Document Directory

05 Feb 01 - CJD - CJD link to exported blood
04 Feb 01 - CJD - CJD link to exported feed



05 Feb 01 - CJD - CJD link to exported blood

James Meikle and Alex Bellos in Rio de Janeiro

Guardian- Monday 5 February 2001


CJD link to blood Britain sold abroad

Blood products donated by three people who were later struck down with the human form of BSE have been sold to 11 countries , amid mounting concern that Britain could soon be blamed for exporting the fatal human condition as well as the cattle disease.

Thousands of patients worldwide, and an unknown number of haemophiliacs in Britain, might have received treatments with the products between 1996 and last year. The risk of infection - which health department officials insist is only theoretical - has now been closed off by restricting blood sources to the US.

But advisers fear some hospital trusts are still taking unjustifiable gambles by allowing old surgical instruments to be sent abroad to countries with shortages of equipment. One source said Britain should shut off such supplies and behave "like a village with the black death".

Cattle in scores of countries are already thought to have been exposed to the risk of BSE through exports of animal feed between 1988 and 1996. Last night Malcolm Tibbert, chairman of the Human BSE Foundation which represents the families of victims, said:"Lessons of the past have not been taken on board. It is bad enough we have vCJD in this country, and it is clear BSE was exported, but this would take it to another level."

It was now more than 12 years since concerns about spreading disease through blood or vaccine were raised, he added.

The number of vCJD victims in Britain could now have reached 94. Thirteen have been blood donors, and their blood has been used in transfusions for 23 people as well as in other products. The government is considering changing advice that doctors should not normally inform patients exposed to a theoretical risk of contamination because there is no test, no cure and no treatment.

The Irish authorities announced just before Christmas that polio vaccine administered in 1998-99 had included albumin from a British vCJD victim who had given blood in both 1996 and 1997. Babies and pre-school children received most of the 83,500 doses administered. The Irish government was informed by manufacturer Evans/Medeva.

Brazil received nearly 45,000 vials of albumin, used to restore and maintain blood volume in patients, but a senior official of the country's national agency for medical surveillance said she had never received any formal notification of problems.

There has been no response from the Brazilian company that sold the product on behalf on Bio Products Laboratory, part of the NHS's blood service, which sent products to Dubai, India, Turkey, Brunei, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Singapore and Russia.

Immunoglobulin, which helps replace antibodies, and factor VIII, a clotting agent, were also exported. The blood service said it was impossible to say how many patients might be involved or treatments administered. One patient might receive a number of treatments from the same batch, and some batches were replaced in 1998-99 after the first two "risky" donors were identified. Some batches were discarded by hospitals and all had now passed three-year expiry dates.

Such plasma-derived products were made up from a large number of individual donations, a typical starting pool involving 24,000. "There is no scientific evidence to suggest that vCJD can be transmitted through plasma or plasma-related products, nor through blood donations in general," a spokesman said.

BPL had informed appropriate regulatory bodies abroad that vCJD patients had donated blood. It had also written to wholesalers in each country and had confirmation they had told their relevant ministries. "We have tried our very best," said a spokesman. Since 1998 most plasma used here has come from the US.

Concerns over donations of equipment were raised recently when it was discovered that an endoscope, used for examining internal organs, just sent to India might have been used on a vCJD patient. The patient was found subsequently not to have had vCJD.

The Department of Health said guidelines suggested such sales abroad should not take place. But individual trusts might choose to help hospitals in other countries.

Where it went:

Ireland polio vaccine 83,500 doses

Brazil albumin 44,864 vials, immunoglobulin 80 vials

Dubai albumin 2,400 vials

India albumin 953 vials

Turkey immunoglobulin 840 vials

Brunei albumin 400 vials

Egypt albumin 144 vials

Morocco albumin 100 vials

Oman immunoglobulin 100 vials

Russia factor VIII 23 vials

Singapore immunoglobulin three vials


05 Feb 01 - CJD - beef Seized In Breaches Of BSE Controls

FSA

Food Standards Agency - Monday 5 February 2001


2001/0086

Friday 2nd February 2001

beef Seized In Breaches Of BSE Controls

The Food Standards Agency is investigating two consignments of beef in Northern Ireland and Eastbourne in unrelated breaches of BSE controls.

Agency officials in Northern Ireland are today examining part of a consignment of fore and hind quarters of beef from the Republic of Ireland, which appears to contain spinal cord or residual spinal cord.

In Eastbourne, imported German beef was found to contain one hindquarter with spinal cord marked as fit for human consumption. The breach came to light yesterday (1st February) in one of 217 hindquarters imported into the UK through Dover. The consignment was exported from Germany by Fleisch-Versand Heinz Gausepohl from Bakum. Accompanying documentation stated that the beef was from animals under 30 months old.

The discovery was made at a meat cutting plant in Eastbourne, Sussex - the same plant which, on Monday this week, received a German hindquarter containing two inches of spinal cord. These two consignments were from different sources in Germany.

The Agency instituted 100% inspection of all imported German beef carcasses at licenced plants on Monday (29th January).

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The decision to inspect all imported German beef carcasses is a temporary, risk-based measure which applies only to German imports.

2. UK imports of bovine carcass meat from Germany between September 1999 and August 2000 totalled 1,337 tonnes (excluding offal).

3. The UK's domestic Over Thirty Month rule, introduced in 1996, applies to imported beef as well as home-produced beef. It means that meat from cattle over the age of 30 months is prohibited from entering the human food chain (with the exception of cattle registered under the beef Assurance Scheme, and meat imports from 14 countries which are either BSE-free or at very low risk of BSE.

BREACHES OF BSE CONTROLS

DATE OF DISCOVERY PLACE OF DISCOVERY SOURCE

17th January 2001 Newry, County Down Landkreis Gustrow, Germany

17th January 2001 Newry, County Down Lubbecke, Germany

29th January 2001 Eastbourne, Sussex Oldenburg, Germany

1st February 2001 Eastbourne, Sussex Bakum, Germany

2nd February 2001 Northern Ireland Republic of Ireland

[ENDS]


05 Feb 01 - CJD - Monsanto beanfeast as BSE crisis bites

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor

Independent- Monday 5 February 2001


It is an ill wind, as they say. For the BSE crisis sweeping through Europe is transforming the hitherto gloomy prospects for Monsanto, the controversial GM giant.

The Europe-wide ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal to animals is leading to a huge increase in imported GM soya to take its place. The beleaguered company's share price is soaring, and analysts who once shunned its stock are advising investors to buy.

The ban on feeding animals to each other, imposed at the beginning of this year, has left farmers across Europe scrambling to find alternatives. Fish meal is also banned for cattle and other ruminants, because of fears that it may be contaminated by meat-and-bone meal. This leaves soya, and imports of the beans are expected to jump by about 3.5 million tons this year.

Virtually all of this will be genetically modified, says the UK Agricultural Trade Supply Association, because almost all unmodified soya has been bought up to meet demand following campaigns by environmental groups.

Prices of GM soya have jumped, and the future of Monsanto has been transformed. Its share price, which fell during the past two years when the stock market was booming, has leapt by 50 per cent over the past three-and-a-half months.

Eight of the ten leading analysts of its stock are advising investors to buy. The most bullish include Deutsche Bank, which 18 months ago advised selling, saying that GMO stock would be "perceived as a pariah" and that GM soya could become an "earnings nightmare" for Monsanto.


05 Feb 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Scare Lingers in S. Korea

Associated Press

Las Vegas Sun- Monday 5 February 2001


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Officials on Monday moved quickly to calm public fears about Mad Cow disease after announcing that 275 cattle were fed with leftover food that included animal meat and bones.

The government planned to test the cattle, but an official at the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry insisted there was no chance the animals had been infected, since the meat was from South Korea - which has had no reported cases of Mad Cow disease.

"Our country has been free of the Mad Cow disease, so simply feeding leftover food does not cause the disease," said Lee Sang-joon.

Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, is believed to spread by recycling meat and bone meal from infected animals back into cattle feed. Humans who eat infected meat are feared at risk of getting an equally fatal variant of the brain-wasting disease.

The ministry said 275 cattle had been fed leftover food from local restaurants which included meat and bones for more than a year starting in 1999.

Seoul's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper had reported in its Monday edition that around 300 cattle had been fed meat and it quoted experts saying such cattle should be quarantined or slaughtered as a preventive measure.

South Korea's government has obligated all traders importing animal feed and canned food stuffs to South Korea to attach a certificate guaranteeing that their product does not include any cow parts that came from European nations. South Korea currently bans importing cow-related products from 30 European nations, including the 15 European Union members.

South Koreans has been wary of Mad Cow disease after reports said last week that a 30-year-old man was suspected of suffering from the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Government doctors said that they found no evidence that the man suffered from it, but they said they must conduct further tests to be absolutely sure. The patient's family was refusing such tests, however.

Mad Cow disease was first detected in Britain in the late 1980s. A growing number of cases have been reported in European nations.

Since the mid-1990s, about 80 Europeans, most of them Britons, have died of the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, possibly after eating infected beef.


05 Feb 01 - CJD - A Mad Cow chronology



Cincinatti Now- Monday 5 February 2001


St. Louis Post-Dispatch

- - November 1986: First confirmed case of Mad Cow disease is reported in the United Kingdom.

- July 18, 1988: United Kingdom bans meat and bone meal from ruminant, or cud-chewing, animals as an ingredient in cattle feed.

- July 21, 1989: U.S. Department of Agriculture bans the importation of ruminant animals from countries with confirmed cases of Mad Cow disease.

- November 1989: USDA enacts emergency ban on the importation of ruminant products from countries with confirmed cases of Mad Cow disease.

- January 1993: Peak of Mad Cow disease in United Kingdom, with 1,000 new cases being reported each week.

- March 20, 1996: British government announces possible link between Mad Cow disease and 10 cases of a human variant of the disease.

- June-October 1997: U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans the use of ruminants and ruminant byproducts in feed for cattle.

- Dec. 12, 1997: USDA bans the import of all live ruminant animals and ruminant products from all of Europe.

- Dec. 7, 2000: USDA bans import of all animal protein products from Europe.

- Jan. 30, 2001: FDA confirms that more than 1,200 cattle in Texas could have eaten tainted feed made by Purina Mills Inc., the nation's largest maker of animal feed. The feed contained ruminant parts. The company says it will no longer use ruminant parts in any of its feed.

Source: National Cattlemen's beef Association and Cattlemen's beef Board


05 Feb 01 - CJD - Supplements Raise Mad Cow Concerns

By Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

NorthJersey.com- Monday 5 February 2001


WASHINGTON (AP) - Dr. Scott Norton was browsing through herbal supplements when he spotted bottles containing not just plants but some unexpected animal parts: brains, testicles, tracheas and glands from cows and other animals .

The Maryland physician sounded an alarm: How can Americans be sure those supplements, some imported from Europe, are made of tissue free from Mad Cow disease?

Norton's complaint has government scientists scrambling to investigate a possible hole in the nation's safety net against Mad Cow disease and its cousin that destroys human brains.

Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, has never been found in this country. Nor has the human ``new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease'' that people in Britain, France and Ireland caught apparently from eating BSE-infected beef. The government has taken steps to guard against BSE spreading here, such as banning the importation of European beef imports and the use of even domestic cow remains in U.S. cattle feed.

But critics are pointing to some loopholes far removed from beef: Just what dietary supplements or bulk ingredients containing cow brain or nerve tissue might be slipping from Europe through U.S. ports?

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration quietly cracked down on some vaccine manufacturers after discovering they improperly imported certain European animal-derived ingredients. Supplements are far less closely regulated, and the FDA inspects less than 1 percent of all imports under its jurisdiction.

``It would not be difficult for a manufacturer of a dietary supplement to obtain a cow brain in Britain, crush it up, dry it up, and then if they wished get it into this country,'' contends Dr. Peter Lurie, a physician and consumer advocate who is one of the FDA's independent scientific advisers on BSE.

As for FDA catching such imports, ``if they find anything, it's good luck.''

Adds Dr. Paul Brown, the FDA advisers' chairman and a BSE expert at the National Institutes of Health: ``The worry is not that we're getting all kinds of cow brain from Mad Cows into this country. The worry is that we could, without knowing it,'' because the FDA lacks resources or authority to strongly police supplements.

Nor are imports the only loophole worry. Animals other than cows get similar brain diseases, including ``chronic wasting disease'' that afflicts deer and elk in certain Western states and scrapie in sheep.

Yet Norton discovered supplement labels that don't reveal which animal the tissue came from, or the country of origin. Some don't even clearly label animal tissue, merely listing ``orchis,'' for example, as an ingredient few laymen would recognize means testicles.

But of most concern are spinal cord and brain tissue, including glands found in the brain. Brown reads from one supplement label that promised half a gram of imported raw cow brain.

FDA officials contend the issue isn't a huge concern. They note the majority of supplements are made from plants, not animals.

They also insist bovine-containing supplements mostly are made from safe U.S. cattle, citing an FDA prohibition on certain cow-derived imported ingredients - although they couldn't say how well inspectors enforced that import policy.

Still, the agency recently wrote supplement makers that it ``strongly recommends'' they take ``whatever steps are necessary'' to ensure products don't contain ingredients of concern.

``Our radar is on alert. We're actively reviewing'' the issue, said FDA supplement chief Christine Lewis, promising to make public her office's ultimate findings. So far, she said, ``we have minimal evidence there's a problem.''

The industry's Council for Responsible Nutrition also calls the worry exaggerated, saying gland-containing supplements account for less than 1 percent of sales. Officials are trying to determine how much is imported and plan to meet soon with FDA.

Meanwhile, what's a concerned consumer to think? The FDA's Robert Moore suggests calling supplement makers to ask their source of animal tissue. ``Just as if they're buying a car they need to be active participants in buying these things.''

Lurie is more blunt: ``I'm not taking any brain extracts, not a chance.''

EDITOR'S NOTE - Lauran Neergaard covers health and medical issues for The Associated Press in Washington.


05 Feb 01 - CJD - Companies Race to Develop Better Mad Cow Test

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

NorthJersey.com- Monday 5 February 2001


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As Mad Cow disease spreads from Britain and threatens the European cattle industry, scaring meat-eaters who fear they may catch the brain-wasting illness from eating beef, several companies are working to develop an easier test for the disease.

The only surefire way now to test for Mad Cow disease, known officially as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), is to check an animal's brain after it has been killed.

The same goes for the human version of the disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and the new human strain, variant CJD (vCJD), caused by eating infected beef.

``Everyone is racing to get a blood test,'' Sandy Stewart, a vice president at Paradigm Genetics Inc., one company hoping to market a test, said in a recent telephone interview.

``It's a big issue. It was the same with HIV.''

And although vCJD has been detected in fewer than 90 people -- most in Britain and three in France -- a test could guide doctors who suspect a patient has the incurable illness.

``Unfortunately, at present the only way to diagnose Mad Cow disease in cattle or the human form of the disease... is after the symptoms have developed and the disease is entering its late stages,'' Dr. Robert Petersen, chief scientific adviser at Prion Developmental Laboratories, Inc., one of the companies hoping to develop a test, said in a statement.

``By then it's usually too late to ensure that infected meat or beef products have not entered the human food supply,'' Petersen, a pathologist at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, added.

``There is still no treatment for prion diseases, including BSE and vCJD, but a reliable and sensitive diagnostic would permit the testing not only of cattle, but also of human blood products and tissues before they are used in medical procedures.''

MAD COW CAUSE NOT EASY TO TEST FOR

But BSE is not caused by something easy to test for, such as bacteria. It is not even caused by a virus, which is somewhat easier to test using immune proteins called antibodies or by looking for its genetic material.

BSE, CJD and related diseases such as scrapie are caused by prions, nerve system proteins that are normally benign but which can take on a misshapen form that can cause holes to form in the brain.

Nonetheless, a few companies are forging ahead to develop tests that might find the prions in the blood or in an easily reached part of the body such as the back of the throat.

Privately owned German pharmaceuticals firm Boehringer Ingelheim said in December it had applied for a global patent for a blood test to detect BSE in living cattle.

The company has not detailed just what the test looks for, but says its animal health subsidiary Vetmedica GmbH had developed the test, which it hopes will be available later this year in Europe.

German biotech company GeneScan Europe AG, said earlier it hoped to test its assay for Mad Cow disease in January.

Paradigm, based in San Francisco, made a pact with Prionics AG, a private Swiss firm, to use Prionics' ``proprietary antibodies'' that can find rogue prions.

IDEXX Laboratories Inc. of Westbrook, Maine, and Caprion Pharmaceuticals of Canada said they were working to develop a blood test but declined to identify the ``novel agents'' that recognize the prion protein.

At least one company has been formed specifically to find a test for the disease. Dr. Robert Gallo, who helped discover the HIV virus that causes AIDS, has helped set up Prion Developmental Laboratories, Inc. to find a BSE test.

Working with BioLabs, Inc., the researchers hope to come up with a test that can be used on cattle at the slaughterhouse, and then later perhaps human blood.

In November, Swiss scientists reported discovery of a blood protein that attaches to the rogue prions.



04 Feb 01 - CJD - British company could have exported Mad Cow disease across the world

Staff Reporter

Sunday Times- Sunday 4 February 2001


UK CUSTOMS FEED EXPORT FIGURES

 
Country 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Abu Dhabi               1  
Australia                 0
Austria           12 1   24
Bangladesh               1  
Belgium 274 1,605 1,131 740 13 1 42 24 309
Br Ind Oc Terr         105   645    
Brazil                  
Brunei             20    
Bulgaria               22  
Burma               15  
Canada           30 22 31 42
Canary Islands         11        
Cayman Islands                 86
Chile                  
China               108 237
Colombia         21        
Curucao   1              
Cyprus           230 0 6  
Czech Republic               2  
Denmark   60 34 248 180        
Egypt                  
Falkland Islands                 1
Faroe Islands               14 162
Finland         21 10 29   23
France 7,222 15,674 1,148 20 94   156 802 455
Germany 559 578 14 5 5 5 0 23 0
Ghana 16     6          
Gibralter     5            
Greece             101 148  
Haiti           108      
Hong Kong             237 3  
Hungary       48 133 246 30 498 367
Iceland       48 133 246 30 498 367
Indonesia       2,020 14,047 20,339 14,573 8,508 6,904
Iran     20         0 0
Irish Republic 2,555 900 234 485 232 279 356 400 1,745
Israel 92 2,718 3,677 9,816 7,265 4,008 1,486 945 447
Italy 38 89 130 128 139 1,785 456 883 566
Japan     132 62 43 31 64 0 1
Jordan         50 231 212 107  
Kenya   342 100       1   381
Lebanon 60 80     175 99      
Liberia   3              
Liechtenstein                  
Lithuania                  
Malawi         21        
Malaysia     19       20 0  
Malta 299 220 267 182 119 58 40 43 23
Mayotte       11          
Morocco                 525
Namibia                  
Netherlands 1,826 6,099 7,380 1,089 814 156 1,223 3,445 2,130
Nigeria   100         2    
Norway       11 37 144 5 3 7
Pakistan               43  
Papua New Guinea                  
Philippines         145 105 733 482 553
Pitcairn                  
Poland             55 122  
Portugal 80     6         44
Romania               466  
Russia               453 2,646
Saudi Arabia 5 3,462 357         80  
Sierra Leone           280 129 2  
Singapore       801         687
South Africa 5 50       0      
South Korea     1 220 1,010 103   20  
Spain         18   10 36 202
Sri Lanka 121 20   693 1,242 1,417      
Sweden 76   652 6   64 6    
Switzerland     0         218 0
Taiwan   200 1,143 2,023 280 87   42 823
Tajikistan                  
Tanzania                 0
Thailand     1,574 6,239 4,408 2,157 1,688 1,184 1,309
Togo         10        
Tunisia                  
Turkey       380     6    
U.S. Oceania             43    
U.S. Virgin Is.                  
U.S.A.   20             0
Vietnam                  
Lesotho                  
Sharjah etc.                  
Grand Total 13,228 32,220 17,998 25,259 30,615 32,005 22,387 19,179 20,698

A British company could have exported Mad Cow disease across the world. Whitehall documents reveal that as many as 70 countries received protein potentially contaminated with BSE that may then have been fed to their cattle.

The protein for animal feed was exported despite the fact that it had been banned for use with sheep and cattle in Britain in 1988, when it was identified by the government as the most likely cause of BSE.

The United Nations has now warned that all countries that imported the protein, in the form of meat and bone meal, are at risk of harbouring BSE - the most likely cause of vCJD in humans.

The main British producer of potentially contaminated meat and bone meal (MBM) was Prosper de Mulder, Britain's largest rendering company, which processes by-products such as offal and carcasses unfit for human consumption. Anthony de Mulder, who runs the business, with a turnover of more than 120m a year, has a family fortune of 70m, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

The Doncaster-based company was the main exporter of MBM after it was banned for use in cattle and sheep feed in July 1988. It remained legal to export it for use in pig and poultry feed.

At first, it was shipped largely to western Europe but, when European Union members began to ban imports in 1990 amid concerns about the spread of BSE, the firm switched exports to countries outside the EU.

Figures obtained from customs show that more than 200,000 tons of pig and poultry feed, including MBM, were exported to 70 countries between 1988 and 1996, when its worldwide export from Britain was finally banned by the EU because of the BSE threat.

The figures do not specify how much of this feed was MBM, but Prosper de Mulder estimates that it would have been up to half. Research has shown that infected material the size of just one peppercorn could transmit BSE to a cow.

The main importers outside Europe include Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.

From the analysis of the exports, Andrew Speedy, a senior UN officer, warned that the Middle East, eastern Europe and north Africa have the highest risk of harbouring Mad Cow disease. A statement from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation urged all countries that have imported cattle or MBM from western Europe, especially Britain, to be concerned about the risk of BSE, and vCJD.

The latest development could prompt compensation claims from the countries affected. Already, in France, lawyers for two of the three victims who have died from vCJD are bringing a legal action accusing the British government and EU officials of poisoning and manslaughter. Britain exported 15,000 tons of MBM to France between 1988 and 1990.

Official figures suggest 1,200 cattle have been infected with BSE in France though it may be as high as 7,300 because of the failure of farmers to report cases.

Germany has also reported a sharp rise in BSE, forcing the mass slaughter of 400,000 cattle in a bid to restore public confidence in the beef market. Italy has also reported its first case of BSE in the past month.

The growing crisis has led to the re-importing of meat potentially infected with BSE to Britain. banned spinal material has been found in imported beef from Germany and Ireland.

This weekend Britain's Food Standards Agency asked the EU to take urgent action to ensure no further breaches.

Britain's exporting of MBM up to 1996 was allowed despite warnings from the government's chief medical officer that it would be "short-sighted" and would leave Britain open to criticism that it was introducing BSE into other countries' food chains.

He was overruled, however, by agriculture ministry advisers who said that any attempt to ban exports would be challenged in the courts by Britain's animal feed suppliers.

Paul Foxcroft, the sales and marketing director for Prosper de Mulder, admitted the firm was the main MBM exporter, and insisted that the countries were aware it was suitable only for use in pig and poultry food. Inspectors only later discovered cattle feed could be cross-contaminated with pig and poultry feed, he said.

However, he conceded it was "quite possible" that MBM ex-ported by his firm was ultimately responsible for cases of BSE worldwide.

"Twenty-twenty hindsight is a wonderful thing," said Foxcroft. "In 1988, nobody had any idea of the seriousness of BSE."

- Britain will have to pay up to 300m to the EU to fund the slaughter, storage and incineration of what could be as many as 8m cows across the Continent, at a cost of 6 billion.