USDA, McDonald's suspend slaughterhouse buys
TRACIE CONE Published: Today
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - The federal government and McDonald's Corp. suspended purchases of meat Wednesday from a California slaughterhouse under investigation for animal cruelty and possible health issues.
The fast-food chain joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture in severing ties with Central Valley Meat Co.
The suspensions occurred after an animal welfare group's covert video showed cows that appeared to be sick or lame being beaten, kicked, shot and shocked in an attempt to get them to walk to slaughter the slaughterhouse.
"There are behaviors in the video which appear to be unacceptable and would not adhere to the standards we demand of our suppliers," McDonald's said in release.
Federal officials say nothing they have seen so far in the video shows meat from cows that may have been sick made it into the food supply, but interviews with employees were ongoing.
The video was shot in June and July by an undercover operative for the group Compassion Over Killing who worked at the plant and also gave a written statement to the USDA about events not on tape.
"We do know that workers were trying to make non-ambulatory cows not eligible for slaughter go to slaughter," said Erica Meier, executive director of the animal welfare organization. "We believe red flags are raised for sure with our video, but it's up to the USDA to decide."
It's against the law to slaughter a non-ambulatory animal for food out of concern that it could be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.
The Hanford slaughterhouse is in the same city where a dairy cow at a rendering plant was discovered in April to have mad cow disease.
Central Valley Meat Co. primarily slaughters dairy cows that have lost their value as milk producers.
The USDA bought 21 million pounds of beef from Central Valley Meat Co. in 2011 for the national school lunch and other federal food programs.
Records show the government made five large-scale purchases of ground and chunk beef, spending more than $50 million of the total $135 allocated by the government for such acquisitions that year.
USDA spokesman Justin DeJong said he did not know to which government food programs the beef was allocated. The meat generally goes to the national school lunch program and food distribution on Indian reservations, and is available for discount purchases by community food banks.
"The department works to ensure that product purchased for the federal feeding programs meets stringent food safety standards and that processors comply with humane handling regulations," the USDA said in a statement.
McDonald's also said it had suspended purchases of meat from the slaughterhouse. The company did not immediately say how much meat it had been buying. But a spokesman for McDonald's said the percentage of meat purchased from the slaughterhouse is in the single digits.
Regional fast-food chain In-N-Out Burger previously suspended purchases after learning of the allegations of inhumane treatment.
The New York Times reported that Costco Wholesale Corp. also suspended contracts. That company did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture acted quickly to shut down Central Valley Meat Co. of Hanford on Monday after the video documented the treatment of dairy cows.
The video appears to show workers bungling the slaughter of cows struggling to walk and even stand. Clips show workers kicking and shocking cows to get them to stand and walk to slaughter.
The video prompted the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to issue a statement.
"We firmly believe that those knowingly and willfully committing any abuse to animals should not be in the business - period," Dave Daley, a professor at California State University, Chico, said in the statement released by the marketing group. "The actions depicted in these videos are disgraceful and not representative of the cattle community."
Central Valley Meat Co. has referred all questions to a public relations firm that issued a statement saying Central Valley Meat is cooperating with investigators and developing a plan to remedy any potential violations of USDA guidelines.
"Based on our own investigation and 30 years of producing safe, high-quality US beef, we are confident these concerns pose no food safety issues," the statement said.
The video shows one man standing on the muzzle of a downed cow. Other footage depicts cows struggling after being repeatedly shot in the head with a pneumatic gun.
Federal regulations say slaughterhouses must be successful with a single shot.
Other clips show cattle with udders so swollen they are unable to keep their legs under them to walk, and workers trying to lift downed cattle using their tails.
Compassion Over Killing also provided the video to the district attorney's office in Kings County, where the plant is located. The office is following the federal investigation before deciding whether to file state cruelty charges.
The case has attracted the attention of Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and subject of a documentary about her life working with livestock behavior issues while she struggled with autism.
In a release distributed by the American Meat Institute, she said some video clips of cows twitching after being shot in the head with a pneumatic gun are normal reflexes, but she did note some problems.
"I did observe some overly aggressive and unacceptable use of electric prods with non-ambulatory cattle and in sensitive areas like the face," she wrote. "I would classify this as egregious animal abuse."
Tracie Cone can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/TConeAP
© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
>>>The USDA bought 21 million pounds of beef from Central Valley Meat Co. in 2011 for the national school lunch and other federal food programs.<<<
USDA Suspends Central Valley Meat for Humane Handling Violations Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
FSIS Press Office (202) 720-9113
WASHINGTON, August 21, 2012—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to take aggressive action to investigate and respond to disturbing evidence of inhumane treatment of cattle at Central Valley Meat in Hanford, Calif. Central Valley Meat was notified by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that the agency was immediately suspending the assignment of inspectors at the establishment on August 19, effectively halting slaughter operations at the establishment.
Within hours of being provided video taken by an animal welfare organization, the Department initiated an investigation. USDA has dispatched several teams of investigators to California and continues to gather information on the ground.
In terms of humane handling, FSIS found violations and suspended the mark of inspection. The teams will continue to examine the violations which have been documented in the video provided. In terms of food safety, the video footage provided to USDA does not show a "downer" animal entering the food supply. However, the Department is conducting a thorough investigation that encompasses food safety and will respond appropriately to its results.
"Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the food Americans feed their families," said Al Almanza, Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service. "We have reviewed the video and determined that, while some of the footage provided shows unacceptable treatment of cattle, it does not show anything that would compromise food safety. Therefore, we have not substantiated a food safety violation at this time. We are aggressively continuing to investigate the allegations."
USDA food safety regulations state that, if an animal is non-ambulatory disabled at any time prior to slaughter, it must be condemned promptly, humanely euthanized, and properly discarded so that it does not enter the food supply.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled, and also works to ensure industry's compliance with poultry good commercial practices and with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA), which requires that livestock be handled and slaughtered in a humane way. #
SEE VIDEO ;
> > > Ackerman says downed cattle are 50 times more likely to have mad cow disease (also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE) than ambulatory cattle that are suspected of having BSE. Of the 20 confirmed cases of mad cow disease in North America since 1993, at least 16 have involved downer cattle, he said. < < <
don’t forget the children...
PLEASE be aware, for 4 years, the USDA fed our children all across the Nation (including TEXAS) dead stock downer cows, the most high risk cattle for BSE aka mad cow disease and other dangerous pathogens.
who will watch our children for CJD for the next 5+ decades ???
WAS your child exposed to mad cow disease via the NSLP ???
SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM FROM DOWNER CATTLE UPDATE
DID YOUR CHILD CONSUME SOME OF THESE DEAD STOCK DOWNER COWS, THE MOST HIGH RISK FOR MAD COW DISEASE ???
you can check and see here ;
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Seven main threats for the future linked to prions
The TSE road map defining the evolution of European policy for protection against prion diseases is based on a certain numbers of hypotheses some of which may turn out to be erroneous. In particular, a form of BSE (called atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), recently identified by systematic testing in aged cattle without clinical signs, may be the origin of classical BSE and thus potentially constitute a reservoir, which may be impossible to eradicate if a sporadic origin is confirmed. ***Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. These atypical BSE cases constitute an unforeseen first threat that could sharply modify the European approach to prion diseases.
EFSA Journal 2011 The European Response to BSE: A Success Story
This is an interesting editorial about the Mad Cow Disease debacle, and it's ramifications that will continue to play out for decades to come ;
Monday, October 10, 2011
EFSA Journal 2011 The European Response to BSE: A Success Story
EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently delivered a scientific opinion on any possible epidemiological or molecular association between TSEs in animals and humans (EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) and ECDC, 2011). This opinion confirmed Classical BSE prions as the only TSE agents demonstrated to be zoonotic so far but the possibility that a small proportion of human cases so far classified as "sporadic" CJD are of zoonotic origin could not be excluded. Moreover, transmission experiments to non-human primates suggest that some TSE agents in addition to Classical BSE prions in cattle (namely L-type Atypical BSE, Classical BSE in sheep, transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) and chronic wasting disease (CWD) agents) might have zoonotic potential.
see follow-up here about North America BSE Mad Cow TSE prion risk factors, and the ever emerging strains of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy in many species here in the USA, including humans ;
From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr. [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2006 1:09 PM To: FSIS RegulationsComments
Subject: [Docket No. FSIS-2006-0011] FSIS Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Page 1 of 98 8/3/2006
Greetings FSIS, I would kindly like to comment on the following ;
Terry S. Singeltary
From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr. [email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 6:17 PM
Subject: [Docket No. 03-025IFA] FSIS Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk Materials for Human Food and Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle
I would kindly like to submit the following to [Docket No. 03-025IFA] FSIS Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk Materials for Human Food and Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Transmissibility of BSE-L and Cattle-Adapted TME Prion Strain to Cynomolgus Macaque
"BSE-L in North America may have existed for decades"
Over the next 8-10 weeks, approximately 40% of all the adult mink on the farm died from TME.
The rancher was a ''dead stock'' feeder using mostly (>95%) downer or dead dairy cattle...
When L-type BSE was inoculated into ovine transgenic mice and Syrian hamster the resulting molecular fingerprint had changed, either in the first or a subsequent passage, from L-type into C-type BSE. In addition, non-human primates are specifically susceptible for atypical BSE as demonstrated by an approximately 50% shortened incubation time for L-type BSE as compared to C-type. Considering the current scientific information available, it cannot be assumed that these different BSE types pose the same human health risks as C-type BSE or that these risks are mitigated by the same protective measures.
This study will contribute to a correct definition of specified risk material (SRM) in atypical BSE. The incumbent of this position will develop new and transfer existing, ultra-sensitive methods for the detection of atypical BSE in tissue of experimentally infected cattle.
2011 Monday, September 26, 2011
L-BSE BASE prion and atypical sporadic CJD
Saturday, March 5, 2011
MAD COW ATYPICAL CJD PRION TSE CASES WITH CLASSIFICATIONS PENDING ON THE RISE IN NORTH AMERICA
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Could we face the return of CJD? Experts fear it may lie dormant in thousands
Monday, August 13, 2012
Summary results of the second national survey of abnormal prion prevalence in archived appendix specimens August 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Blood products, collected from a donor who was at risk for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ( vCJD) USA JUNE, JULY, AUGUST 2012
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Can Mortality Data Provide Reliable Indicators for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance? A Study in France from 2000 to 2008 Vol. 37, No. 3-4, 2011
Conclusions:These findings raise doubt about the possibility of a reliable CJD surveillance only based on mortality data.
Response to Public Comments
Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Update, October 31, 2005
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) held a public meeting on July 25, 2006 in Washington, D.C. to present findings from the Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Update, October 31, 2005 (report and model located on the FSIS website: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Risk_Assessments/index.asp). Comments on technical aspects of the risk assessment were then submitted to FSIS. Comments were received from Food and Water Watch, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), Farm Sanctuary, R-CALF USA, Linda A Detwiler, and Terry S. Singeltary. This document provides itemized replies to the public comments received on the 2005 updated Harvard BSE risk assessment. Please bear the following points in mind:
Suppressed peer review of Harvard study October 31, 2002.
October 31, 2002 Review of the Evaluation of the Potential for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the United States Conducted by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health and Center for Computational Epidemiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Tuskegee University Final Report Prepared for U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service Office of Public Health and Science Prepared by RTI Health, Social, and Economics Research Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 RTI Project Number 07182.024
Sunday, February 14, 2010
[Docket No. FSIS-2006-0011] FSIS Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Monday, January 2, 2012
EFSA Minutes of the 6th Meeting of the EFSA Scientific Network on BSE-TSE Brussels, 29-30 November 2011
UPDATE CALIFORNIA JULY 2012 ATYPICAL L-TYPE BASE BSE MAD COW
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Are USDA assurances on mad cow case 'gross oversimplification'?
What irks many scientists is the USDA’s April 25 statement that the rare disease is “not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.”
The USDA’s conclusion is a “gross oversimplification,” said Dr. Paul Brown, one of the world’s experts on this type of disease who retired recently from the National Institutes of Health. "(The agency) has no foundation on which to base that statement.”
“We can’t say it’s not feed related,” agreed Dr. Linda Detwiler, an official with the USDA during the Clinton Administration now at Mississippi State.
In the May 1 email to me, USDA’s Cole backed off a bit. “No one knows the origins of atypical cases of BSE,” she said
The argument about feed is critical because if feed is the cause, not a spontaneous mutation, the California cow could be part of a larger outbreak.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Final Feed Investigation Summary - California BSE Case - July 2012
SUMMARY REPORT CALIFORNIA BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY CASE INVESTIGATION JULY 2012
Summary Report BSE 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Update from APHIS Regarding Release of the Final Report on the BSE Epidemiological Investigation
in the url that follows, I have posted
SRM breaches first, as late as 2011.
MAD COW FEED BAN BREACHES AND TONNAGES OF MAD COW FEED IN COMMERCE up until 2007, when they ceased posting them.
MAD COW SURVEILLANCE BREACHES.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Update from APHIS Regarding a Detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States Friday May 18, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
MEATINGPLACE.COM WAVES MAGIC WAND AND EXPECTS THE USDA MAD COW FOLLIES BSE TO BE GONE
Thursday, June 14, 2012
R-CALF USA Calls USDA Dishonest and Corrupt; Submits Fourth Request for Extension
R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America
Friday, May 25, 2012
R-CALF USDA’s New BSE Rule Eliminates Important Protections Needed to Prevent BSE Spread
Monday, June 18, 2012
R-CALF Submits Incomplete Comments Under Protest in Bizarre Rulemaking “Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Importation of Bovines and Bovine Products”
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Behavioural and Psychiatric Features of the Human Prion Diseases: Experience in 368 Prospectively Studied Patients
Monday, August 06, 2012
Atypical neuropathological sCJD-MM phenotype with abundant white matter Kuru-type plaques sparing the cerebellar cortex
Monday, July 23, 2012
The National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center July 2012
Terry S. Singeltary SR. P.O. Box 42 Bacliff, Texas USA 77518 firstname.lastname@example.org