Updated Harvard BSE risk analysis released
July 26, 2006
Yesterday, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) held a briefing about the updated BSE risk assessment (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Risk_Assessments/index.asp) it commissioned from the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. A Reuters article about the news leads with the report finding that “The U.S. government virtually eliminated the threat of mad cow disease to consumers by requiring the removal of brains, spinal cords and other high risk items from older cattle” (http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060725/3/2nm0y.html). Representatives from the Consumer advocacy groups Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Consumers Union (CU) were quoted in the Reuters story. Caroline Smith DeWaal from CSPI said the government hasn’t been as proactive as it could be while CU’s Michael Hansen claimed the report was designed to find what the government wanted it to.
Harvard conducted its initial BSE Risk Assessment in 2001 and then updated it in 2003. This time, FSIS asked the Harvard risk modeling experts to gauge the effectiveness of new safeguards implemented since December 2003 and determine the need for further controls. Even assuming a much greater rate of BSE incidence than the authors say is likely and imperfect feed ban compliance, the report finds the food safety measures enacted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture all reduce potential human exposure to BSE infectivity.
Although the Authors detail the risk reduction achieved by individual safeguard measures – removing downer cattle from the human food supply and removing specified risk materials (SRMs) – they also remind that these are reductions relative to what already is a small risk. Harvard also looked at the additional feed ban controls proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Review Team recommendations. The authors say banning ruminant blood in ruminant feed and dedicated production lines would have little effect on disease spread. Instead, the report finds that removing SRMs from dead stock prior to rendering and banning all animal-derived protein from cattle feed would be most effective in reducing the already low risk of BSE spreading in the U.S. cattle herd.
Harvard has always attributed its findings to the strong safeguard measures the United States started implementing early on. The United States was the first country in the world to institute a feed ban before any BSE cases were found. In addition, the U.S. started its active BSE surveillance program in 1990. Since then, the United States has tested nearly 1 million cattle, particularly older cattle that are at greater risk for the disease, and found only two cases. As a result of industry and government actions beginning in 1989 and, now quantified in the Harvard report, BSE risk in the United States is very low resulting in the full protection of public and animal health.
BLACK INK -- HIGH TECH FITS MARKETING, TOO
Recently my family bought a camper. I was on the phone describing it to my mom, as she asked, You mean, there's a wall right there? The bed folds down how?
BEEF CATTLE SHORT COURSE HELD AUGUST 1-3
After two years of historic high cattle prices, a record 1,900 producers attending the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course in College Station learned more about the current decline in prices and maintaining profitability despite declining profit margins.
HUNTIN' DAYLIGHT -- THE FUTURE OF CATTLE FUTURES
It is almost certain that finished cattle have put in their summer lows as prices have found support, explained Andrew P. Griffith, agricultural economist at the University of Tennessee.
IT'S THE PITTS -- 10 PLACES NOT TO FIND A COWBOY
If you want to catch a glimpse of a real cowboy here are ten places NOT to look.
SOUND MARKETING PROGRAM IS CRITICAL FOR SUCCESS
A sound marketing program is an integral part of any cattle production operation. Too many producers engage in cattle production without ever establishing a well thought out marketing and sales system.
ETHEREDGE ELECTED LIVESTOCK MARKETING ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
Jerry Etheredge, Montgomery, Ala., was elected president of the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA). In this role, Etheredge will complete a two-year term leading the nation's largest livestock marketing trade association that represents more than 800 local livestock auction markets and allied businesses.
PRECONDITIONING VITAL PART OF CALF HEALTH PROGRAM
If you have sold a calf recently, I don't have to tell you that calf prices have dropped significantly from 2015. Last year, you could sell about anything and get good money for it; but now, you have to have a good calf to bring the best price. In the right market, preconditioned calves still bring the most money, and there is a good return on healthy calves. Besides a health premium, farmers also sell a heavier calf.
CONSUMER TRENDS HEADLINE BIF CONFERENCE
The prosperity of this entire industry lies with the consumer. Ag economist Ted Schroeder made that statement during the recent Beef Improvement Federation meetings in Manhattan, Kan., June 15-17, but it summed up the theme of the opening session.
WINNER NAMED IN LMA AUCTIONEER CHAMPIONSHIP
Andy White, Ashland, Ohio, proved his world-class talent as a livestock auctioneer at the 53rd anniversary of Livestock Marketing Association's (LMA) World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC). Paris Stockyards in Paris, Ky. hosted the contest on Saturday, June 18.
TAKE STEPS TO MANAGE EFFECTS OF SUMMER HEAT
As we approach the heat of the summer months, many producers are battling the heat and humidity that is an integral part of life in the south. Summer brings with it rising temperatures and typically decreasing animal performance.
GENETRUST@CAVENDER'S NECHES RIVER RANCH SALE HELD
Green grass, blue skies and good cattle greeted buyers and bidders alike at the beautiful Neches River Ranch west of Jacksonville, Texas on April 23, 2016 for the annual spring GENETRUST Registered and Commercial Brangus Female Sale hosted by Cavender Ranches.
IT'S THE PITTS -- HUH?
In the May 30 edition of the Auction Exchange there was an ad celebrating the Midwest Auctioneer Roundup contest in Shipshewana, Indiana. There were pictures of the winners, contestants and one precious little three or four year old girl with her hands covering her ears.
DEVELOPING REPLACEMENTS FROM HERD TAKES DEDICATION
Maintenance and development of a quality purebred cow herd requires selection of proper genetics and an ongoing input of new breeding females. One of the most important questions the producer must ask is: do I buy my replacements or do I develop them from within my own herd?
HUNTIN' DAYLIGHT -- COST, COST, COST
At the risk of sounding like the proverbial busted record, while revenue matters to the fortunes of cow-calf operations, cost matters more.
CRIMSON CLASSIC SALE AVERAGES $4,015
The Crimson Classic Santa Gertrudis Sale was held April 30, 2016 in Cullman, Ala.
These are a few of the
topics being discussed on our Forum.
Just click on the topic to read it. Why not join the discussion?