medicines which have not been cleared in time for the European Union deadline.

Many drugs are made using animal materials like cattle serum, but drug companies were told they should ensure and be able to prove that their serum did not come from cows that might have BSE.

It is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been proved, that humans can contract vCJD after eating contaminated products from cows with BSE.

It was understood ministers have demanded weekly updates on the situation and have ordered a risk assessment to be carried out on each drug outstanding.

The government-controlled MCA said it was not allowed for legal reasons to name those companies who have not responded.

The drug companies concerned are now breaking the law since European Union legislation tightening medicine safety came into effect at the start of March.

Tardy responses

The news has angered patient groups who are demanding the names of the companies and their products.

They are furious the government has not said whether they are planning to take legal action.

The official BSE inquiry, led by Lord Phillips, voiced concern that the government had not done enough to ensure the rules were being obeyed.

And last autumn the government was forced to withdraw an oral polio vaccine after it became clear it had been developed from serum which could potentially have been infected with BSE.

The government's Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson said the risks were "incalculably small", but it was removed from use.

The MCA has stressed that all vaccines and inoculations, including the controversial mumps measles and rubella jab (MMR), do now meet the guidelines.

It said it had received responses for around 15,500 products and is currently compiling an assessment of the range of products involved.

A spokeswoman for the MCA said they would not allow the public to be put at risk by any tardy responses.

Safety guidelines

She said: "The government will consider what action should be taken to ensure that these products comply with these important safety guidelines.

"The government will not hesitate to take action to protect public health in the UK if this proves necessary."

But Frances Hall, whose son Peter died from vCJD in 1996, said it is vital that all medicines are cleared, not just vaccines and jabs.

Mrs Hall, of the Human BSE Foundation, said: "We keep being assured of all these belt and braces measures only to discover later that they haven't been properly applied.

"The risk may be small but any amount of danger is too much if it is your family that's affected. It seems we are playing Russian roulette."

Clive Everf, chairman of the CJD Support Network, said: "I find it deeply worrying that the drug companies have so far failed to provide this information.

"I am also deeply disappointed that the government has not put further pressure on the drug companies to provide this information."


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Mad Major, Mad Max: the Cats with Mad Cow Disease

By Elizabeth Piper

NorthJersey.com--Sunday 18 March 2001


LONDON (Reuters) - No one guessed that Major was suffering from a form of Mad Cow disease.

The 12-year-old lion had lost the use of his back legs but that could have been due to the back injury he received in a tooth-and-claw fight with his half brother. When a last-ditch attempt to cure his back trouble failed, zookeepers decided it was time Major was freed from his misery and put him down.

The autopsy results shocked everyone. Major had feline spongiform encephalopathy, the cat form of the Mad Cow disease that has infected nearly 180,000 cattle in Britain since it was first detected in a British herd in 1986.

``It was very, very difficult to say (he had the disease) because he was diagnosed with back damage and of course it has almost the same symptoms,'' said Mike Thomas, managing director at Newquay Zoo in southwest England.

Thomas said Major must have caught the disease from eating the brains and spines of cattle, considered to be more at risk of being infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), better known as Mad Cow disease.

``I think everyone takes measures to stop it happening but sometimes you can't stop it happening,'' he said, adding ``We don't feed brain and spinal column... the lions are fed on beef and rabbits -- whole rabbits.''

Major was only the second lion to get FSE in Britain but he joins 85 other cats, mainly domestic varieties, diagnosed with the disease since 1990. Three cheetahs, three pumas, three ocelot and two tigers have also developed FSE, which causes cats to become disoriented, stagger and find their surroundings alien and confusing, the British agriculture ministry said.

Scientists agree with Thomas that it is difficult to discover cases of FSE mainly because cat owners and zoo keepers are not looking for the disease.

``It wasn't something that was immediately obvious.... You can only tell if an animal has got it, or a human for that matter, by examining the brain,'' Thomas said, adding that cats do not pose the same threat to humans as cattle and are not routinely tested for the disease after they die.

``The real problem is the food chain, in that if people eat infected beef then that passes it on. They are not going to eat a lion or a domestic cat.''

MAD MAX

Scientists say it is difficult to calculate how many cats could be harboring the disease, which has a long incubation. They rely on cat owners and vets to offer possibly-affected cats for a post-mortem -- like the first case in Britain, when a 5-year-old Siamese cat dubbed Mad Max was referred to the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science in Bristol.

Max's owner reported he had a ``staggering gait'' and scientists said during examinations in 1990 the cat would lick frantically and chew with his head tilted to the right.

``We don't know (how widespread the disease is)... because no one is really looking for it at the moment, they come in by chance. The number is likely to be very low but the real figures are not known,'' said one scientist.

``It is the same disease as BSE but we don't know where it came from. We don't know if it actually comes from cattle to cats or whether the prime source has gone both to cattle and to cats.''

Some scientists say they believe domestic cats can get the disease from eating meat-based pet food, which may contain the same infected meat and bone meal that helped spread Mad Cow disease among cattle.

Britain banned the use of meat and bone meal in pet food in 1991, France did so this year, while the European Union ruled that pet food can be made from animals that are free of the disease and have had the higher-risk parts removed.

But the diagnosis of Mad Max, who unlike cattle was a meat-eater, began to undermine the former British government's standpoint that BSE was very unlikely to jump between species and could not therefore infect humans.

Government officials in the late 1980s repeatedly referred to human immunity from scrapie, a similar disease in sheep, and reassured the public that BSE was a remote hazard to health. But an experiment to inject brain material from the cat into mice showed that the agent was similar in both cases, meaning the cat had been infected with the BSE agent.

``The patterns of disease produced in mice injected with tissues... closely resembled those in the BSE transmissions, showing that the cats... had been infected with the BSE strain of agent,'' said Moira Bruce, who conducted the experiment.

``This was very important as it was the first direct evidence that a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy had spread accidentally between species.''

The truth was out: Mad Cow disease could be passed to humans. But now, with cats posing little risk to people, little research is being done into feline spongiform encephalopathy.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - India disputes FAO report on Mad Cow disease

by India Correspondent Seema Gupta

News Asia--Sunday 18 March 2001


Think of Mad Cow disease and you would probably associate it with Europe.

While this has been the case so far, certain reports suggest that the human form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE could possibly be brought to Asia, either through the import of cattle feed or even blood products from the United Kingdom.

No confirmed case of the disease has been reported yet but there are naturally some concerns and the authorities in various countries around the region are examining what can be done.

In India where the cow is regarded as a sacred animal, it seems next to impossible to imagine the Mad Cow disease.

More than 80 percent of India's population is Hindu and beef isn't as widely eaten as other meat.

Even the slaughter of cows is only permitted in two states.

Nevertheless beef is available and this usually means the meat from buffalos.

There isn't even any import of beef into the country.

What has been imported however is meat-and-bone meal from Europe which is used as animal feed and which is believed to be the main vector by which BSE is transmitted to cattle, and then in turn to humans who eat the infected meat and develop vCreutzfeldt-Jakob disease or vCJD, otherwise known as Mad Cow disease.

A recent report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation or FAO warned that India was one country that had imported this feed from Europe, implying that the disease could possibly spread to India this way.

But according to Indian authorities, this was not even the case at all.

Dr VK Taneja, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Indian Ministry of Agriculture, said: "The information that has been circulated by the FAO is not correct. India has not imported any bone or meat meal. It's not of concern to us in India because we do not feed bone and meat meal to ruminants - which is cattle.

"Secondly, we have not imported in the last 10 years, only a small amount of bone and meat meal from the US and France in 1997, 1998 and 1999, and exclusively for poultry. So there's no cause for concern that this can cause Mad Cow disease."

In addition, a strong social outcry would occur even if meat from bovines was ever used to feed cattle in India.

Cultural and religious sensitivities in India ensure that cattle are fed with agricultural by-products of vegetable origin.

One possible explanation for the FAO report is that the meat meal could have come to India enroute for another destination, and never actually got into the country.

But Indian authorities are not taking any chances.

The import of meat meal has been banned, and all animals with suspected neurological disorders are screened carefully for the disease.

So while it seems like a clean slate for the meat, other concerns have trickled in.

To date there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the Mad Cow disease can be transmitted through blood or even blood products.

Yet the United Kingdom no longer sources plasma locally and other countries have even stopped blood donations from people who have lived in the UK for longer than six months.

However a recent British media report revealed that the blood products from three British donors who developed the Mad Cow disease was in fact sold in 11 countries, one of which is India.

As far as the Indian authorities are concerned, so long as there is no hard evidence, there is no need to stop the foreign supply of these blood products like albumin, which are difficult to extract but are in demand in India.

J.V.R Prasada Rao, president of National Blood Transfusion Council, said: "Whether a blood product is something which can transmit this CJD from one donor to another, I think the scientific information is not there.

"It's not fully in position to say that CJD is something which can be transmitted through blood. The possibility may exist but it is not scientifically proved that CJD is transmitted through blood.

"So we have to look at the whole gamut of issues before banning it from any particular country. We have to look at it scientifically.

"And if we find that there is evidence of a link definitely we will not hesitate to ban it."

At the moment blood in India is screened for HIV, syphilis, malaria and Hepatitis B.

As a precautionary measure, a committee of experts will be set up soon to examine any possibility of the transmission of Mad Cow disease through blood transfusions.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Korean govt acts to dispel Mad Cow disease fears

by Korea correspondent Lim Yun Suk

News Asia--Sunday 18 March 2001


Fears over the Mad Cow disease have hit some parts of Asia in recent weeks.

In South Korea, there has been no reports of the disease but public fears have spread since the government acknowledged that some of its cattle were fed with food waste that included animal meat and bones.

Media reports that about 3,000 cattle were fed with such food waste sent jitters across the country and Koreans stay away from meat, hitting restaurants and supermarkets badly.

Koreans love to eat beef, with the famous Bulgogi dish a popular choice when eating out.

But in recent weeks, restaurants specialising in beef dishes have been empty.

A restaurant owner says business has dropped by more than 50 percent.

With customers staying away from meat for fear of the Mad Cow disease, the restaurants have no choice but to remove beef from their menus, at least for now.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has stepped in to say that a test had shown no evidence of Mad Cow disease in Korean cows.

Lee Sang Jin, deputy director of the Animal Health Division Livestock Bureau at Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said: "South Korea has no Mad Cow disease.

"And we import meat only from those countries like the US, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand where there are no reports of the Mad Cow disease."

The assurance appears to have found its mark.

A lady says she's buying Korean beef as the government has said the meat is free from contamination.

"I'm working in London and I hope Korea will be safer. Even in the UK I do eat meat. If you don't eat meat, then there is nothing to eat."

But faced with the domestic beef sales falling by nearly 10 percent since the report surfaced, the Korean government is taking steps to reverse that trend.

Lee Sang Jin said: "We will amend a Bill to prevent ranchers from feeding animal-based fodder.

"We will instruct them and keep a close watch. We are taking actions to reinforce this Bill to ensure that our country remains free of the Mad Cow disease."

With the government's firm action, restaurant and supermarket owners believe business will pick up, although they admit it might take a while.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Mad Cow disease seen in London cats

By Elizabeth Piper

MSN--Sunday 18 March 2001


Bovine ailment in felines difficult to detect

LONDON, March 17 - No one guessed that Major was suffering from a form of Mad Cow disease. The 12-year-old lion had lost the use of his back legs but that could have been due to the back injury he received in a tooth-and-claw fight with his half brother at another zoo. When a last-ditch attempt to cure his back trouble by a faith healer failed, the zoo keepers decided it was time Major was freed from his misery and they put him down. The autopsy results shocked everyone.

MAJOR HAD feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) - the cat form of Mad Cow disease which has infected nearly 180,000 cattle in Britain since it was first detected in a British herd in 1986.

"So poor old Major must have caught the disease at another zoo," said Mike Thomas, managing director at Newquay Zoo in southwest England.

"It was very, very difficult to say (whether he had the disease) because he was diagnosed with back damage and of course it has almost the same symptoms from a back-end point of view.... I mean he was lame in his back legs."

Thomas said Major must have caught the disease from eating the brains and spines of cattle, considered to be more at risk of being infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), better known as Mad Cow disease.

"I think everyone takes measures to stop it happening but sometimes you can't stop it happening," Thomas said. At Newquay Zoo, he said, "We don't feed brain and spinal column, nor ever have done... the lions are fed on beef and rabbits - whole rabbits."

NEARLY 100 'MAD CATS' IN BRITAIN

Major was only the second lion to get FSE in Britain, but joins a collection of 85 other cats - mainly domestic toms and tabbies - who have been diagnosed with the disease since 1990.

Three cheetahs, three pumas, three ocelot and two tigers have also developed the disease, which causes cats to become disoriented, stagger and find their surroundings alien and confusing, the British agriculture ministry said.

Scientists agree with Thomas that it is difficult to discover cases of FSE mainly because cat owners and zoo keepers are not looking for the disease.

"It wasn't something that was immediately obvious.... You can only tell if an animal has got it, or a human for that matter, by examining the brain," Thomas said, adding that cats do not pose the same threat to humans as cattle and are not routinely tested for the disease after they die. "The real problem is the food chain, in that if people eat infected beef then that passes it on. They are not going to eat a lion or a domestic cat."

'MAD MAX'

Scientists say it is difficult to calculate how many cats could be harboring the disease, which has a long incubation.

They rely on cat owners and vets to put forward possibly-affected cats for a post-mortem - like the first case in Britain when a nervy five-year-old Siamese cat, dubbed "Mad Max," was referred to the department of clinical veterinary science in Bristol, southern England.

Max's owner reported he had a "staggering gait" and scientists said during later examination in 1990 that the cat would frantically lick and chew with his head slightly tilted to the right.

After two months of tests, the cat found it hard to stand up and defecate.

"We don't know (how widespread the disease is)... because no one is really looking for it at the moment, they come in by chance. The number is likely to be very low, but the real figures are not known," said a scientist who declined to be named.

"It is the same disease as BSE. But we don't know where it came from.... We don't know if it actually comes from cattle to cats or whether the prime source has gone both to cattle and to cats."

Some scientists say they believe domestic cats can get the disease from eating meat-based pet food, which may contain the same infected meat and bone meal that helped spread Mad Cow disease among cattle.

Britain banned the use of meat and bone meal in pet food in 1991, France did the same earlier this year, while the European Union ruled that pet food can be made from animals which are free of the disease and have had the higher-risk parts removed.

But the diagnosis of "Mad Max," who unlike cattle was a meat-eater, began to undermine the former British government's standpoint that BSE was very unlikely to jump between species and could not therefore infect humans.

Government ministers in the late 1980s had repeatedly referred to human immunity from scrapie, a similar disease in sheep, and reassured the public that BSE was at worst a remote hazard to health.

But an experiment to inject brain material from the cat into mice identified that the agent was similar in both cases, showing that the cat had been infected with the BSE agent.

"The patterns of disease produced in mice injected with tissues...closely resembled those in the BSE transmissions, showing that the cats... had been infected with the BSE strain of agent," said Moira Bruce, who conducted the experiment.

"This was very important as it was the first direct evidence that a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) had spread accidentally between species."

The truth was out - Mad Cow disease could be passed to humans. But now, with cats posing little risk to people, little research is being done into feline spongiform encephalopathy.

Some cats may have the disease in Europe and in Britain, but no one knows.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - EU approves new Mad Cow plan

Asociated Press

Fox News--Sunday 18 March 2001


11:40 (AEDT) A EUROPEAN Union committee today approved an emergency plan aimed at reducing an oversupply of older cattle by destroying them or storing beef to combat the spread of Mad Cow disease.

The new plan will be used in conjunction with other measures aimed at reducing herd sizes across the EU, to cut supply and boost prices in a beef market where consumption is down 27 per cent.

The measures, which were debated at last month's EU farm minister's meeting, are expected to come into effect after the European Commission formally adopts them in a matter of days, EU officials said.

Under the new scheme, EU nations will have the option of keeping the carcasses of cattle older than 30 months in cold storage or destroying them.

If member nations chose to keep them in storage, the cattle must be tested to prove it is free of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, the brain-wasting ailment commonly known as Mad Cow disease. Many experts believe the illness can be transmitted to people who eat meat from infected animals.

In recent months, the EU has ordered all carcasses of cattle, including healthy ones, destroyed unless they are tested and declared Mad Cow free. It has also banned meat on the bone. Several member nations felt this was a waste and urged the EU to alter its policy.

The measures are estimated to cost 1.3 billion euros ($A2.45 billion) over several years.

Farmers are compensated for the destroyed meat. Some nations have even been destroying healthy meat to cut the surplus and push up prices.

Mad Cow disease was first diagnosed in Britain, where 177,500 cows have been infected since the outbreak was detected in the 1980s. Although the number of reported cases is lower elsewhere in the EU, widened testing recently has turned up cases in Germany, Italy and Spain.

The disease is believed to cause a brain-wasting illness in humans, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The human form has killed some 80 Europeans since the mid-1990s, mostly in Britain. ]">

18 Mar 01 - CJD - Suspected new case of Mad Cow disease in Italy

AFP

Merrill Lynch--Sunday 18 March 2001


Rome, March 18 (AFP) - Veterinary officials said Sunday they had detected a suspected new case of Mad Cow disease in Italy. If confirmed, it would be the seventh case in the country since authorities introduced tests for the brain-wasting illness at the start of the year.

The suspected carrier is a seven-year-old milk cow reared locally in the Marche region of central Italy, the officials said. Officials said an initial test for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow disease, in the animal was positive.

Tissue samples have been sent to experts in Turin for further analysis, and the results are expected during the week. The farm concerned had been placed under quarantine, the officials said. The sixth case of BSE in Italy was confirmed on Saturday in a four-year-old cow that had been imported from Germany in 1999 along with 23 others and reared in a farm in the northern Lombardy region.

Mad Cow disease began in cattle herds in Britain, from where it spread to continental Europe. More than 80 people, mostly in Britain, have died after contracting its human equivalent, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Italian authorities have so far reported no cases of vCJD. End


18 Mar 01 - CJD - China Bans Beef, Animal Feed Imports Over BSE Fears

Agence France Presse

Inside China--Sunday 18 March 2001


BEIJING, Mar 17, 2001 -- Agence France Presse() China has decided to ban all imports of beef and animal feed from countries affected by Mad Cow and other diseases, state media said Saturday.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the State Administration for Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine issued a joint circular Friday, asking for intensified supervision and control methods to ban direct or indirect import of cow products and animal feed from countries or regions hit by BSE, Xinhua reported.

Meat potentially infected with BSE, the so-called Mad Cow disease, was found in Britain in the 198Os and a spate of cases were found in continental European supermarkets late last year.

Many scientist believe it is spread by animals eating infected tissue from other animals in the form of meat-and-bone meal or other products.

The human form of the disease, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), is believed to be contracted by eating contaminated beef.

Other measures to be introduced in China include a rigid permit-granting system, hygiene examination procedures, and a strict classification of animal products, Xinhua added.

China started to ban the import of feed made from animal carcasses from European Union countries on January 1 this year. ((c) 2001 Agence France Presse)


18 Mar 01 - CJD - USDA to Seize Sick Vermont Sheep Before Appeals

By Kevin Kelley

BayArea.com--Sunday 18 March 2001


ORWELL, Vt. (Reuters) - The U.S. government notified the owners of one of two flocks of Vermont sheep suspected of carrying an ailment related to Mad Cow disease that the animals will be seized and slaughtered within the next three weeks, one of the farmers said on Friday.

The decision contradicts a March 6 pledge by a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman that the agency would wait for a federal appeals court to decide the matter. The first hearing in the appeal is set for April 10, in New York.

The USDA was not immediately available for comment.

``USDA has decided to seize your clients' flock sometime in the next three weeks. USDA will notify your clients the evening before the pickup,'' Paul Van De Graaf, the chief of the civil division of the Vermont U.S. Attorney, said in a letter to the lawyer of Larry and Linda Faillace, who own the flock.

The contents of the letter, received earlier this week, were made available to the media on Friday.

Their lawyer, John Buckley, said there was nothing he could do to stop the seizure, and in a letter to the U.S. attorney's office, wrote that the farmers will not resist the seizure.

Houghton Freeman, owner of the other flock has not been told when his animals will be seized but his lawyer said he expected notification soon.

If the seizure and slaughter goes through, it would bring an end to a bitter nine-month legal battle fought against a background of the spread in Europe of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow disease.

The recent outbreak in Britain and Europe of foot-and-mouth disease, has added to the intensity of the dispute, one of the farmers said on Friday.

``Definitely the whole foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is not helping,'' Linda Faillace told Reuters by telephone from her farm in East Warren, Vermont.

The USDA and the farmers have been fighting over whether the USDA has the right to destroy the sheep after finding four of the animals tested positive for scrapie, a brain disease distantly related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or Mad Cow disease.

The USDA wants to take the action as a precaution. The government once offered the farmers up to $4 million in compensation for the loss of the livestock and income, but now appears likely to pay far less, Faillace said.

``According to the USDA lawyer we've ticked off the USDA and we're going to have to fight for every penny we get and it could be up to a year before we see anything,'' she said.

Scientists believe BSE can be passed to humans through consumption of meat from infected animals. More than 80 people in Britain and Europe have died from the human form of Mad Cow disease, known as new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The Vermont farmers maintain the government's scrapie tests were improperly conducted. Besides sheep have never been found to have contracted BSE except when deliberately infected with it in laboratory tests, they note.

They also contend the USDA's attempt to destroy the animals is a public relations gesture to reassure Americans that the government is being vigilant against Mad Cow disease.

The sheep were imported from Belgium in 1996, the year before the United States closed its borders to all European meat imports to prevent the spread of Mad Cow disease. No U.S. livestock have been found infected with the disease, which destroys the animal's brain.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Funding group calls for research bids on diagnostic tests

By Tillie Harris

YAHOO--Sunday 18 March 2001


A UK funding group launched a call today for scientists interested in developing diagnostic test for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) such as BSE and variant CJD to submit research proposals.

The group, which includes the Medical Research Council, amongst others, has stressed a commitment to fund all high quality proposals for research in this area.

A spokesperson for the MRC said: "We don't ringfence money, so we can't provide an exact figure of the amount which is available. But we drove a similar initiative in 1996 and a total of about #8m was awarded to applicants. We really can't estimate how much will be given this time, suffice to say we are committed to finding funds for all good quality proposals."

Ideas and approaches from a broad spectrum will be welcomed, as applicants are encouraged to think 'creatively' about diagnoses that will benefit human and animal health.

The MRC is coordinating the call on behalf of all the funders, and proposals will be submitted to them in the first instance and then be forwarded to the most relevant of the group's member bodies for consideration.

Sir John Pattison, chairman of the joint funders group on TSEs said: "We have made excellent scientific progress in understanding this group of diseases, but much remains unknown. Reliable diagnostics are crucial to animal and human health.

"We need to try as many approaches as possible to develop a range of diagnostics that in turn, will make the prospect of developing effective treatments and suitable programmes of healthcare for patients and veterinary medicine for animals more of a reality".

As well as the MRC, the funding group includes the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency, and the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food.

Applications must be submitted by 23 April. Successful applicants will be invited to submit full proposals for peer review in the early summer. Funding decisions are expected from autumn 2001 onwards.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - European farming under threat

By the BBC's Rodney Smith

YAHOO--Sunday 18 March 2001


BSE, or Mad Cow disease, has spread across Europe, foot-and-mouth disease has hit Britain and is moving east. And all because of intensive farming, some argue.

But in the period immediately after World War Two, Europeans were starving.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), derided worldwide though it may be, has fed European consumers, and European farmers, for the last 50 years.

Changing it may be like trying to move the British Isles closer to France - but it will have to be done if European farming is going to avoid repeats of the horrors taking place now.

Germany is increasingly in the vanguard of this argument with Britain, an old enthusiast of CAP reform, a quiet supporter of the German position.

Meat consumption fall

But what of the short-term future for European food? With mass slaughters seemingly happening on all sides, will there be a short-term shortage?

Beef consumption is down 30-40% in France, Germany and Spain.

Consumption of lamb or mutton and pork is falling fast as fear of foot-and-mouth disease spreads. And huge shifts of demand in Germany and France mean it could get worse, says food industry analyst David Lang at Investec stockbrokers in London.

There is another, more insidious danger.

Grain production is also under threat, if less dramatically than meat.

The huge North American grain market, which produces a large proportion of wheat for bread world wide, uses genetically modified seed that is rejected by European consumers and not allowed to be planted in Europe.

Weather threat

So the European Union may start to rely more on its own wheat resources - just at a time when in Western Europe, the weather has joined the mad maelstrom of mischance that is convincing farmers that the powers that be have it in for them.

Britain took the brunt of the adverse weather at the end of last year and the start of this year but western France wasn't far behind.

The continuous and record-breaking rainfall of the pre-Christmas months has been calculated by the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) in London to have reduced the area of British arable land sown to seed by 15% to 20%.

British wheat consumption is about 12.9 million tonnes a year but this year's harvest will be lucky to hit that mark.

The effect, according to HGCA economist Gerald Mason, is that Britain may for the first time in 15 or 20 years not produce enough grain for its own consumption.

Not by much, but British farmers are used to producing an annual surplus of up to three million tonnes.

Volatile market

Mr Mason, a firm believer in the efficiency of the European farm produce market and its ability to meet deficits wherever they occur, thinks there will be little impact on consumers.

Others, such as Investec's David Lang, are not so sure. He warns that the grain markets can be notoriously volatile when faced with sudden and unexpected shifts of supply and demand.

He warns that the grain market could be a "tinderbox" if the British grain harvest fails to meet demand - with consequent effects on prices at market and, eventually, for consumers.

Britain may not be alone. France has been badly affected by weather as well, and is also likely to produce less grain than usual.

Dairy drought?

And Mr Lang points to another, so far unseen, danger in another area - dairy produce.

Although the European food industry is, as he puts it, awash with dairy produce, that could change, especially in the British and western France markets, if wet weather inhibits the growth of new grazing, especially during the important spring period.

European farming will have to change. As may the eating habits of European consumers.

This could be an interesting year for weight losers and slimmers


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Food safety checks 'under strain'

By BBC consumer affairs correspondent Nicola Carslaw

YAHOO--Sunday 18 March 2001


With the rush to import meat to fill our supermarket shelves, new concerns are being expressed about whether enough checks are in place to protect public health.

The enforcement of food safety measures is being put under immense strain, because officers who usually carry out the task are also having to police the regulations surrounding foot-and-mouth.

The Food Standards Agency has ordered trading standards and environmental health officers to be extra vigilant and check all meat imports thoroughly.

Inspectors in the Meat Hygiene Service have discovered spinal cord in several consignments of beef brought into England, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the last few weeks.

Under EU-wide BSE controls, it should have been removed in the abattoir, immediately after slaughter.

Spinal cord

The Food Standards Agency says that remnants of spinal cord have been found in six consignments from Germany; in two from the Netherlands, two from Spain and one in beef from the Irish Republic.

It condemned these breaches as totally unacceptable and sent a letter of protest to the European Commission, which in turn censured the German authorities.

Two slaughterhouses there have now had their licences to operate taken away.

Many of the discoveries were made at the cutting plant owned by Anglo Dutch Meats - or ADM, in Eastbourne, Sussex.

Its managing director, Nik Askaroff, says it shows how vigilance is paying off.

"The fact that our staff and the Meat Hygiene Service inspectors have found this spinal cord emphasises how checks at this end of the food chain are working," he said.

He defends the German meat producers, saying there is real bitterness about the fact that they are being treated as pariahs, when they honestly believe their meat is second to none in quality and safety.

However, he adds: "My concern is that there is less thorough checking going on elsewhere in the food chain - once the meat leaves my factory."

Meat imports rise

Since the foot-and-mouth outbreak, it has been calculated that imports of meat into the UK have risen tenfold.

Production at home stopped altogether when the disease first took hold.

But even though it has now re-started in so-called "safe" areas, it is still roughly half of what it should be.

All the supermarkets placed orders overseas - stepping up their demand for New Zealand lamb, Dutch and Danish pork and bacon and beef from as far afield as Australia, as well as from elsewhere in Europe.

Food manufacturers and the catering trade are also taking in even more imported meat than usual.

Dr Richard North used to be a meat inspector and now trains environmental health officers.

He knows what they are thinking and says many are despairing.

Overstretched resources

He says the system they are part of is cracking at the seams.

"If people realised how few checks really are going on, I think there would be a great deal more concern than there actually is," he said.

"The government has dumped the foot-and-mouth problem on already overstretched and under-resourced local authorities."

Tim Lang, professor of food policy at Thames Valley University, agrees.

But he says one good thing might emerge from the ashes of foot-and-mouth.

It is that we rich European nations come to the full realisation that enough is enough.

Mr Lang said: "If we want cheap and plentiful food supplied through free trade in Europe, the question has to be asked: Is it worth it if the downside is an increase in the risk of infected meat going on sale?"


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Intentia Becomes The First Vendor To Offer Origin Tracing For The Food

Publicity Material

YAHOO--Sunday 18 March 2001


Stockholm, Sweden - Intentia International AB (publ) (XSSE; INT B) becomes the world's first supplier of Enterprise Applications to offer an integrated system for origin tracing of food items.

Through its acquisition of 49 percent of the shares in the Norwegian software Development Company Scase A/S, Intentia expands its Movex e-collaboration solution to include Scase's products for origin tracing.

The integrated system will revolutionise food companies' ability to trace products through the entire product supply chain.

A better origin tracing system means an improved ability to quickly and securely trace food products that may be damaged or infected by disease.

Intentia's customers will be able to use the most modern IT technology to help them combat the spreading of diseases such as Mad Cow disease (BSE) and hoof-and-mouth disease.

"The new Movex functionality will enable our customers to trace individual pieces of meat all the way from meat displays in stores back through de-boning centres, slaughterhouses, transport, veterinarians and finally to the original farm or ranch," explains John Gledhill, Food & Beverage Industry Application Manager, Intentia.

Intentia is already a leading supplier of solutions for the food and beverage industry with a number of large customers in Sweden and throughout the world.

"We anticipate being able to strengthen our leading position in the food and beverage industry by this expansion of our integrated solution for e-collaboration," adds John Gledhill.

This integrated origin tracing functionality, offering vastly improved product tracing capabilities throughout the supply chain, is in line with the current EU directives on origin tracing.

"Consumers will be safer in that they will be able to see detailed information about where the meat comes from, not only the country of origin but also the individual farm or ranch," explains John Gledhill.

For Intentia's customers, the new integrated solution provides an easy way to trace individual packages with complete quality control.

For example, should the need arise to recall meat that has already been distributed, it will now be possible to trace the packages in question.

This functionality is not provided at the same level of detail by any other integrated software solution today.

Without this functionality it leaves individual companies vulnerable to large potential losses when the kind of hoof-and-mouth disease alarm that recently swept Europe sounds.

"Recalling meat that has already been delivered is a fact of life we will have to live with for a while.

More effective tracing is an important motivating factor in our offering this type of integrated solution to our customers.

It is very important to control the economic consequences for our customers to the greatest extent possible," concluded John Gledhill, Food & Beverage Industry Application Manager, Intentia R&D.

Scase has received a lot of media attention for its applications for origin tracing of food products.

With Intentia's acquisition of Scase, this functionality will be incorporated into Movex Food & Beverage and be further refined.

Scase will provide Intentia with a combination of depth, breadth and specialised know-how in applications for managing meat, among other products, that no other supplier of business systems can offer.

UNS For additional information, please contact Thomas Ahlerup Director Corporate Communications Intentia International AB Telephone: +46-8-5552 5766 Fax: +46-8-5552 5999 Cell phone: +46-708-545 666 e-mail: thomas.ahlerup@intentia.s About Scase A/S Scase is a Norwegian software company whose 12 employees focus on developing software for the food and beverage industry.

Scase has an annual turnover of NOK 16 million and customers in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Malta and Greece.

Visit Scase A/S at www.scase.com About Intentia International AB (publ) Over the past few years, Intentia International AB has concentrated on positioning itself to meet the demands it anticipated would arise from the new e-economy era.

Intentia has developed its Movex product from a traditional ERP system to a complete e-collaboration solution that can manage all the demands of the new economy.

Movex offers Intentia's customers the key to success, with its applications for customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain planning & execution (SCPE), partner relationship management (PRM), business performance management (BPM) and e-business.

Intentia is well-positioned to respond to market needs when the "e" (electronic) evolves into "c" (collaboration), working hard to satisfy customers through its organisation of more than 3,800 professionals serving in excess of 3,500 customers in over 40 countries around the world.

Intentia is a public company traded on the Stockholm Stock Exchange (XSSE) under the symbol INT B.

Visit Intentia's Web site at http://www.intentia.com.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - No 'Mad Cow' risk from diet supplements

By United Press International

Environmental News Network--Sunday 18 March 2001


Nutritional supplements containing animal products do not present any threat of "mad-cow" disease to U.S. consumers, the leading trade group representing the supplement industry said Friday.

"There is no correlation between dietary supplements and Mad Cow," said David Seckman, CEO of the National Nutritional Foods Association. He told United Press International that even so-called glandular products offer no risk of infection.

Nutritional supplements containing ground cow and pig glands, including the spleen and thyroid, are used by some people to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other joint conditions. But these products represent "less that one-half of one percent" of the industry's annual sales of $16 billion, he said. Others contain neurological tissue, but these are also carefully monitored to ensure their safety.

The concern about nutritional supplements and the risk of Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), a progressive and fatal degenerative brain condition that has been linked to Mad Cow disease or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), first arose at a recent meeting at the Food and Drug Administration, Seckman said.

"A doctor who was there told agency officials that he had been disturbed by the number of products containing animal organs when he visited a health food store," Seckman said in a telephone interview.

Although the FDA does not regulate most dietary supplements, its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition does monitor some products sold for human health.

"There really aren't that many of them, and those that are out there come from suppliers with protected herds. There hasn't been a single nutritional supplement product linked to the disease," said Seckman.

A spokeswoman for the FDA said that nutritional supplements contain such minute amounts of glandular products that they pose little risk.

Seckman also said that concerns about gelatin capsules are unfounded, because they come from the same suppliers that provide them to drug manufacturers and are therefore inspected closely for safety.

Gelatin is manufactured primarily from the hides of swine and the bones and hides of cattle. During processing, these source materials are exposed to extremely harsh conditions, including prolonged exposure to highly acid or alkaline solutions. Gelatin is used in a wide variety of consumer and medical products regulated by the FDA, ranging from candies and desserts to vaccines, drugs, medical devices, dietary supplements and cosmetics.

Since 1992, FDA has requested that manufacturers of FDA-regulated products not use bovine-derived materials from BSE countries. In 1994, on the basis of the scientific information available at that time, FDA stated that it did not object to the use, in the manufacture of pharmaceutical grade gelatin, of bovine-derived products from countries classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as having BSE in their cattle population.

But in 1996, following outbreaks of BSE among British cattle, scientists found a possible link between BSE and a new variant of CJD.

While it is not certain how BSE may be spread to humans, evidence indicates that humans may acquire the disease after consuming BSE-contaminated cattle products.

FDA issued an "import alert" in 1996 asking supplement manufacturers not to use gelatin products from BSE countries and more recently added bulk glandular materials, the FDA spokesman said. In 1997, after hearing the evidence, weighing newer scientific information and thoroughly discussing the issues, an FDA committee concluded that material from BSE countries should not be used in gelatin products.

"All of our capsules comply with these rules," said Steckman.

"BSE is not a new issue. It has been around for six years now and there have been around one hundred deaths, all but four of which have occurred in England. "Still, people question us all the time about the risk," he noted.

Another supplement, chondroitin, is made from the trachea of cows. Also used for collagen tissue support, less than five percent of chontroitin supplements contain trachea and these are either from domestic herds or from countries where there have been no cases of Mad Cow, he said and even most manufacturers are switching to other animal sources, he said.

Between 1989 and 2000, at least 1,642 cases of BSE have been identified among cattle in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

Neither BSE among cattle, nor the new human variant of CJD, have been found in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other partners in taking special precautionary steps to prevent BSE, commonly known as mad-cow disease, from entering the United States and posing a public health threat.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - How now, Mad Cow. How does your garden grow?

Jane Wooldridge

Miami Herald--Sunday 18 March 2001


Quite nicely, if you're Alain Passard, vaunted chef at the Michelin three-star restaurant L'Arpege in Paris, which has recently switched from such traditional dishes as duck, sweetbreads and rump steak to an all-vegetable cuisine, priced at $200 to $300 per person.

Despite the obvious jokes, Europe's food-safety issues are no laughing matter. Passard's change earlier this winter to a meatless menu was a response to so-called Mad Cow disease, the common name for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, which has killed more than 80 people in Europe, most in Great Britain. And though other chefs have publicly scoffed at the veggie menu, some of them, too, are replacing beef with lobster, caviar, foie gras and other ``safe'' foods.

``Some chefs are not giving any kind of beef,'' says Andre Cointreau, president of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking institute. ``Others say they have traceability, and they're not withdrawing beef but taking pride in offering quality.''

Nationwide, French beef consumption is down more than 40 percent, says Remi Marechaux, spokesman for the French Embassy in Washington. But on a recent visit to Paris, plenty of orders of steak-frites were delivered to tables in places from neighborhood bistros to such famed restaurants as L'Ami Louis. Indeed, the French food-safety agency has advised citizens that the riskiest parts are intestines and those from soft organs. It also maintains that no contaminated parts are being shipped to supermarkets.

From hoteliers to store clerks, the French seem to be denying the risks. ``If you eat just a little, that's OK, yes?'' asked Melanie, a clerk at the Anna Lowe boutique on the Rue Faubourg St. Honoré in Paris who asked that her last name not be used. ``Now they tell you you can't eat or drink anything, '' she sighed.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Campbell introduces Mad Cow legislation

By Margo MacFarland, Herald Washington Correspondent

Durango Herald--Sunday 18 March 2001


WASHINGTON - Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell is trying to enact legislation in Congress that would establish a federal task force designed to prevent the outbreak of Mad Cow disease, which has afflicted cattle herds in Europe, especially Great Britain.

"I share the growing fears of constituents about the potential devastating impact Mad Cow disease would have if it spreads to and within the United States," Campbell said on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday when he introduced the legislation, Senate Bill 534. "We cannot in good conscience take a chance that would allow an outbreak to occur in the U.S. which would destroy America's cattle industry and devastate consumers' confidence in our food supply."

The Colorado Republican also expressed concern over the growing threat of foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious virus that can affect cattle, sheep, deer and other cloven-footed animals. The disease has appeared in Britain, where close to 100,000 farm animals have been slaughtered or are awaiting slaughter in an effort to halt the spread of the disease. And France announced earlier this week that two of its cows had contracted the disease.

Mad Cow disease, a fatal neuro-degenerative disease affecting only cattle, was first recognized in Britain in the late 1980s.

Campbell's legislation, the Mad Cow Prevention Act of 2001, would establish a federal interagency task force chaired by the secretary of agriculture and would include representatives from the departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce, Treasury, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control.

The task force would then issue recommendations to Congress within 60 days.

In his statement on the Senate floor, Campbell cited a recent situation in Texas where fears over Mad Cow disease prompted the quarantine of cattle that may have eaten contaminated food.

Campbell's legislation follows a letter he sent last month to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman asking for a report on the U.S. government's response to Mad Cow disease.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Crisis Has Wide Ramifications in Industry

Holly Hubbard Preston

International Herald Tribune--Sunday 18 March 2001


When it comes to Mad Cow disease, formally known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, no cow is above suspicion. In the eyes of consumers around the globe, nor is any company whose products may contain even a smidgen of potentially BSE-tainted beef.

The direct impacts are limited, unless you are a rancher. But there is a wide net of scrutiny by international consumers, one that covers everyone from the cattle feeders, meatpackers and feed producers, to food processors, fast-food companies, grocery chains and restaurants.

McDonald's Corp. said this week that it expected its first-quarter earnings to be 29 cents or 30 cents a share, down from 33 cents a year earlier, in part because of falling sales on European concern about the beef. Its stock is down nearly 20 percent so far this year.

Its Belgium-based competitor Quick Restaurants SA, which has seen a 14 percent drop in its stock, is planning to reduce beef products from 70 percent of its sales to less than half by the end of next year. The Mad Cow scare comes as the chain, which had 426 restaurants at the end of last year, is planning to add 50 more in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary, Slovenia and Morocco.

On top of the Mad Cow concerns, consumer confidence in beef is likely to be shaken by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain, France and the United Arab Emirates, although humans are not thought to be at risk.

Even pharmaceutical and candy companies, which use gelatin made from animal by-products, are coming under the microscope.

"We are getting a lot of questions about our gelatin," acknowledged Christian Jegen, managing director of Haribo of America Inc., a subsidiary of Haribo GmbH, the maker of the hugely popular gummy candy called Gold Bear. The questions are irrelevant, said Mr. Jegen, since the gelatin that goes into Haribo's regular gummy candies comes from pigs. The company, contrary to published reports, has no plans to make Gold Bears gelatin-free. Haribo does have a new gelatin-free vegetarian gummy candy, but that product is generally only available in markets with hot climates where the candy can melt. It also sells a kosher gummy candy, which uses fish gelatin.

Gelatin products as carriers of Mad Cow? It might sound far-fetched, but in a worst-case scenario consumer concern could prove to be warranted.

Mad Cow disease attacks the central nervous system of cattle. Scientists such as Ralph Blanchfield, chairman of the Institute of Food Science Technology in Britain, readily admit they know little about the condition and how it is passed on to humans as what is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. So far, at least 89 human deaths in Britain and France have been attributed to the disease.

"I do not think there is a country in the world that can say with confidence that it is entirely free from getting BSE," said Mr. Blanchfield, noting that there were only six countries considered to be at extremely low risk of contacting the disease: Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Norway and Uruguay.

In December, the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations, said it believed countries outside Europe were at risk of contracting Mad Cow disease. The reason? About 500,000 tons of meat-and-bone meal produced by the European Union has been exported to places like Eastern Europe, Asia and the United States over the past 10 years.

What happens if global consumer confidence in beef products worsens and the disease spreads?

According to the European Union's Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection, as of November the prices for live cows had fallen on average 17 percent in the EU since 1986. Consumer demand for beef, even with the low prices, has slumped. France reported a 40 percent drop in demand at the end of last year, compared with October 2000, when the crisis hit the country.

Even though reported cases of Mad Cow disease have dropped sharply in Britain, customers there have been slow to come back. "I won't touch it," said Gill Warren, a Briton who stopped buying beef five years ago. Her child has never eaten it, and "friends and family know not to cook it if we come round."

"Worst-case for investors in beef and beef-related companies might be that the international demand curve throughout Europe declines further and stays down," said Len Teitelbaum, a managing director of Merrill Lynch Co. who has spent 33 years tracking the international food services industry. In that scenario, profit margins on beef would drop until supply fell into line with demand, he added. "The smaller suppliers won't be in the financial position to survive," he said.

According to John Rakestraw, chief executive officer of ContiBeef LLC, the U.S.-based cattle feeding division of ContiGroup Cos., in the past 30 days at least two of its major food-processing customers have asked for written guarantees that no meat-and-bone-meal feed was given to their cattle.

Tesco Ltd. of Britain, which operates grocery stores domestically, in Central Europe and in Asia, is pushing its beef suppliers to provide traceable evidence guaranteeing its cattle sources.

This heightened accountability does not come without a cost that can be felt throughout the beef supply chain.

Gavin Cowan, a founding partner of GP Feed Ltd., a commercial feed merchant based in Cheshire, England, noted that his company is "having to pay premiums to feed shippers for the traceability being requested by the end customers of supermarkets and grocers." GP Feed, which uses no animal remains in its feed compounds, now relies on costly vegetable protein, in particular organic soybean meal. "Margins are getting very tight," Mr. Cowan said. "'Soy is one of the most expensive inputs. You are going to pay a premium of about two or three British pounds extra for soy." Soy meal delivered in Britain now costs about £170 ($243), up from £110 a year and a half ago.

For more information: EUROPEAN UNION BSE FOOD SAFETY REPORT Web site: www.europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/bse/bse20_en.html


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Abbott Markets Tests For Mad Cow Disease

Tribune staff and wire reports

Chicago Tribune--Sunday 18 March 2001


Abbott Laboratories will market and distribute two diagnostic tests, developed and manufactured by Enfer Scientific Ltd. of Tipperary, Ireland, used to detect Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow disease, in cattle. Terms weren't disclosed. North Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories said it will market the tests, conducted on brain tissue and spinal cord samples from cattle, under the Enfer name.


18 Mar 01 - CJD - "Mad Cow" Scare Cuts Beef Demand in Cebu Market

Staff Reporter

YAHOO--Sunday 18 March 2001


CEBU CITY, March 16 Asia Pulse - Demand for beef in the Cebu market is dipping despite government assurances that the dreaded "Mad Cow" disease has not hit the local cattle industry. The Mad Cow scare in Europe has affected the sales of cattle raisers and meat vendors in Carbon market, one of the biggest public markets here.

Jaime Jose Escano, director of the Federation of Cattle Raisers Association of the Philippines [FCRAP], noted that sales has gone down to 70 percent.

The public is not about to take a risk, he said.

Patricia Caballes, a meat vendor in Carbon Market said the government information campaign is not effective.

Before the Mad Cow scare, she can easily sell five to eight heads of cattle a day. Today, they can hardly sell two to three heads of cattle a day.

Caballes added that their clients demand to see a certification that beef sold in the market is free from the Mad Cow disease.

The National Meat Inspection Commission [NMIC] is tasked to certify that meat is safe for human consumption.

Ronello Abila, chief of the National Veterinary Quarantine Service [NVQS], assured that after the Department of Agriculture [DA] imposed a ban on the importation of beef meat from Europe last November, no imported beef meat has entered the country.

Local cattle are not affected by the dreaded disease which attacks the brain in humans when contaminated meat is ingested. Effects of the disease in humans are said to manifest in 10 years.

To convince the public that local beef is safe, agricultural officials here led a ceremonial eating of roasted calf and hot "pochero" at the DA regional office.

The DA officials who jointed the meal were Caroline Benigno, task force chief of the foot and mouth disease, Abila, DA 7 Regional Executive Director Eduardo Lecciones Jr. and DA Regional Technical Director Jose Quitazol.

Lecciones said they want to show to the public that the scare is only a misconception.

But Nestor Alonzo, a member of Cebu Poultry and Livestock Association [CPLA] said the government failed to block the entry of the livestock and its by-products from Europe in 1980's when the Mad Cow disease was already reported in the Office International des Epizooties. [OIE].

Volumes of imported meat from Europe entered the country even before the government imposed a ban in November 2000, Abila said. The importation was made by meat processing companies, he added.

Abila said the Mad Cow disease had already been noted in 1987 in Europe. It was only in 1996 that the Philippine government imposed the first ban when it learned that the dreaded disease can be transmitted to human beings.

He added that in 1997 the ban was lifted.

Based on the OIE documents, the Mad Cow disease started in the United Kingdom in 1987


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Hundreds of medicines have yet to pass CJD safety standards

By Francis Elliott Westminster Editor

Scotland on Sunday--Sunday 18 March 2001


Ministers are preparing to ban hundreds of medicines - after drug companies failed to prove they carry no risk of infecting patients with new variant CJD.

The deadline for drug companies to prove their products are free from the human form of Mad Cow disease passed two weeks ago.

But Scotland on Sunday has learned that the government agency responsible had no information on "approximately 1,000" pharmaceutical products.

Despite the prospect of a ban, the government has refused to reveal the names of the drugs considered to pose a risk.

The drug companies involved are now breaking the law since European Union guidelines tightening medicine safety came into force at the beginning of this month.

Many drugs are made using animal material such as cattle serum. Pharmaceutical companies were warned as long ago as 1989 that they should not use serum from cattle that could have been infected by Mad Cow disease.

But there have been ongoing concerns that the guidelines have been widely flouted. The official BSE inquiry, led by Lord Phillips, voiced concern that the government had not done enough to make sure that the rules were being obeyed.

And ministers were deeply embarrassed last autumn when they were forced to withdraw an oral polio vaccine after it became clear that it had been developed using serum from cattle that had potentially been infected with BSE. Now hundreds more medicines could be withdrawn as drug companies are forced to admit that they cannot be sure that they are not contaminated.

Health officials said that all vaccines and inoculations - including the MMR jab - met the guidelines but they refused to name those that did not.

Ministers have demanded weekly updates on the situation and have ordered the Medicines Control Agency to carry out risk assessments on all those products that failed to provide evidence that they were BSE-free.

But patients' groups last night voiced their anger at both the delay and the secrecy surrounding moves to ensure that the drugs are safe. They are furious that ministers are refusing to say whether or not the companies responsible for suspect drugs will be prosecuted, or even to name them.

Frances Hall, of the Human BSE Foundation, said: "We keep being assured of all these 'belt and braces' measures, only to discover later that they haven't been properly applied."

Mrs Hall, whose son Peter died from vCJD, added: "The risk may be small but any amount of danger is too much if it's your family that's affected. It seems we are still playing Russian roulette."

A spokesman for the CJD Support Network said: "We find it deeply worrying that the drug companies have so far failed to provide this information. We are also very disappointed that the government has not put further pressure on the drug companies to provide it."

felliott@scotlandonsunday.com


18 Mar 01 - CJD - Meat Packers Request Certificates to Ensure BSE-Free Livestock

Staff Reporter

Meat and Poultry Online--Sunday 18 March 2001


3/16/2001 The American Meat Institute (AMI) Board of Directors has approved a new, voluntary certification initiative in which cattle marketers would be asked by their beef packing customers to certify that their livestock met all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements regarding the BSE feed ban. AMI has distributed a model certificate to its member companies, describing it as a "best business practice." The document also certifies that animal drugs were used legally on the livestock being sold.

The model certificate "responds to requests from many of our industry's customers," said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. "We want to reassure both our customers and consumers that the cattle we process into beef products meet all federal requirements, including their diets and medications." Boyle said the model certificate was developed in consultation with numerous meat and livestock organizations.

Concurrently, the animal feed industry and the rendering industry are working to launch their own certification programs. The groups are working with independent, private sector organizations to audit manufacturing facilities to ensure that they meet FDA requirements related to BSE prevention. For the feed industry, those requirements include the segregation of cattle and sheep byproducts from other livestock and poultry byproducts. For the rendering industry, proper labeling and documentation are required.

"These private sector certification initiatives for cattle, feed and rendered products do not replace FDA's own inspection programs," Boyle commented. "However, they do add an extra level of surveillance and assurance to our customers and consumers that the industries involved in cattle ranching and beef processing are in compliance with FDA regulations and continue to make every effort to reinforce the U.S. firewalls that have kept BSE out of this country."

The text of the AMI model certificate reads: The undersigned certifies that, to the best of his/her/its knowledge, none of the livestock described herein are adulterated within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (i.e., none of the cattle or other ruminants have been fed any feed containing protein derived from mammalian tissues not in compliance with 21 CFR 589.2000 and none of the livestock have an illegal level of drug residues.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North American. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education programs.SOURCE: American Meat Institute.