Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 7 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 7-Jan-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 8-Jan-2004
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BSE update for 5 January 2004

USDA has made the decision to depopulate the bull calf operation in Mabton, Washington, that includes a calf born to the heifer infected with BSE prior to the heifer’s slaughter this past December. There are approximately 450 cattle on the premises, and operations will proceed this week but will likely be dependent on weather conditions in the Mabton area. The calves will be transported to a currently unused slaughter facility.

USDA will have animal care experts on hand at both the farm where the calves will be loaded and at the slaughter facility to ensure humane treatment of the animals. The animals will be euthanized according to American Veterinary Medical Association animal welfare euthanasia guidelines. No products from any of the slaughtered animals will enter the human food chain, nor will products be rendered.

USDA stresses again that BSE is not spread from cow to cow and that there is a low risk of transmission of BSE from heifer to calf. In addition, these animals are too young an age to develop BSE. However, because the calf of the BSE-infected cow cannot be definitively identified, USDA will depopulate the herd out of an abundance of caution.

In other areas, USDA expects results soon on the DNA testing of the affected animal to help determine that animal’s herd of origin. In conjunction with Canadian officials, USDA will announce those results when they become available.

Please see last week’s daily BSE updates at for more information, as well as the transcripts of the daily BSE media briefings at

On December 23, 2003, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a Class II recall of approximately 10,410 pounds of raw beef that may have been exposed to tissues containing the infectious agent that causes BSE. FSIS’ designation of the recall as Class II was due to the extremely low likelihood that the beef contained the infectious agent that causes BSE. According to scientific evidence, the tissues of highest infectivity are the brain, spinal cord, and distal ileum. All were removed from the rest of the carcass at slaughter. Therefore, the meat produced were cuts that would not be expected to be infected or have an adverse public health impact. The recall is being conducted out of an abundance of caution.

  • FSIS is continuing its around the clock investigation and has determined the points of distribution for all of the recalled product.
  • All of the primary, secondary and tertiary establishments that may have received product subject to this recall have been contacted by FSIS compliance officers. All have acknowledged being contacted about the recall by their suppliers. All have confirmed securing whatever product they had upon notification of the recall and making their customers aware of the recall as well.
  • FSIS will now focus its efforts toward verifying the return and destruction of the recalled products.
  • Recall effectiveness checks have determined that product was sent to six states. Those states are Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho and Montana. Alaska, Hawaii and Guam did not receive any of the products subject to recall.

Consumers with other food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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