Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The following little statistic says a lot: from PHXnews.com
    Mad cow disease: The US tests 0.00055 percent of slaughtered cattle for mod cow disease; the Europeans test 25 percent. The Japanese test 100 percent

Combined with this AP article , I don't feel any better about the current news about BSE in the food supply.
    Dr. Kenneth Petersen of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said no additional inspections had been ordered and meat from cows that were too sick or injured to stand or walk unassisted would continue to be allowed to be sold for human consumption, provided there was no evidence of neurological problems.
    However, Petersen said, "The department is looking at what additional testing we need to do." Under consideration are increased testing and expansion of a ban on animal feed, officials said.
After losing 90% plus of the worldwide market, the lack of urgency is absolutely amazing.
Given this relatively old 2002 Guardian article about the presence of prions in mice muscle tissue, of course in an experimental setting, I don't feel comforted by the following statement in the very same AP news release cited above:
    Matt Baun, a USDA spokesman, said about 100 callers, mostly from Oregon and Washington, had called to say they had consumed recalled meat and were worried.
    Baun said they were being told the meat was safe since it was muscle meat and not affected.
I'm also wondering about the recall of secondary products.
Another illusion down the drain. Still, I'd like to focus on what can be done, such as contacting the House and Senate reps. I'm also trying to get as much info as possible. After the holidays, I'm sure we'll see even more articles on BSE. I have questions about dairy products (milk, cheese, etc.) as well as marshmallows and candy. I did see kosher marshmallows made from fish gelatin at a trendy health foods store. Vegan products are looking good all of a sudden.
Update: Banning of downer cows now is official. However, still no testing for BSE?:
    Veneman acknowledged that banning downer animals from slaughter means they won't be tested for the presence of mad cow disease. She said officials are looking for other ways to test those at-risk animals but added that doesn't necessarily mean on-the-farm testing.
Why is there still no increased testing for BSE?