MEAT SUPPLY SAFETY IS SUBJECT OF MEETING BETWEEN SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND CONCERNED CONSUMER GROUPS USDA Policies Regarding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy May Endanger Food Supply
July 16, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business NewsWashington, D.C.-Secretary Mike Johanns met with representatives of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation (CJD), The Consumer Federation of America, The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Director of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (NPDPSC) to discuss the USDA present policies regarding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or “Mad Cow” Disease.
BSE is suspected of crossing the species barrier and causing variant CJD (vCJD), a 100% fatal condition causing brain deterioration in both animals and humans.
The group representatives presented the Secretary with a letter signed by some of the leading prion disease scientists and consumer agencies concerned with BSE testing and animal tracking as they affect the American food supply. The letter contained a list of three requests which, according to Dr. Pierluigi Gambetti, one of the worlds leading experts on prion diseases and Director of the NPDPSC, would help to reduce and perhaps eliminate the risks of vCJD transmission. The requests are as follows:
1. That the USDA initiate a voluntary USDA validated BSE testing program
with immediate reporting of all positive or ambiguous results.
2. That the USDA a) test all cattle of any age showing signs of central nervous
system disease b) continue an active surveillance program by testing all
cattle 30 months or older and c) test a random sampling of healthy animals
20 to 30 months old.
3) That a USDA mandatory animal tracking system be put in place
“By implementing these requests Secretary Johanns will be providing assurances that the health of the American public is never placed at risk over commercial interests”, stated Florence Kranitz, president of the CJD Foundation.
“There are serious human health dangers with the current standards and beliefs on the part of the USDA. We must never repeat the tragic mistakes of the United Kingdom” she further stated.
The group representatives meeting with Secretary Johanns look forward to further discussions with the Secretary and with USDA officials to discuss implementation of these measures.