Click on text below to see the vid

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Sunday, November 30, 2008

USDA Recalls "Blimpie" Steaks in Five States; Possible Listeriosis

Nov. 29, 2008

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service has recalled 3.5-ounce, individually wrapped packages of Blimpie fully-cooked seasoned beef shaved steaks, thinly sliced with onions.

The products are distributed in five states, including Illinois. The ready-to-eat frozen beef sandwich portions may be contaminated with a bacteria that could cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness and nausea in healthy people and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems.

The frozen beef portions were produced Nov. 14, 17, 18 and 20, and their labels are marked with 'EST. 2727' as well as printed Julian dates of '3198,' '3228' or '3238.'

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Customer Relations Manager Deborah Schoeller at (781) 948-1585, or call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (889) 674-6854.

Scientists Develop New "Anchor" Tool in Study of BSE

ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2008) — Chemists at ETH Zurich and the Technical University of Munich provide prion researchers with a new tool to elucidate the role played by specific anchor molecules. These complicated anchor compounds are suspected of promoting infections with BSE or Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.

Several years ago mad cow disease was the number one topic in the media. Discussion of this disease, which is caused by prion proteins, went quiet some time ago but the case is far from being closed. Just this September, scientists reported a new form of BSE, namely the disease known as BASE. Although this has been known since 2003, researchers discovered only recently that the prion causing BASE can infect primates and possibly humans, with the disease that progresses even faster than BSE.

Infectious process still not understood

Some secrets of prion diseases remain hidden. For example, it is still unclear why the prion, a protein with a relatively simple structure, suddenly changes its configuration and thus causes illness in the host organism, e.g. a cow, sheep or human being.

The researchers suspected the so-called glycosylphosphatidylinositol molecules, abbreviated GPI that are bound to prion proteins. GPIs consist of sugar and fatty acids and anchor prions in the cell surface. This anchoring of prions by GPIs may be responsible for the infection before the prion changes its configuration from harmless to harmful, and makes additional prions fold to cause illness.

A construct that could not be isolated

However, to date the isolation of these complicated anchored prions in their entirety from natural systems was unsuccessful, and researchers had to limit themselves to studying the structure, function, stability and folding of the unusual pathogens without their anchor. In turn that means that the exact function of the GPI anchor could not be determined directly, and “naked” proteins are unable to penetrate cells to start an infection.

This gap has now been filled by the German-Swiss research team led by Peter Seeberger, ETH Zurich Professor for Organic Chemistry, and Christian Becker, Professor at the Protein Chemistry Laboratory of the Technical University of Munich. They have been the first to artificially replicate the molecule complex’s complicated structure in the laboratory. Seeberger’s group synthesised the GPI anchor and Becker’s group the prion. The two substances were then joined together to form the complete entity. Seeberger stresses that “The synthesis of the GPI anchor is a milestone for chemistry. The artificial production of such complicated anchored molecules has, up until now, been unsuccessful.”

A tool supplied

Initial tests show the researchers that they have created the “right” thing. The artificial prion and its GPI can anchor themselves into membranes. This breakthrough means that prion researchers can now at last investigate the role of the GPI anchor and its appended prion in more detail to discover whether the GPI really does have an effect on the folding of the prion and its resulting pathogenic properties. According to ETH Zurich Professor Seeberger: “That will be a task for the prion researchers led by Professor Adriano Aguzzi at the Zurich University Hospital, that received important tools in form of the synthetic prion. “

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Organic Consumers Harassed by Police

Organic Consumers and Companies Harassed by Drug Agents and Police

When Canadian citizens Nadine Artemis and Ron Obadia took a family vacation, it ended with them being led through Toronto's airport in handcuffs, locked up and separated from their baby.

Police told them they could be facing years in prison for exporting narcotics.

Two and a half pounds of material found in their carry-on bag had tested positive for hashish. But they didn't have drugs. They had chocolate. So far, the couple's legal bills have topped $20,000.

The couple was caught up in what civil libertarians say is a growing problem -- the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on illegal drug charges.

The kits, which are used by most every police department in the U.S., and by federal agents in Customs at the nation’s borders, use powerful acids that react with the substance in a plastic pouch. If the liquid turns a certain color, it is a considered a positive result.

A positive result generally leads to an arrest.

But a number of legal products and plants test positive:

chocolate for hashish
rosemary for marijuana
natural soaps for the "date-rape drug" GHB
With the growth of organic and natural foods and products, experts say arrests are likely to increase.

Organic Consumers Association November 1, 2008

Tyson Accused of Mislabeling Chicken, Sues USDA

Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat processor and the second largest chicken producer in the U.S., has admitted that it injects its chickens with antibiotics before they hatch and then labels them as raised without antibiotics.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has told Tyson to stop using the antibiotic-free label, but the company has sued for the right to keep using it.

Poultry farmers regularly treat chickens and other birds with antibiotics. But scientists have become increasingly concerned that the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture may accelerate the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

After Tyson began labeling its chicken antibiotic-free, the USDA warned the company that such labels were not truthful, because Tyson regularly treats its birds' feed with bacteria-killing ionophores. Tyson argued that ionophores are antimicrobials rather than antibiotics, and are not used on human patients. Tyson suggested a compromise which was eventually accepted by the USDA -- they would use a label reading "raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans."

Tyson's competitors: Perdue Farms Inc., Sanderson Farms Inc. and Foster Farms sued, and in May 2008, a federal judge ruled in their favor and told Tyson to stop using the label. Not long after, USDA inspectors discovered that in addition to using ionophores, Tyson was regularly injecting its chicken eggs with gentamicin, an antibiotic that has been used for more than 30 years.

The agency told Tyson that based on the new discovery, it would no longer consider the antibiotic-free label "truthful and accurate." Tyson objected again, claiming that because the antibiotics are injected before the chickens hatched, the birds can truthfully be said to be "raised without antibiotics." Tyson has filed a lawsuit against the USDA, claiming that the agency had improperly changed the definition of "raised without antibiotics" to include the treatment of eggs.

Natural News November 9, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

The HORRORS of Equine Transport to Slaughter

Click on title above to see info aquired from the USDA via Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, release to Animal Angels; BE WARNED, this report contains some very graphic pics

USDA Fines Sugarcreek Auction House of Cruelty $162,800!!

Complaint Filed March, 2008 by the USDA;

Good news but USDA should have by all rights shut this place down.
down. This is in no way the first time they have been cited. In previous complaints, thislivestock auction house of cruelty actually lost his dealers licence
for a year. Wouldnt you say its time to close this house of horrors
down permanently? Write to the Judicial Officer in charge of this
case and tell him what you think;

Finally some justice, although after reading through the document
there is so much more that this man has done and we, as well have
others, have witnessed these acts of cruelty. Anyone who has been to
Sugarcreek knows this just
skims the surface. This is such a horrific kill auction.
Eyewitnesses, rescues and individuals have been using their voice for
years to try and convey the horrific conditions that the horses,
yearlings and foals that have been sent to slaughter endure from the
time they enter the auction to the
time they arrive at the slaughterhouses. This is even before they are
inhumanely slaughtered. THEY DO send pregnant mares, THEY DO send
cripple horses, THEY DO mix Stallions with mares and young babies,
THEY DO send underage horses,
THEY DO switch tags. For years the killbuyers have not abided by the
laws that this country has put in place, they do not abide by the
laws that all of us must follow. Finally this has come to light and
action has been taken. This could not be a better example of why the
Bill H.R. 6598 MUST be passed! Here is an article from Animals9
Angels who have been doing investigative work to put an end to this
cruel and inhumane treatment. This article is
very graphic and one aspect to remember is that this is BEFORE they
are slaughtered this is how they arrived.

The horrors of transport:

Leroy Baker d/b/a Sugarcreek Livestock Auction has been fined
$162,800 for failure to comply with the Commercial Transportation of
Equines for Slaughter Act.

Click title above to see USDA Complaint;

According to witnesses, Baker has been sending cripple and hurt
horses to slaughter. He has lied to many people including me
regarding horses that he stated would be put down and instead he
would wait for all to be gone and then load the horses
and ship them to slaughter. Here is the story of Sham.

This is just one example of the inhumane treatment that goes on
at kill auctions. We named this horse Sham. He had no business being
at this auction or traveling to Mexico/Canada. He was lying down in
the pen and being stepped on by the other horses and cows, lying in
manure. We spoke to Leroy Baker, the auction house owner, who said
that the horse would be put down at
the end of the day. Mr. Baker thought we had left for the day, but we
came back, only to find him moving this horse with a Backhoe around
the cow's pen .
THE HORSE WAS STILL ALIVE. At that time we asked Mr. Baker if we
could please take ownership of this horse. It was obvious their
intentions were not to kill him but to put
him on the truck to Mexico. We paid him and immediately took
action. Sham was not only hurt but he was also dehydrated and
colicing. We worked on Sham for two days, enough to get him stable
enough to transfer to the hospital where he was humanely euthanized,
Sham had a fractured pelvis, can you imagine this
horse traveling 10009s of miles to slaughter. There are not State
vets that attend this auction, there are not qualified DVM9s that
attend this auction and there are not any humane officers that attend
this auction that are insuring the laws are followed. Equines that
have horrible injuries such as a broken pelvis, fractured bones,
broken back and broken legs travel thousands
of miles to Canada and Mexico. This is an illegal practice.
For years we have been arguing that the horses that go to
slaughter are not old & infirm they are good quality horses.
Less that 5% of the horses that go to slaughter are old & infirm. It
is ILLEGAL to ship horses that are crippled and unable to travel. It
is also illegal to violently hurt mutilate horses, such as Stallions
who should be segregated into submission so that they will travel in
crammed tractor-trailers.
This act MUSTcome to an end once and for all. It is time that
everyone stands up in support of H.R. 6598 and we no longer allow
this cruel and inhumane treatment. While horse slaughter plants were
active in our country they were not following the
legal humane guidelines and this is evident in the closing of
these plants.
Now horses are being shipped to Canada or Mexico and still suffer
cruel and inhumane treatment not only at the slaughterhouses but also
at the kill auctions and during the transportation. The Triumph
Project ­Victoria McCullough of the
Davis-McCullough Foundation founded the Triumph Project as an
awareness campaign to enlighten the world through unified efforts,
both in the United States as well as abroad, of the betrayal of our
equine ally.
Throughout history, horses have served us by escorting us to battle,
tilling our fields, drawing our carriages, and enriching our lives as
our companions and friends.

Pure Thoughts Inc. - is an all-volunteer 501c3 non-profit
organization dedicated to saving the lives of horses, yearlings and
foals that were intended to go to slaughter for human consumption.
These horses would have been brutally tortured and slaughtered. Pure
Thoughts Inc. Horse & Foal Rescue
also rescues horses from starvation, abuse and neglect, any horse in
need. To date, over 1400 innocent equines have been saved and we will
continue to fight for the horses. We cannot do this alone...we need
your help!!
Please help us and others save these beautiful animals and please
remember in your thoughts the ones we were unable to reach.
Jennifer Swanson

Goodbye & Good Riddence to BUSHite Regime, Demand a Change of Attitude @ USDA

Of all the animals in the United States facing cruelty and exploitation, those raised and slaughtered for food make up the vast majority. One of the most significant impacts President Elect Barack Obama can make for farm animals as he transitions to be the leader of our country, lies in who he chooses as the next Secretary of Agriculture.

In addition to our new president, Election Day also saw passage of California's Proposition 2 granting hens used in egg production, calves raised for veal, and pregnant sows used for breeding basic freedoms. The Obama Administration has the opportunity to advance more humane agricultural policies nationwide.

The next Secretary of Agriculture needs to support a new American diet, one filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and other plant foods grown by sustainable methods and available to all, rather than continue down the path of harmful industrial animal agriculture and government subsidies to the wealthy meat and dairy industries.

Please urge President Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of Agriculture who will bring needed change to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our broken food system. Tell the Obama Administration your vision of a government where farm animal welfare matters.

Thank you,

Gene Baur, president and co-founder
Farm Sanctuary

P.S. Read more about this topic on my blog.

Here also is a comment we sent to Prez-Elect Obama at his Change.Gov site; You can too!
Dear Prez Elect Obama,

As you may already know, millions of Americans are concerned with
animal welfare. There are many important issues that are being or
need to be considered by our congress, such as factory farming
cruelty, equine cruelty slaughter, and illegal transportation issues,
dog fighting and pet over-population, and many more. I am
disappointed that you do not even have animal welfare on your
alphabetized "agenda" list and since animals start with an "a" animal
welfare should be FIRST on that list. Why is it important to us, the
animal lovers and protectors or the world? Ask Ghandi who said, "The
Greatness of a Nation and its Moral Progress Can be Judged by the Way
its Animals are Treated"
Please take this into consideration when updating your agenda list.

Christine A Jubic,
Friend of Animals

Write the Prez-Elect at Change.Gov and tell him to put "Animal
Welfare" AT THE TOP of his alphabetized "agenda" list where it

Click on title above to go to Change.Gov where Obama is waiting to hear from YOU!

Now is the time for all good animal welfare folk to come to the aid
of the animals of this country! Make sure to make a GREAT BIG NOISE
for them with our new president coming into office next month.

Goulizhuang' Restaurant; An Insiders Look at High-Class Chinese Cruseine

Donkey dick, anyone? Or something a little more exotic like bull or tiger penis too, or a side of roast Russian dog? Here is one of Chinas most "high class" restaurants!

Click on title for article;

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Case of Mad Cow Reported in BC

Nov. 17th, 2008

New Case of Canadian Mad Cow Disease Reported

A fresh case of mad cow disease has been reported in Canada, complicating the government¡¯s talks to resume imports of its beef, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced on Tuesday. It was the 15th case of mad cow disease since May 2003, and the fourth this year, in the Canadian dairy herd.

The ministry said, "The BSE-infected animal that cropped up in the province of British Columbia, Canada is a milk cow born in January 2001. The latest case was detected in the process of the Canadian government's preliminary diagnosis of BSE."

Imports of Canadian beef products were banned in May 2003 when the first BSE-infected cow was discovered in Canada. Fifteen BSE-infected cows have so far been diagnosed in Canada, 10 of which were born after August 1997, when Canada banned the use of cattle feed containing ground-up cow tissue.

But despite the latest case, there will be no immediate change in Canada's status, certified by the organization for animal health (OIE) as a "controlled BSE risk country," the ministry added.

A ministry official said, "The OIE receives reports from 'controlled BSE risk countries' every year. If it decides that such countries have a problem implementing their own control system, the OIE can downgrade their status."

Korea held talks with Canada on resuming Canadian beef imports on Nov. 3-4, and has since been conducting an inspection in Canada. The ministry official added, "We'll reach a final decision on whether to resume Canadian beef imports based on the outcome of the on-site inspection and an analysis of this latest Canadian case."

( )

Click title above for article;

Concerned Parents of Infants Demand Nationwide Recall of Formula

Melamine detections lead national consumer group and Ill. AG to call for infant formula recall


November 26, 2008 (AP)

The Associated Press

Traces of the industrial chemical melamine have been detected in samples of top-selling U.S. infant formula, but federal regulators insist the products are safe. The Food and Drug Administration said last month it was unable to identify any melamine exposure level as safe for infants, but a top official said it would be a "dangerous overreaction" for parents to stop feeding infant formula to babies who depend on it.

Disclosure that laboratory tests have detected traces of contamination in several major brands of infant formula generated concern and confusion Wednesday, with a national consumer's group and the Illinois attorney general demanding a Food and Drug Administration recall and the federal agency saying it had released inaccurate information on what chemicals were found in which top selling products.

As worried parents called manufacturers looking for guidance about the presence of melamine and a key byproduct in U.S.-made formula, the FDA reiterated its position that the baby food is safe and parents should continue feeding it to their babies, contending the extremely low levels of contamination do not present a health danger.

Also, a spokesman for one major manufacturer criticized the FDA for its release of the inaccurate information.

"We're getting inundated by calls from moms confused about the situation," said Pete Paradossi, a spokesman for Mead Johnson, one of the three major manufacturers of U.S.-made formula involved in the problem detections.

Click on title above for article;

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NJ Beef Recall: Possible E. Coli

Dutch Prime Foods Recalls Ground Beef Due to Possible E. Coli Contamination

Beef Products Shipped to Restaurants in New Jersey

Dutch Prime Foods is recalling approximately 345 pounds of ground beef products because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The affected products are 5-pound and 10-pound vacuum sealed plastic bags of "Dutch Prime Foods Hamburger." These packages of ground beef were packed in 5- and 10-pound shipping cases which bear the establishment number "EST. 5206" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The ground beef products were produced on November 18 and distributed to restaurants in New Jersey.

NOV-26-08: Dutch Prime Foods Recalls Ground Beef [USDA: DUTCH PRIME FOODS GROUND BEEF RECALL]

NH Womans Death Reported Due to Human Mad Cow Disease

NH Woman Reported to Have Died from Human Mad Cow Disease
Published: Saturday, November 15, 2008
Rare illness may have caused death
JAFFREY (AP) – New Hampshire health officials are investigating whether a Jeffrey woman died of a rare illness related to mad cow disease.

An obituary in the Keene Sentinel said Judith L. Tieger died Nov. 6 from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a degenerative brain disorder which belongs in the same family of illnesses as mad cow disease. State officials said it will take months of testing to determine the official cause of death.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cannot be transmitted through the air or through casual contact. The state said there's no reason to think the unconfirmed case could pose a risk to public health.

Click on title above to see article;

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FDA Puts Foot Down, at last! Raids Chinese "Heparin" House

FDA does its best Barney Fife impersonation with raid

Watching the FDA take enforcement action sometimes makes you think of Don Knotts' Barney Fife character in the Andy Griffith Show. You know, the guy who got to carry a gun but was liable to shoot his foot off at any second?

But every now and then, even Fife made a bust. And it looks like the FDA finally took some decisive action and got its man, too.

Federal agents in November, at the FDA's request, raided a Cincinnati distributor and seized containers of the contaminated blood thinner heparin, which was manufactured in China.

That's right – believe it or not, there's still some contaminated heparin floating around. As I've told you before, the government has received reports of 250 deaths linked to contaminated batches.

In April, the government had inspected Celsus Laboratories, the Cincinnati company, and discovered contaminated heparin in two kinds of products. Celsus wasn't alone, of course -- contaminated batches from the Chinese manufacturer were found in the products of 12 companies.

But, like Barney Fife, the FDA stumbled and bungled its way through this enforcement action. They only asked for the raid after TWICE asking Celsus to recall contaminated products and not getting a sufficient response.

That's right – a company refusing the FDA's request once wasn't enough to spur action. America's favorite bureaucracy decided to try again – perhaps the second request had a "pretty please" attached.

In the end, the right thing was done. But, as always, it took way too long to get there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oysters & Shellfish a No No Too?

Study Says So. Click title above to see article;

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Petition for Federal Funding for Cultured Meat Research

No more animal cruelty, abuse or slaughter! We say cultured meat would be a very good thing, dont you? If so, click on the title above to sign petition. Thanks!

Boycott Chinese Food Products

Pass the following along to everyone concerned about food from China. Trader Joes stopped importing all single ingredient items from China about a year and a half ago. The are also good about labeling and have products from the USA and many parts of the world.The following is an entry from the China Boycott database for Trader Joe's:

Food Market, Trader Joe's Trader Joe's,,
Country of Origin: USA

"In October 2007, Trader Joe's began to phase out foods imported from China amid concerns that standards on "organic" products from the country aren't as stringent as they should be." Wikipedia

At my local TJs I found that all their produce items are no longer imported from China. However multi-ingredient prepared foods may have ingredients from china, so ask about products that do not list the country of origin or say "distributed by Trader Joes Monrovia, California".


--- On Mon, 11/17/08, XXXXX
Subject: Chicken from Wal-Mart
Date: Monday, November 17, 2008, 11:35 PM

This e-mail is going around warning people not to buy 'chicken' at Wal-Mart


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Petition to USDA: No US Import of Canadian Beef

USDA Petition Against Risky Canadian Meat
Click on title above to see Petition

On January 28, 2008, Food & Water Watch submitted a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service urging the agency to remove Canada from the list of countries eligible to export meat and poultry products to the United States.


Mr. Alfred Almanza, Administrator
Food Safety and Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture
331-E Jamie L. Whitten Building
12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW
Washington, DC 20250



Dear Administrator Almanza,

On behalf of the non–profit consumer organization, Food & Water Watch, I respectfully submit this petition, pursuant the Federal Meat Inspection Act as amended,1 the Poultry Products Inspection Act as amended,2 the Right to Petition Government Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,3 the Administrative Procedure Act,4 and USDA’s implementing regulations,5 for a rule issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to remove Canada as a country that is eligible to export meat and poultry products to the United States under 9 C.F.R. §§ 327.2 (b) and 381.196 (b) (2006). Food & Water Watch is requesting this action because of the extensive evidence that the Canadian inspection system does not assure compliance with requirements equivalent to all the inspection, building construction standards, and other requirements of the FMIA and PPIA and regulations applicable to official establishments in the United States, and that reliance cannot be placed upon Canada’s certificates of eligibility. As a consequence, Canadian meat and poultry processors are exporting products to the United States that may be harmful to U.S. consumers and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is not able to take effective action to prevent those products from entering U.S. commerce.

I. Statement of the LawUnder the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) 6 and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) 7 and regulations promulgated under these laws, only products prepared in establishments that are certified by a foreign country as meeting equivalent standards and requirements as official establishments in the United States are eligible for importation into the United States. When the Administrator of FSIS determines that a foreign nation’s system of meat inspection for establishments exporting to the United States ensures such requirements and standards are met, the country is listed under 9 C.F.R. § 327.2 (b) and the products prepared in such establishments are eligible for importation. The acceptability of a foreign meat inspection system is based on FSIS’ determination, under § 327.2 (a)(2)(i), that the country’s inspection system provide standards equivalent to those of the Federal system of meat inspection in the United States with respect to:

Organizational structure and staffing, so as to insure uniform enforcement of the requisite laws and regulations in all establishments throughout the system at which products are prepared for export to the United States;
Ultimate control and supervision by the national government over the official activities of all employees or licensees of the system;
The assignment of competent, qualified inspectors;
Authority and responsibility of national inspection officials to enforce the requisite laws and regulations governing meat inspection and to certify or refuse to certify products intended for export;
Adequate administrative and technical support;
The inspection, sanitation, quality, species verification, and residue standards applied to products produced in the United States;
Other requirements of adequate inspection service as required by the regulations in this subchapter.

Further, under § 327.2 (a)(2)(ii), the foreign government must maintain a food inspection system equivalent to the system of meat inspection organized and maintained in the United States with respect to:

Ante–mortem inspection of animals for slaughter and inspection of methods of slaughtering and handling in connection with slaughtering which shall be performed by veterinarians or by other employees or licensees of the system under the direct supervision of the veterinarians;
Post–mortem inspection of carcasses and parts thereof at time of slaughter, performed by veterinarians or other employees or licensees of the system under the direct supervision of veterinarians;
Official controls by the national government over establishment construction, facilities, and equipment;
Direct and continuous official supervision of slaughtering and preparation of product, by the assignment of inspectors to establishments certified [under this section], to assure that adulterated or misbranded product is not prepared for export to the United States;
Complete separation of establishments certified [under this section] from establishments not certified and the maintenance of a single standard of inspection and sanitation throughout all certified establishments;
Requirements for sanitation at certified establishments and for sanitary handling of product;
Official controls over condemned material until destroyed or removed and thereafter excluded from the establishment;
A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, as set forth in part 417 of this chapter;
Other matters for which requirements are contained in the Act or regulations in this subchapter.

Specific regulations under the Poultry Products Inspection Act, 9 C.F.R. § 381.196 (a)(2)(i)-(ii), provide nearly verbatim criteria for evaluating a foreign country’s inspection system for poultry products. Countries meeting these requirements for poultry are listed under 9 C.F.R. § 381.196 (b).

The Administrator of FSIS may withdraw a §§ 327.2 (b) and/or 381.196 (b) listing of any foreign country when the Administrator determines that the foreign country’s system of meat or poultry product inspection “does not assure compliance with requirements equivalent to all the inspection, building construction standards, and other requirements” of the FMIA and PPIA and regulations applicable to official establishments in the United States, that reliance cannot be placed upon certificates from authorities of such foreign country, or that, for lack of current information, such foreign country should be required to reestablish its eligibility for listing.8

II. Background on Canada’s Exports of Meat and Poultry ProductsCanada is the largest exporter of meat and poultry products to the United States. During FY 2006, it exported 1,783,882,689 pounds of meat and poultry products to the United States9 that accounted for 45.9 percent of all imported meat and poultry products into the United States.10 There are currently 462 meat and poultry plants in Canada that are certified to export their products to the United States.11

Canada has been deemed to have a food safety system that is equivalent to that of the United States. It has been listed under 9 C.F.R. §§ 327.2 (b) and 381.196 (b) and its food establishments are eligible to export meat and poultry products to the United States.

As it does with all countries that are eligible to export meat and poultry products, FSIS has conducted annual audits of a selected number of Canadian food establishments that are eligible to export to the United States.13

As discussed more fully below, FSIS auditors have found repeated violations of U.S. standards and requirements in their annual visits. It has also required multiple visits to Canada in some years to verify that U.S. standards were being met at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.15 While some Canadian food establishments have been delisted, FSIS has failed to delist the country as eligible for export to the United States, thus providing the need for this petition.

III. Statement of the Grounds for Withdrawing Canada as a Country Listed 9 C.F.R. §§ 327.2 (b) and 381.196 (b) as Eligible to Export to the United States.As discussed in detail below, a December 2005 USDA Inspector General’s audit of Canada’s meat and poultry inspection system found that Canadian inspection officials do not enforce requirements or maintain inspection intensity at levels equivalent to those FSIS applies, or is required to apply, to official establishments in the United States. In addition, FSIS audits of Canadian establishments in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007 show numerous and repeated failures both in terms of establishments’ adherence to sanitation and food safety requirements, as well as the inspection system’s enforcement of those requirements. Further, FSIS has instituted two large recalls in 2007 of meat and poultry products produced in Canada.

Based on all of this information, the Administrator can only conclude that Canada’s system of meat and poultry inspection does not assure compliance with the requirements equivalent to all the inspection, building construction standards, and other requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act and Poultry Products Inspection Act and corresponding regulations applicable to official establishments in the United States. Furthermore, reliance cannot be placed upon Canada’s certificate of eligibility. Therefore, the Administrator must withdraw Canada from the list of countries eligible to export to the United States under 9 C.F.R. §§ 327.2 (b) and 381.196 (b). The failure to delist Canada would be contrary to the FMIA and PPIA. The failure to delist Canada would also be arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion, and thus contrary to the Administrative Procedures Act.16

A. A December 2005 USDA Inspector General’s Audit Report on Canada’s meat and poultry inspection system found that Canadian inspection officials do not enforce requirements or maintain inspection intensity at levels equivalent to those FSIS applies, or is required to apply, to official establishments in the United States.

The chronic food safety issues that FSIS auditors have found in Canadian food establishments prompted the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) to conduct its own audit of the Canadian food safety system and the processes FSIS used to determine equivalence with Canada. The OIG found the following:

. . . [I]n July 2003, FSIS identified that Canadian inspection officials were not enforcing certain pathogen reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system regulations. These same types of concerns were identified again in June 2005, almost 2 years later.

Timely actions were not taken because FSIS does not have protocols or guidelines for evaluating deficiencies in a country’s inspection system that could jeopardize a country’s overall equivalence determination…

In July 2003, as part of an onsite review, FSIS identified serious concerns with the Canadian inspection system. These concerns included the insufficient implementation of sanitation controls and HACCP requirements by establishments and the lack of enforcement in these areas by Canadian inspection officials.

Based on these concerns, FSIS proposed an enforcement review in 2004. (Enforcement reviews can lead to a determination that a country’s system is not equivalent to U.S. standards and, thus, not eligible to export to the United States). The proposed 2004 enforcement review was not conducted and FSIS officials did not reassess Canada’s implementation and enforcement of sanitation controls and HAACP requirements until almost 2 years later. When FSIS officials finally returned to Canada in May 2005, they continued to find the same types of deficiencies they had found in 2003.

FSIS should analyze the deficiencies identified in the 2003 and 2005 reviews to determine whether immediate actions are needed to address concerns regarding public health and if additional enforcement measures are needed.

FSIS’ analysis of the regulations governing the Canadian inspection system identified two areas that may not be equivalent to the United States inspection system. FSIS found that Canadian policy allowed less than daily inspection coverage in processing establishments. By contrast, FSIS has a long established history of requiring the presence of an inspector in a U.S. processing establishment at least once per shift per day. FSIS also identified differences in the testing performed for Listeria monocytogenes. Canadian inspection officials require establishments to perform risk-based environmental sampling, as opposed to the finished product sampling required by FSIS.17

B. FSIS audits of Canadian establishments in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007 show numerous and repeated failures both in terms of establishments’ adherence to sanitation and food safety requirements, as well as the inspection system’s enforcement of those requirements.

According to FSIS audits in 2003,18 Canadian establishments repeatedly failed to adhere to sanitation and food safety requirements and the Canadian inspection officials failed to enforce these requirements:

In 22 of the 37 establishments visited, FSIS officials found that the Canadian inspection system did not have adequate sanitation controls. FSIS officials found that Canadian establishments did not ensure sanitation controls were adequately implemented or evaluated for effectiveness. FSIS also found that the establishments did not take corrective actions when sanitation controls failed to prevent direct product contamination or adulteration and did not maintain daily records of these activities.
FSIS officials found that Canadian inspection officials did not implement certain HACCP requirements in 27 of the 37 establishments. FSIS found that Canadian establishments were deficient in validating their HACCP plans, documenting corrective actions, and reassessing the adequacy of the plans.
As part of the review of specific establishments, FSIS evaluated whether Canadian inspection officials adequately enforced FSIS requirements. FSIS officials found that the Canadian inspection system did not have adequate controls to ensure FSIS requirements were enforced. FSIS officials identified deficiencies in the areas of sanitation controls and HACCP requirements that had not been previously noted by Canadian inspection officials. This condition occurred in 32 of the 37 establishments visited by FSIS officials.
Of the 37 establishments visited, 28 were establishments that produced processed products. FSIS officials found that Canadian inspection officials provided less than daily inspection at 10 of the 28 processing establishments visited.

Audits in 2005 demonstrated a similar pattern of abuses:19

In 21 of the 35 establishments, FSIS officials found that the Canadian inspection system did not have adequate sanitation controls. FSIS continued to find that Canadian establishments did not ensure sanitation controls were adequately implemented or evaluated for effectiveness. In addition, the establishments did not take corrective actions when sanitation controls failed to prevent direct product contamination or adulteration and did not maintain daily records of these activities.
FSIS officials found that Canadian inspection officials did not implement certain HACCP requirements in 19 of the 35 establishments. FSIS again found that Canadian establishments were deficient in validating their HACCP plans, documenting corrective actions, and reassessing the adequacy of the plans.
As part of the review of specific establishments, FSIS again evaluated whether Canadian inspection officials adequately enforced FSIS requirements. FSIS officials found that the Canadian inspection system did not have adequate controls to ensure FSIS requirements were enforced. FSIS officials identified deficiencies in the areas of sanitation controls and HACCP requirements that had not been previously noted by Canadian inspection officials. This condition occurred in 29 of the 35 establishments visited by FSIS officials.

Later that year, the USDA OIG notified FSIS that it wanted a complete review of Canadian processing plants that exported to the United States on the issue of daily inspection. The OIG found the following:

On July 29, 2005, we issued a management alert to FSIS which identified a condition that warranted the agency’s immediate attention. We reported that FSIS had not taken timely action to resolve the agency’s July 2003 finding that Canada does not require daily inspection coverage at processing establishments that export product to the United States. Specifically, the agency identified 10 processing establishments that received less than daily inspection and subsequently Canada reported 252 of its processing establishments did not receive daily inspection coverage during all processing shifts. Almost 700 million pounds of product entered U.S. commerce from these 252 establishments from January 1, 2003 through May 31, 2005. In FSIS’ information system, the products were categorized as cuts and trimmings of raw product as well as products with additional processing from pork, veal, beef, poultry, and lamb.20

In August 2005, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) did change its Animal Hygiene Regulations as they applied to exports to the United States that explicitly required daily inspection of processing establishments.21 However, FSIS agreed to permit Canada to conduct a study to prove that less-than-daily inspection in processing was equivalent to the U.S. inspection system. That study was to have been completed by November 2007. According to FSIS officials, CFIA is still evaluating the data it received from the study.22

In October 2005, FSIS dispatched an audit team to Canada to conduct a paper review of the new daily inspection procedures –– FSIS did not conduct in-plant audits to verify whether the new inspection procedures had actually been implemented.

In 2006 audits by FSIS,23 the agency found that establishments were not implementing their Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOPs), Sanitation Performance Standards (SPS), or HACCP plans, and were not adequately testing for Salmonella:

In 10 of 21 establishments audited, there were deficiencies in the implementation of the Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures. For example, there was improper documentation of daily records for SSOP requirements; improper implementation of SSOPs in 5 establishments; no corrective action taken when SSOP failed to prevent direct product contamination in one establishment; and no reference to pre-operational sanitation in the SSOP prerequisite program, although pre-operational sanitation was occurring at one establishment.
Nineteen of the 21 establishments had deficiencies in the implementation of Sanitation Performance Standards (SPS). The violations found included unsanitary conditions such as insects found in two empty containers used for rework of product and product residue found in bins ready for use.
Fifteen of the 21 establishments had deficiencies in the implementation, corrective actions, verification and/or recordkeeping parts of HAACP. The violations found included inadequate recordkeeping documenting the written HACCP plan, the monitoring of the critical control points, and dates and times of specific occurrences in 11 establishments; in seven establishments, verification and validation of the HACCP plants were not performed properly; in four establishments, the corrective action was not written in the HACCP plan; in three establishments, the HACCP plan was not adequately reassessed; in two establishments, on-going monitoring of the HACCP plan was not performed properly.
Laboratories were using only 25 grams of ready–to–eat products in tests for Salmonella instead of 325 grams. FSIS auditors critiqued the lack of oversight exercised by CFIA over the private laboratories they retained to conduct microbial testing.

No establishments were recommended for delistment.

In August 2007, the USDA OIG issued an audit report on egg processing inspection. Its findings included:

(W)e found that while FSIS had identified deficiencies in 2003 with Canada’s controls over egg product processing plants that exported to the United States, no follow up visits had been made since then to verify that corrective actions had been implemented. FSIS officials gave greater priority to the review of meat and poultry establishments, since processed egg products were considered to pose less of a health risk than some meat products due to the use of the pasteurization process. In their last visit, FSIS reviewers found that two Canadian egg product processing plants broke and used eggs that were leaking or had foreign material on their shells.24

As a result of the OIG report, FSIS conducted audits of four Canadian egg products processing facilities in addition to twenty meat and poultry establishments.

On this visit, one Canadian establishment was recommended for delistment and six received Notices of Intent to Delist.

These were the deficiencies that were found in the 2007 audit:

There was no Canadian method for Salmonella analysis of meat and poultry products that had been deemed equivalent by the United States. Specifically, the problem of the sample size cited in the 2006 audit had not been corrected; only 25 grams of product was being sent in for laboratory analysis while the U.S. standard is 325 grams. As the FSIS audit stated: “Many of the establishments did not understand that they must make that specific request to satisfy U.S. requirements.”
Seventeen of 20 slaughter and/or processing establishments had deficiencies in the implementation, maintenance, corrective actions, and/or recordkeeping requirements of the Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOPs). The problems discovered included descriptions of non-compliances, causes, corrective actions, and preventive measures were either missing or not written in sufficient detail for the establishments’ management or for CFIA personnel to verify the effectiveness of the actions; records were not completed in the manner described in the HACCP plans, including times and temperatures; the sanitation prerequisite programs did not address the cleaning and monitoring of some areas of the establishments; condensate was present in various rooms and was observed dripping on personnel, boxes, product and/or product contact surfaces; positioning of product presented a variety of cross-contamination scenarios; product handling practices also led to cross-contamination; heavy dust and protein residues were found on fans that led directly into an RTE slicing room; residue from previous day’s production was found on food contact areas; pre-operational sanitation monitoring by one establishment was done on slaughter days only and not on days when there was only processing performed; sanitation records revealed repetitive deficiencies with either no preventive measures or preventive measures were ineffective; and hooks for edible product were not maintained in a sanitary manner.
Nineteen of the 20 slaughter and/or processing establishments had deficiencies in Sanitation Performance Standards (SPS). Two of the four egg products processing facilities had SPS deficiencies. The problems found with SPS included: inedible containers were observed coming into contact with personnel working with edible product, edible product, edible product containers, and/or food contact areas; condensate was present in processing rooms, coolers, freezers; there was rust and corrosion on many pieces of equipment and overhead structures; there was no floor drain in the area of the sticker in a hog plant, which resulted in the operator standing on support pads in a pool of water and blood; establishment of pre-requisite programs for water and/or ice were not written or followed in the manner specified in the CFIA Manual of Procedures; walls, floors, ceilings, and/or overhead structures were in poor repair; exposed insulation in processing room and cooler locations; freezers and storage areas were not maintained in sanitary manner; excessive shell fragments were observed in breaking machines and collection pots; and excessive shell fragments were also observed past the filtering system in the performance of the pour test.
Thirteen of the 20 slaughter/processing/cold storage establishments audited had deficiencies in the implementation of HACCP requirements. Most involved deficiencies in recordkeeping. One of the egg processing facilities had a HACCP deficiency –– calibration of equipment. Examples of the HACCP deficiencies included descriptions of deviations, corrective actions, and preventive measures were either missing or not written in sufficient detail for the establishments’ management or for CFIA personnel to verify the effectiveness of the actions; CCP monitoring and verification records had missing times, missing initials, missing temperatures, and entries that were not actual measured values; HACCP plans had poorly described hazards which led to critical limits, monitoring procedures, corrective actions, preventive measures, and verification procedures that did not follow in a logical manner or address the hazard; pre-shipment reviews were not conducted for all products.
Three of the nine slaughter facilities had deficiencies in their generic E.coli testing program. The problems found included no action taken when total coliform and E. coli counts exceeded the acceptable limits and the recording program for E. coli results was not functioning properly.
One of the nine slaughter facilities never received its residue sampling schedule from CFIA for FY 2006–2007 and no meat was sampled for chemical residues during that time period.
Two establishments that produced both single and multiple species ground products did not have species identification sampling scheduled for them by CFIA.
The FSIS auditor made the following observation: “Inspection system controls at all levels were not fully developed and implemented. There were many instances of deficiencies both in the documentation reviews and in the operations audits that should have been addressed prior to the FSIS audit. Some inspection personnel were not well-trained in the performance of their inspection tasks. Inspection personnel were not conducting pre–operational sanitation inspection verification or were not conducting it at the frequency required.” 26

While all establishments audited were receiving at least daily visits by CFIA inspection personnel, one establishment –– Eastern Protein Foods Limited (Canadian Establishment Number 203) –– did not appear to be inspected from March 2 through May 3, 2007 for the second shift of production. In addition, for a three month period, CFIA inspection personnel did not appear to be conducting on-site pre-operational sanitation verification which is required to be performed at least twice monthly. Instead, CFIA inspection personnel were only conducting record reviews at this establishment.27

FSIS recently sent another audit team to look at the one plant that had been delisted as a result of this audit and the six that had received Notices of the Intent to Delist. According to FSIS officials, all of these plants corrected their deficiencies and continue to export to the United States.28

C. FSIS instituted two large recalls in 2007 of meat and poultry products produced in Canada.

a. Topps Meat Company, LLC Recall of Ground Beef Products

On September 25, 2007, FSIS announced a voluntary recall for 331,582 pounds of frozen ground beef products by the Topps Meat Company, LLC of Elizabeth, New Jersey.29 The recall was eventually expanded to 21.7 million pounds of frozen ground beef products on September 29, 2007.30 The meat was contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. This recall made it the fifth largest in U.S. history.31 Because of the magnitude of the recall, Topps Meat Company was forced to shutter its doors and declare bankruptcy.32 FSIS announced on October 26, 2007 that the likely source of the contamination was beef trim that Topps had imported from Canadian Establishment Number 630, Ranchers Beef, Ltd. Of Balzac, Alberta that itself had shut down operations in August 2007.33

As part of the investigation, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that there were 40 illnesses with 21 known hospitalizations in eight states. In Canada, the CFIA reported that there were 45 illnesses that seemed to be tied to meat produced by Ranchers Beef that included eleven hospitalizations and one death.34 After its initial announcement, CFIA was forced to issue six additional press releases that expanded the scope of the recall of meat that was produced at Ranchers Beef.35

It should be noted that FSIS never conducted an audit of Ranchers Beef, Ltd. FSIS officials indicated that Ranchers Beef was a new company that had come into existence in 2006 and that the agency did not have the opportunity to schedule it for an audit before it ceased operations in August 2007.36 Yet, the CFIA had certified the new company to export its products to the U.S. FSIS did not delist Ranchers Beef until October 20, 2007 –– some two months after it ceased operations.37

USDA officials admitted during an October 23, 2007 news teleconference that FSIS had not formally informed trading partners of the new FSIS policy of testing for beef trim that it had initiated for domestic beef plants in March 2007.38 Therefore, all countries that exported beef products to the United States between March 2007 and October 2007 were not in compliance with U.S. food safety standards.

In response to the findings of the Ranchers Beef investigation, FSIS announced that, effective November 9, 2007, it would institute increased testing of all imported meat and poultry products from Canada for E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes.39 That enhanced testing regime ceased on November 28, 2007.

b. Aliki Foods Recall of Chicken and Pasta Product for Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination41

On October 9, 2007, FSIS announced a voluntary recall by Aliki Foods, Incorporated that had imported 70,400 pounds of chicken/broccoli fettuccine alfredo frozen dinners that had been possibly contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The product had been produced by Canadian Establishment Number 219, Otter Valley Foods Incorporated, located in Tillsonburg, Ontario. Discovery of the contamination came as result of FSIS microbiological testing at the import establishment.

D. The failure to delist Canada would be contrary to the FMIA, PPIA, as well as arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion, and thus contrary to the Administrative Procedures Act.

Given the overwhelming evidence that the country’s inspection system is not meeting requirements equivalent as those applicable to official establishments in the United States, including the admission of this in numerous agency audits, FSIS' failure to issue a rule delisting Canada under 9 C.F.R. §§ 327.2 (b) and 381.196 (b) would violate the FMIA, which states that “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all carcasses, parts of carcasses, meat, and meat food products of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines, capable of use as human food, offered for importation into the United States shall be subject to the inspection, sanitary, quality, species verification, and residue standards applied to products produced in the United States.” 42 It would also violate the PPIA, which states that

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all poultry, or parts or products of poultry, capable of use as human food offered for importation into the United States shall ––
be subject to inspection, sanitary, quality, species verification, and residue standards that achieve a level of sanitary protection equivalent to that achieved under United States standards; and
have been processed in facilities and under conditions that achieve a level of sanitary protection equivalent to that achieved under United States standards.43

Additionally, in its 2005 audit report, the OIG found inconsistencies in the application of FSIS’ policy of establishment delistment. For example, FSIS moved to delist plants in Belgium and Australia because they were not subject to daily inspection, but failed to take the same action against Canada.44 In 2003, FSIS took the very strong step of suspending Argentina’s ability to certify plants that could export to the United States because “past audit findings revealed continuing problems with the implementation of U.S. inspection requirements in certified establishments in Argentina.” 45

Should FSIS continue to provide preferential treatment to Canada, and choose not to delist its without proper support or foundation, especially when it has had knowledge of the shortcomings of the Canadian inspection system at least back to 2003, such a decision would surely be arbitrary and capricious as well as an abuse of discretion.

ConclusionsThe Canadian food safety system has numerous deficiencies that have been discovered and documented by FSIS auditors in recent years. There have been major recalls involving imported Canadian meat and poultry products that have called into question the safety of those products imported into the United States. In spite of these findings, the FSIS continues to treat Canada deferentially.

Furthermore, we are extremely concerned that FSIS is entertaining a proposal by Canada that would seriously undermine the continuous inspection standard that has been the underpinning of U.S. meat and poultry safety law. It has become apparent that Canada’s less rigorous inspection policies have led to some of the recent incidents involving contaminated food entering into our food supply.

In light of these significant food safety issues, we respectfully request that FSIS immediately begin rulemaking to remove Canada as country that is eligible to export meat and poultry products under 9 C.F.R. §§ 327.2 (b) and 381.196 (b).


Wenonah Hauter,
Executive Director
Food & Water Watch

Letter of Concern to USDA re: Canadian Cattle

Canadian Cattle, USDA Letter

Letter from Food & Water Watch to the USDA regarding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – mad cow disease.

June 12, 2007

Mike Johanns, Secretary
United States Department of Agriculture
Room 227E, Jamie L. Whitten Building
12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Johanns,

We are writing about USDA’s inadequate safeguards for keeping prohibited Canadian cattle out of the U.S. food supply. We have recently learned that contrary to USDA’s policy and public assurances, older Canadian cattle which are prohibited from entering the United States because of the risk of transmitting mad cow disease, are routinely making it into the U.S. food supply carrying the USDA seal of approval. We are especially concerned because upcoming changes to Canadian regulations are creating added incentives for Canadian shippers to try to get older animals into U.S. slaughterhouses. And, without mandatory country of origin labeling for beef, consumers are left in the dark about where their meat comes from. This makes it even more imperative the USDA properly enforce rules designed to keep risky older Canadian cattle out of the U.S. food supply, because consumers lack the necessary information to protect themselves.

Since May 2003, when tests revealed the first case of mad cow disease in Canada, USDA regulations have prohibited the importation of various classes of cattle and beef products from Canada. In July 2005, the United States’ border was reopened to importation of live cattle under the age of 30 months, but Canadian cattle that are pregnant and those over the age of 30 months (referred to as “OTM” animals) are still prohibited.

We have attached five affidavits from USDA employees who are inspectors for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). These whistleblowers describe events and policies enacted at three large beef slaughterhouses in three different states. These include the Swift plant in Grand Island, Nebraska and two other plants, referred to as Plant A and Plant B at the whistleblowers’ requests. The policies the whistleblowers describe range from agreements between USDA and the plants that rules will not be enforced, to direct orders by FSIS supervisors to inspectors not to intervene when an older Canadian animal is being processed in violation of regulations.

These affidavits demonstrate how inconsistent the policies are from one plant to another, how the processing of prohibited cattle is occurring under USDA oversight, and how the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and FSIS are sometimes operating at cross purposes. The following examples from the affidavits demonstrate the extent of the public health threat created by current policies:

At the Swift Plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, when two Canadian OTM animals were discovered going through the slaughter line, they were prohibited from entering the food supply; but there were no repercussion for the shipper or slaughtering plant.
At Plant A, when Canadian OTM animals, accompanied by documentation certifying that they are young animals, are found going through the slaughter process, FSIS allows the carcasses and the dangerous tissues to proceed into the food supply. Inspectors are ordered not to try to determine and not to intervene if they accidentally determine that older animals and the dangerous tissues are entering the food supply.
At Plant B, when Canadian OTM animals are discovered going through the slaughter line, FSIS requires the plant to remove dangerous tissues, just as if it were a domestic animal, but allows these prohibited carcasses into the food supply.

Click on title above for article;

Alabama Mad Cows / June 2006

Report: 2006

Statement by Wenonah Hauter, executive director, Food & Water Watch

Today’s news report that a third cow with mad cow disease has been found in Alabama brings us once again to questions we’ve been asking for more than five years now: Why isn’t there a mandatory system in place to report suspect animals? When is the Animal and Plant Inspection Service going to address the problems with the sampling in its surveillance program? Why isn’t the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fixing the loopholes in the animal feed ban that would prevent mad cow from even being an issue?

We applaud the farmer who did the right thing by turning over the sick cow in question to a veterinarian for testing. But this is still a voluntary system that must be made mandatory for the sake of public health. Without a mandatory reporting system, who knows what else is out there?

The USDA surveillance system still has problems – even the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s own inspector general deeply criticized the system, and still there has been little action taken to fix the identified problems.

We urge USDA to continue its heightened surveillance program and to fight for more money in its 2007 budget for continued testing. As it currently stands, the fiscal budget for 2007 only provides for 40,000 tests. This is insufficient.

Mad cow disease will not go away on its own. The government must admit there’s a problem and take the necessary steps to fix the problems and protect all consumers.

Click on title above to see article;

Cargill a Threat to Food n Farming

Cargill a Threat to Food n Farming

International giant Cargill is one of a relatively small number of powerful corporations that control the global agricultural system. Cargill, among those with the widest and deepest influence, describes itself as an “international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. With 158,000 employees in 66 countries, the company is committed to using its knowledge and experience to collaborate with customers to help them succeed.” Still in family hands, Cargill is the largest privately owned company in the world. Its grain division is the number one source of grains and oil-seeds in North America for domestic use, as well as exporting, and it is a major player in the beef and poultry industries.

Read the press release

With so many business sectors, operating divisions, and locations across the globe, keeping tabs on the specifics of Cargill is difficult. But in general, the Minneapolis-based company markets, processes, packs, distributes, transports, and trades agricultural, food, industrial, and other products and services. It is a leading grain processor and a top U.S. meat packer, but more importantly, it greatly influences – and some analysts would say it controls – both markets. Cargill deals with wheat, corn, and oilseeds; meats, poultry, and fish; industrial products such as biofuels, oils, lubricants, and salts; health and pharmaceutical products; and agricultural services such as animal feed and fertilizers.

In short, Cargill sells farmers many of the inputs they need, and buys much of their output for trading and processing. The corporate behemoth has created a worldwide agricultural system in which it is both buyer and seller, and as a result has reaped massive profits. It reported profits of $2.34 billion for the 2007 fiscal year. Unfortunately, Cargill has not been as successful in protecting the rights of consumers, workers, or the environment as it has been in adapting profitable business strategies.

Cargill threatens the environment in both the United States and abroad. It has spilled toxic waste into the San Francisco Bay, violated the Clean Air Act with harmful emissions, and deforested key habitats for endangered species in South America.

And Cargill treats people no better than it does the environment. Its operations are known to pay their workers low wages, expose them to dangerous pesticides, and renege on critical promises made to the community by a corporation it acquired. It is even alleged to force children to labor under hazardous conditions. Cargill shortchanges American farmers by transferring production overseas.

This company does not hesitate to use new and potentially dangerous food technologies if they may bring in revenue. Cargill pushes genetically modified products, invests in irradiation, and lobbies for the right to use carbon monoxide to artificially imbue red meat with the look of freshness long past its expiration date.

This report, Cargill: A Corporate Threat to Food and Farming, will show that Cargill’s vast influence on global agricultural trade threatens the health of consumers, family farmers, the environment, and even entire economies and governments.

Number of Pages:
Download this Document:
PDF file
Fact Sheets
The Risks of Nanotechnology
rBGH: Anything but Green
Eat Local: Good for Your Health and Your Community
Food Irradiation and Vitamin Loss
U.S. Food Aid Serves Agribusiness, Not the Hungry

Click on title above to read report;

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rushed USDA Changes Could Endanger Food Supply

Rushed USDA Changes Could Endanger Food Supply
Dear MuleKist,

UCS scientists and independent experts agree that if food staples such as corn and rice are engineered to produce drugs and other chemicals, they are very likely to contaminate the food supply and pose serious human health and environmental risks for years to come.

Now, as the clock winds down on the current administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has joined the ranks of federal agencies rushing through new regulations that weaken protections for human health and the environment. The agency’s proposed regulations could significantly weaken restrictions on genetically engineered crops that produce pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals—greatly increasing the likelihood that vaccines, hormones, plastics, and other substances could end up in our nation’s food supply. Write to the USDA today and demand stronger—not weaker—regulations for these dangerous crops!


Jennifer Palembas
Outreach Coordinator
Food & Environment Program
Union of Concerned Scientists

Contact the USDA today by submitting the comments below
I am writing to oppose the USDA’s proposed regulations for oversight of genetically engineered crops that produce drugs and industrial chemicals (pharma crops).

The USDA is going in the wrong direction on pharma crops. Rather than weaken current regulations, the department should protect the food supply from pharma crops—by instituting a ban on the outdoor production of these drugs and industrial chemicals in crops that are also human food staples, like corn and rice.

Pharma crop regulations are already too weak; yet this proposal will remove the mandatory requirements that are currently in place and instead allow agency officials wide discretion to declare certain pharma crop substances as low risk and therefore subject to minimal control.

I urge you to withdraw these weaker pharma crop regulations and instead adopt a ban on the outdoor production of these substances in food crops. This is the only way to adequately protect the food supply.

Take Action
Write today to tell the USDA to strengthen pharma crop oversight.

Tell A Friend
You can help ensure this action has the greatest effect. Please pass this alert along to your friends and family.

The Union of Concerned Scientists relies on individuals like you to support our research and advocacy. Join us to promote practical, science-based environmental and security solutions. Become a member today.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

REPORT: Mad Cow Case in Canada / August 2008

For those who think "its over" or "its safe." It would do well to remember, WE (the USA) import alot of beef from Canada for our own use, and hee hee, we DO NOT even check our own healthy cows; how safe can any beef be, or, any meat for that matter? Remember, it is NOT just cows anymore, and NOT just brains and spinal cord tissues they are finding these mad cow "prions" in, it is found now even in meat and muscle! They are finding "mutant" Mad Cow prions in many species, sheep, pigs, etc., young and old, healthy & sick, even in wild game, and it IS effecting humans (CJD,) though studies show it can lay dormant for 20-30 years. Once symptoms do appear, death to the human usually comes on quickly, though it is a "wasting" disease. Some studies even link this mutant human mad-cow prion to Alheimers Disease. Could it really be? Scarey stuff, huh?

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Canada Food Inspection Agency says a B.C. feed manufacturer is the most likely source of the country's 13th case of mad cow disease.

Canada brought in changes more than a decade ago to stop animal products from being fed to cattle, sheep and goats and prevent the transfer of bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the food chain.

But Dr. Connie Argue of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Thursday that one of the most recent cases of BSE and all 12 previous cases likely came "through incidents of accidental cross-contamination, which may occur in the complex feed and manufacturing system."

There have been 14 cases of BSE diagnosed in Canada since 2003, the most recent found in Alberta in August.

When the first case was discovered the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia and several other countries imposed a temporary import ban on Canadian beef.

The latest agency report involves a five-year-old dairy cow from British Columbia's Fraser Valley which tested positive for the disease in June.

Because the incubation period is four to six years, officials belief the animal was contaminated as a calf.

The food source was narrowed down to an unnamed food supplier of heifer ration that also manufactured food for other, non-ruminant animals that contained material prohibited from cattle, sheep and goat feed.

Two other unnamed feed manufacturers where prohibited material was handled were also mentioned in the report as potential areas for cross-contamination.

The report said the feed did not contained banned protein on purpose, but may have been contaminated by equipment used to process non-ruminant feed.

"Bulk ingredient receiving and finished feed conveyances were cross-utilized," the report said.

The agency said a total of 207 other animals connected to the diseased cow either have been or will be destroyed.

"The detection of this case does not change any of Canada's BSE risk parameters," the report concluded. "The location and age of the animal are consistent with previous cases."

When asked if there was concern for other farms that used feed from the suspect manufacturers, Argue said the investigation is limited to feeds that were given to the animals on the same farm at the time.

Canada is classified under the world organization for animal health as a controlled BSE risk country.

Last year the Canadian government extended regulations to eliminate all risk materials, tissues that have been shown to harbour BSE infection, from all animal food, pet feed and fertilizer.

"The enhancements to the feed ban are meant to accelerate BSE eradication in Canada," Argue said.

She predicted there will be more animals diagnosed with BSE in the next few years but said the fact that infected animals continue to show up is a testament to how vigilant the inspection process is in Canada.

Click on title above for article;

Mapping CJD: Human Mad Cow Disease

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, commonly known as CJD, is a brain disease that progresses rapidly and generally results in the death of the patient. It probably came to the public notice following the outbreaks of mad cow disease in Europe in the 1990s because the agent that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cows is thought by some to be responsible for the onset of variant CJD in humans. Yet, despite the swathe of publicity, CJD is a rare disease.

Of the various types, sporadic CJD is the most common, accounting for about 85% of cases in the US. The symptoms only show their faces around the age of 60 and most patients die within a year. Hereditary CJD, accounting for 5-10% of US cases, and acquired CJD, which is transmitted by exposure and accounts for 1% of cases, are the other major categories. The rapid progression and fatal outcome of the disease point to the fact that there is no cure for CJD.

The conventional way to confirm CJD in humans is to carry out a brain biopsy. This occurs in post-mortem examinations but biopsies on suspected patients are generally discouraged because, even if the disease is diagnosed, there is no treatment. So, the medical world needs a reliable test for live patients. Currently, one available test looks for the 14-3-3 proteins in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). These are indicative of CJD but the immunoblot procedure gives a false positive rate of 5-10%, so is unsuitable for screening. In addition, a high proportion of patients with variant CJD do not produce these proteins. A second test, developed by Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. and currently undergoing validation in the UK, detects prion proteins associated with vCJD in human blood and has given promising results.

A team of scientists in Germany has adopted a different approach, looking for a panel of proteins in CSF which are indicative of CJD and can differentiate it from other neurodegenerative diseases in the largest study of this type. Markus Otto from the University of Ulm with colleagues from six other institutions analysed CSF from a total of 72 patients: 36 diagnosed as having probable CJD (according to WHO criteria), 24 with Alzheimer's disease, 6 with dementia with Lewy bodies and 6 non-demented controls.

The samples were subjected to an optimised sample preparation procedure for analysis by 2D differential gel electrophoresis using the CyDyes 2, 3, and 5. This method has the potential to separate thousands of proteins on a single gel and is a popular choice for comparative, quantitative proteomics studies.

Following 20-fold concentration, CSF was depleted of the abundant proteins albumin and immunoglobulin G, which tend to mask less abundant proteins. There is always a risk that some less abundant proteins will be co-depleted, or reduced in volume so that there is insufficient quantity remaining on the gels for subsequent identification. However, the advantage gained by removing albumin and IgG were considered to outweigh these disadvantages.

The depleted CSF was mixed with acetone to induce protein precipitation and the dried proteins were lysed in buffer to get at the soluble proteins. Then, proteins from the different disease groups were labelled with the respective dyes and subjected to gel electrophoresis. An initial separation at pH 4-10 showed that few proteins were resolved in the pH 7-10 region, so the samples were run at pH 4-7. In this way, about 2200 spots were resolved.

The use of an internal standard allowed normalisation and comparison between the various gels. Using stringent criteria, five protein spots were found to be statistically different in the CJD samples compared with the others. These were cut from the gel to identify the proteins by mass spectrometry, although one protein remained a mystery because there was insufficient sample for identification. The team regarded this protein as one with high diagnostic potential for CJD and will aim to identify it in the future.

Two of the other four proteins were members of the 14-3-3 family, which was not unexpected. The remaining two were L-lactate dehydrogenase B-chain and gamma-enolase. Their suitability as biomarkers has yet to be validated but their discovery presents more possibilities for developing a diagnostic test that is more reliable than the current 14-3-3 immunoblotting test.

Other proteins that have been proposed previously as candidate markers for CJD, such as transthyretin, serotransferrin and gelsolin, were regulated on some gels but did not fulfil the stringent criteria for selection.

Otto and the team have demonstrated the validity of their approach for differentiating CJD from other neurodegenerative diseases and have presented several new candidates for biomarkers. The technique should also be applicable to other brain diseases, especially those in which brain proteins are transferred into CSF but the limitations with regard to low abundance proteins should be taken into account.

Related links:

Proteomics 2008, 8, 4357-4366: "Cerebrospinal fluid-optimized two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) facilitates the differential diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease"
Article by Steve Down

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Biologists Hunt for Mad Cow Deer, ask Help from Hunters

Bobby Futrell was hunting in Pender County on opening day of the eastern deer season. Vic French, a biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission found out Futrell had taken a deer and drove to his house after calling the hunter on his cell phone.

"We are sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease," said French. "I have taken some of my samples, but I need several more."

Chronic Wasting Disease is a disease of animals called cervids. The disease originated in the western states then spread to a few eastern states in the early 2000s. The disease infects black-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.

No one is certain where the disease originated. But it is thought to have infected captive deer after they were fed animal parts from cows or sheep.

According to Evin Stanford, the state's deer biologist, CWD is similar to mad cow disease in the way it infects brain tissues. Once it is established, it is difficult -- if not impossible -- to eradicate.

"This is our second round of sampling," said Stanford. "The first was conducted five years ago. We have never found CWD in any deer in North Carolina. The closest occurrence was in West Virginia."

Stanford said CWD is not caused by a virus or bacteria. It is caused by a protein called a prion. Prions multiply in the nervous system until they interfere with motor functions. Deer with the disease may exhibit many different symptoms and may take five years after becoming infected to show signs of infection. Others die quickly.

Anyone seeing a deer with tremors, lack of coordination, walking in circles or standing in one spot for long periods of time, or showing excessive salivation and urination should notify the Commission. But many deer may show these outward signs of CWD when in reality they are suffering from another disease or injury.

"That's why it's important that we sample deer taken by hunters, to give us a statistical look at what may be occurring," said Stanford. "We are also sampling road-killed deer. If we find a deer with CWD, we have a plan in place to deal with it.

"We would attempt to reduce deer densities within a 3-square mile area around the site where the infected deer occurred to slow or prevent the spread of the disease."

Stopping the spread of CWD would be difficult or impossible. Buried remains of deer with the disease still showed the presence of prions after two months. Since they are not living, prions cannot be killed. Only strong chemicals or high heat would likely destroy them. Stanford said CWD appears to be spread directly and indirectly.

"CWD appears to be associated with the alimentary route," he said. "Saliva, urine or feces seem to play a role, with the strongest evidence pointing toward feces. Studies show live infected animals can be put in a facility and removed and non-infected animals will still get the disease.

"You can put animals in a facility with a decaying animal and they will also get the disease.

In western deer herds, CWD does not appear to have much of an impact. In the wide-open spaces, deer occur sparsely and therefore may have low transmission rates. However, in deer-dense states east of the Mississippi, CWD could have a severe impact, perhaps even eliminating deer from the landscape if it should gain a foothold. In areas of northern states where CWD is present, reducing the deer population to control the spread has not been effective.

People have obviously been eating CWD-infected deer in western states since the 1960s, so apparently the disease does not create problems with humans like mad cow disease, which comes from cattle. But hunters are advised not to eat infected deer nonetheless.

The Commission has an active program for preventing CWD from entering North Carolina. All deer hunters should visit the commission's website at to familiarize themselves with the plan. Prohibitions on importing deer or deer parts from areas where CWD is present are in place.

Hunters should not call the Commission to offer deer for sampling. Biologists will contact hunters in the field or obtain their contact information through the harvest-reporting network. The deer's head is removed and the obex (brain stem) and the retropharyngeal lymph nodes excised.

"We want hunters to know how important it is to help us obtain at least 1,000 samples," said Stanford. "If they are approached by a biologist, we would appreciate their cooperation."

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

EEE Reported in PA

Animal Health Emergency Management and Information Network

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services

Craig Shultz, DVM, Director

Telephone No: 717-772-2852 Fax No: 717-787-1868


Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE, "Sleeping Sickness")

Case Reported in Pennsylvania

A diagnosis of EEE was recently made in a horse from Warren County.
The horse, reported as a "juvenile" percheron filly, had a
36-hour history of progressive depression an fever. She was ataxic and
became recumbent prior to euthanasia on September 9, 2008. Laboratory
testing at the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory diagnosed EEE by PCR
testing. The horse was negative for rabies and West Nile Virus.

The EEE virus is transmitted to horses and humans through the bite of
an infected mosquito. The main transmission cycle is between birds and
mosquitoes. Although many species of mosquitoes can become infected
with EEE, the most important mosquito species in maintaining the
bird-mosquito transmission cycle is Culiseta melanura. Other mosquito
species, acting as "bridges" between infected birds and
susceptible mammals, include Aedes and Culex species. Horses are
considered to be dead end hosts. The incubation period is reported as
3 to 10 days.

Annual vaccination against EEE in horses is recommended and horse
owners are encouraged to discuss vaccination with their veterinarians.

In response to this case in Pennsylvania, mosquito surveillance in
the area will be increased in early 2009.

Friday, November 7, 2008

ND Issues Warning About Lead Contaminated Meat

North Dakota Health Officials Issue Warning Over Lead-Contaminated Meat

Pregnant Women and Children in High Risk Group
Health officials in North Dakota have issued a recommendation that wild game killed with lead bullets not be consumed by pregnant women and children younger than 6.

The warning is based on findings from a study released on Wednesday, which evaluated lead levels in the blood of more than 700 state residents. The results indicated higher than normal lead levels in those who had eaten game killed with lead bullets.

The study was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is the first to show a connection between lead traces in wild game and higher levels of lead in people who consume wild game.

The study follows on from an earlier finding by a physician conducting tests by CT scan, which showed lead in samples of donated deer meat. This prompted warnings to be issued in the Spring by North Dakota and other states, about eating venison killed with lead bullets. As an additional precaution, food pantries were ordered by North Dakota's health department to throw out donated venison.

NOV-07-08: Study links lead in blood to wild game consumption [AP: LEAD IN BLOOD CONNECTED TO WILD GAME]

Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered illness or damages relating to exposure to lead-contaminated meat, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Click here for legal help and a free evaluation of your possible case

Contaminated Pet Food Makes Humans Sick

Update: Recall of Dry Dog and Cat Food Products Associated with Human Salmonella Schwarzengrund Infections --- United States, 2008

On May 16, 2008, CDC reported on a 2006--2007 multistate outbreak of infection with Salmonella enterica serotype Schwarzengrund that was associated with dry dog food (1). At the time of that report, a total of 70 cases had been reported from 19 states, with the last case identified on October 1, 2007. Subsequently, an additional case was identified on December 29, 2007. Epidemiologic and environmental investigations have suggested the source of the outbreak was dry pet food produced by one manufacturer, Mars Petcare US. This report updates the previous CDC report, provides additional epidemiologic findings, and describes additional actions taken by public health agencies and the manufacturer. In 2008, eight more cases have been reported, bringing the total number of cases in the outbreak to 79. On September 12, 2008, the company announced a nationwide voluntary recall of all dry dog and cat food products produced during a 5-month period at one Pennsylvania plant.* Dry pet food has a 1-year shelf life. Contaminated products identified in recalls might still be in the homes of purchasers and could cause illness. Persons who have these products should not use them to feed their pets but should discard them or return them to the store.

During 2006--2007, CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and multiple state health departments investigated reports to PulseNet† of persons infected with a strain of S. Schwarzengrund with an indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern.§ A case was defined as a laboratory-confirmed infection with the outbreak strain of S. Schwarzengrund in a person residing in the United States who either had symptoms beginning on or after January 1, 2006, or (if the symptom onset date was unknown) had S. Schwarzengrund isolated from a specimen on or after January 1, 2006. Investigators initially identified 70 cases, mostly in children. As a result of these findings, on August 21, 2007, Mars Petcare US (referred to as manufacturer A in the May 16, 2008 report) announced voluntary recalls of selected sized bags of two brands of dry dog food, both manufactured by the company at its plant in Everson, Pennsylvania. The recall was based on microbiologic testing by FDA, which found unopened bags of the two brands contaminated with the outbreak strain. Other brands of dry dog and cat food produced at the same facility were not included in that recall. The Everson, Pennsylvania, facility ceased operations during July--November 2007 to enable cleaning, disinfection, and renovation, and resumed normal operations in mid-November 2007.

Despite the 2007 recall, the outbreak strain of S.Schwarzen-grund was isolated from eight more ill persons during January--October 2008 (Figure 1), bringing the total number of cases to 79 in 21 states (Figure 2). The ill persons were residents of Pennsylvania (three), Georgia (two), New York (two), and Texas (one). The last reported specimen collection date was September 18, 2008. The only connection between the ill persons was infection with the outbreak strain; they shared no household or family contacts.

Among the eight ill persons, five were female. Among the seven whose age was available, the median age was 8 months (range: 4 months--39 years); six persons were aged <2 years. Of five ill persons for whom clinical information was available, all five had visited a health-care professional, two had bloody diarrhea (no information on symptoms was available for the other three), and one had been hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Of six households with pet ownership known, all six had pets (i.e., dogs, cats, or both), but no illness was reported in any pet. Pets in three households were being fed a brand of dry pet food known to be produced at the Everson plant. Investigators collected seven dog stool specimens and two samples of dry dog food from the homes of two Pennsylvania patients. None of the stool specimens or dog food samples tested positive for Salmonella. Bag lot numbers and "best by" dates could not be examined in these households because the dog food had been poured into plastic containers and the bags discarded. Consequently, investigators could not be certain that the dog food from the two households had been produced at the Everson plant, and, if so, whether the dog food had been produced after the plant was reopened in November 2007 or earlier.

After additional outbreak-linked illnesses were identified in 2008, FDA conducted another investigation. In August 2008, FDA found the outbreak strain of S. Schwarzengrund in multiple brands of finished product at the plant, prompting another recall of products by Mars Petcare US. On September 12, the company announced a nationwide voluntary recall of all dry dog and cat food products produced at the Everson plant from February 18 to July 29, 2008, when production again was suspended at the plant. In addition, Mars Petcare US has taken steps to ensure that recalled products are no longer on store shelves. On October 1, the company announced that the Everson plant would be closed permanently. The FDA investigation is continuing.

Reported by: M Deasy, M Moll, MD, V Urdaneta, MD, S Ostroff, MD, Pennsylvania Dept of Health. E Villamil, MPH, P Smith, MD, New York State Dept of Health. PulseNet; C Barton Behravesh, DVM, IT Williams, PhD, Div of Foodborne, Bacterial, and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note:

This outbreak of human Salmonella Schwarzengrund infections has continued over a 3-year period, likely because of continued contamination in the Everson, Pennsylvania, pet food production facility. S. Schwarzengrund is a rare serotype of Salmonella. Although the outbreak PFGE pattern is the most common S. Schwarzengrund PFGE pattern in the PulseNet database, isolates with that pattern made up only 20 (4%) of the 498 S. Schwarzengrund isolates from humans submitted to PulseNet during 1999--2005, suggesting that the illnesses described in this report resulted from a common source.

Considering the wide distribution of these products and the relatively small number of cases, the attack rate for this outbreak appears to be low. However, only an estimated 3% of all Salmonella infections in the United States are laboratory confirmed and reported to surveillance systems (2). A low attack rate supports the hypothesis that infection might have resulted from practices in a limited number of households that brought humans into contact with the contaminated pet food and led to amplification of the organisms (e.g., cross-contamination in the kitchens or irregular cleaning of pet food bowls that might promote bacteria growth). In addition, the strain might primarily affect persons (e.g., young children) who are more susceptible to lower infective doses.

This outbreak is the first documented outbreak to associate human Salmonella infections with contaminated dry dog food and to trace human illness to a contaminated pet food plant. The original source of contamination and mechanisms for continued contamination in the Everson plant over a 3-year period are unknown. The absence of cases during January--March 2008 suggests that cleaning and disinfection of the plant might have had some effect. FDA is working with Mars Petcare US to better understand this problem.

Since 2006, at least 13 recall announcements involving 135 pet products (e.g., dry dog food and cat food, pet treats, raw diets, and pet supplements) have been issued because of Salmonella contamination.¶ These recalls have resulted from contamination with multiple serotypes of Salmonella and have been associated with multiple pet food manufacturing plants in the United States. Pet products typically are recalled after product testing indicates contamination with Salmonella. To date, no human illness has been associated with these other pet food recalls.

Although the last reported case in this outbreak was tested on September 18, 2008, additional cases might occur. The September 2008 recall involved approximately 23,109 tons of dry pet foods, representing 105 brands. However, dry pet food has a 1-year shelf life, and contaminated product might still be in the homes of purchasers and could produce illness.

State and local health departments that identify ill persons with the outbreak strain should query ill persons or their caregivers to find out about pet-related exposures, including brands of dry pet food used in the home. When possible, pet stool specimens and samples of dry pet food should be collected and submitted for laboratory testing. Hypothesis-generating interviews for enteric infections should routinely include questions on contact with pets and other animals, pet food, pet treats, and pet supplements.

Consumers and health departments should be aware that all dry pet food, pet treats (3), and pet supplements (4) might be contaminated with pathogens such as Salmonella, and consumers should use precautions with all brands of dry pet food, treats, and supplements. In contrast, canned pet food is unlikely to be contaminated with such pathogens because the manufacturing process should eliminate bacterial contamination. To prevent Salmonella infections, persons should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap immediately after handling dry pet foods, pet treats, and pet supplements, and especially before preparing and eating food for humans. Infants should be kept away from pet feeding areas. Children aged <5 years should not be allowed to touch or eat dry pet food, treats, or supplements.

In addition to transmission of Salmonella from contact with dry pet food, humans can acquire Salmonella infection from contact with the feces of animals that acquired Salmonella infection from contaminated dry pet food or other sources. Effective hand washing after handling pets and animal feces will prevent such infections. Persons who suspect that contact with dry pet food or pets has caused illness should consult their health-care providers. Additional information on the transmission of Salmonella from pets to humans is available at


CDC. Multistate outbreak of human Salmonella infections caused by contaminated dry dog food---United States, 2006--2007. MMWR 2008;57:521--4.
Voetsch AC, Van Gilder TJ, Angulo FJ, et al. FoodNet estimate of the burden of illness caused by nontyphoidal Salmonella infections in the United States. Clin Infect Dis 2004;38:S127--34.
CDC. Human salmonellosis associated with animal-derived pet treats---United States and Canada, 2005. MMWR 2006;55:702--5.
Food and Drug Administration. The Hartz Mountain Corporation recalls Vitamin Care for Cats because of possible health risk. Rockville, MD: Food and Drug Administration; 2007. Available at

* The list of recalled products is available at

† The national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance.

§ XbaI pattern JM6X01.0015.

¶ Available at