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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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;

No comments: