Posts Tagged Bovine Spongiform Encepholopathy
by: Elizabeth Renter
July 4, 2012
It’s illegal to feed cows food containing beef products. That doesn’t only seem common sense, doing otherwise almost seems inherently evil. It’s not moral grounds on which the law was written, but in an effort to control the spread of “Mad Cow Disease”, also known as Bovine Spongiform Encepholopathy (BSE).
Mad Cow Disease can be spread to humans (where it is called Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease) and lead to dementia and death. Just a few months ago, in April 2012, a cow at a rendering plant in California was found to have the disease. Because the mass-producing meat industry is all about getting Americans the most meat for the cheapest price, today’s cows might still be eating their cousins in a form of feed called “chicken litter”.
According to Mercola, chicken litter is a “rendered down mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, features, and spilled feed.” So, where’s the beef? Well chicken feed contains beef and bone meal. And this feed makes up about 33% of chicken litter. Because chicken litter is cheap—cattle producers love it.
By: Dr. Mercola
June 30, 2012
Mad Cow Disease (the common term for Bovine Spongiform Encepholopathy (BSE) made headlines once again in April 2012, when a dairy cow at a rendering facility in California was found to have the disease.
BSE, a progressive neurological disorder of cattle that can be transmitted to other species, including humans (in people it’s called Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease) is a devastating condition that typically leads to progressive dementia and death, often within a year of the onset of symptoms.
One of the primary ways Mad Cow Disease is transmitted is when cows are fed bone meal and waste products from other cattle infected with the disease.
As a result, it’s now illegal to feed beef-based products to cows … but the beef industry has found ways to circumvent this rule by using a feed product known as “chicken litter.”
Cows Fed “Chicken Litter” May be Indirectly Eating Parts From Cows
Chicken litter, a rendered down mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, feathers and spilled feed, is marketed as a cheap feed product for cows. The beef industry likes it because it’s cheaper than even corn and soy, so an estimated 2 BILLION pounds are purchased each year; yes, this is a very serious amount of this product being fed to animals.
As if the idea of your burger being the product of manure and feathers isn’t unsettling enough, about one-third of the chicken litter concoction is spilled feed, which includes cow meat and bone meal often used to feed chickens but which is supposed to be off limits for cows.
However, any cow that eats chicken litter may also be consuming various beef products intended for chickens – the very same feed products that spurred the Mad Cow Disease outbreak in the first place! And it’s not only the spilled feed that’s the problem; the infectious agent can also be passed through the chicken manure as well.
“The primary animal-health protective measure [against Mad Cow Disease] is a feed ban. In 1997, the FDA implemented regulations that prohibit the feeding of most mammalian proteins to ruminants, including cattle. This feed ban is the most important measure to prevent the transmission of the disease to cattle. The feed ban was strengthened in 2008, by additional prohibitions on those tissues that have the highest risk of transmitting BSE. These additions to the feed ban prohibit the use of brain and spinal cord from cattle 30 months of age and older for use in any animal feed.”
It sounds like once again profits have won out over public safety, and while cases worldwide have declined dramatically (from a peak of 37,311 cases in 1992 to 29 cases in 2011), allowing cow parts back into cattle feed, albeit indirectly, could easily reverse this progress.
That is, if progress has really been made. In Europe, all older cattle are tested for Mad Cow Disease, and in Japan every cow slaughtered for human consumption is tested, a move that experts say would add just pennies to a pound of beef if implemented in the United States.ii
But U.S. regulators are still only testing 40,000 of the 35 million cattle slaughtered annually … it was only by happenstance that the 2012 case was detected as part of the USDA’s surveillance program for cattle. Only just over 0.1 percent of U.S. cattle are tested prior to entering the food supply, so there’s really no way of knowing how many cattle with Mad Cow Disease might end up on dinner plates.
USDA is Failing in Protecting Animal Feed, Americans from Mad Cow Disease
The USDA is simply not doing enough to prevent the spread of, and to detect, BSE cases. This includes not only the chicken litter feed that’s commonly fed to cows, but also, according to the physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:iii
- “U.S. feed producers are blatantly violating restrictions on feed production. Despite a 1997 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on the feeding of most mammalian remains to ruminants, which unfortunately includes significant exceptions impairing the protective intent of the law, a January 2001 FDA report showed that, of 180 renderers, 16 percent lacked warning labels on feeds designed to differentiate those intended for ruminants from those for nonruminants, and 28 percent had no system to prevent the actual mixing of these feeds.
- The Government Accountability Office issued a follow up report in 2005, noting many program weaknesses in compliance inspections, including FDA’s guidance for inspectors to visually examine facilities and equipment and review invoices and other documents instead of routinely sampling cattle feed to test for potentially prohibited material.
- Although the World Health Organization called for the riskiest parts of bovine tissues (i.e., brain, eyes, spinal cord, intestines) not to be used in the human food supply or in animal feed to protect from BSE, the United States still allows the feeding of these potentially risky tissues to people, pigs, pets, poultry, and fish.
- There are few restrictions on the use of animal byproducts, including blood and blood products, gelatin, milk, and milk products, in feeds through which prions may be transmitted.
- There are no limits on the use of nonruminant, such as pig or horse, remains in feeds, due to an exemption in the 1997 ban. Because prions are so difficult to destroy, if the remains of a BSE-infected cow are fed to a pig or horse and then the pig or horse remains are fed to cows, the cows may subsequently be infected. Similarly, ruminant remains can be fed to poultry and, in turn, poultry feces are routinely used in cattle feed.
- There are no limits on the “recycling” of beef or other meat products in the form of garbage from restaurants or other institutions for use in animal feeds.” Continue Reading At: Mercola.com