USDA inspector general says BSE hunt is flawed

first_img At a news briefing yesterday, Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said that the report largely reflects the surveillance program as it existed in March and that USDA is already addressing many of the problems cited in the document. The USDA posted a transcript of the briefing on its Web site. Before the nation’s first BSE case was found in Washington last December, the USDA had been testing about 20,000 cattle per year for BSE, focusing on disabled cattle and those showing possible signs of central nervous system (CNS) disease. After the first case turned up, the department moved to increase testing. The expanded surveillance was launched in June with the aim of testing more than 200,000 cattle over the next 12 to 18 months. DeHaven also asserted, “Nothing in the report would suggest there has been any compromise to public health.” He said the USDA continues to take the most important precaution for protecting the public from BSE-tainted meat products: removing high-risk cattle parts, or specified-risk materials, from carcasses destined for the food supply. The report says the plan is based on some questionable assumptions, does not accurately reflect the geographic distribution of cattle, and does not ensure the testing of all high-risk cattle. In addition, the report says that in the past 2 to 3 years, more than 500 cattle that had possible symptoms of neurologic disease were not tested for BSE. Masters said the inspector general’s office has found “no evidence of any records falsification by FSIS or USDA employees related to the downer cow.” DeHaven said it is not unusual for a cow with neurologic disease to go down and appear disabled but later get up again. Testing only 20,000 apparently healthy older cattle may not give an accurate measure of the prevalence of BSE in the 45 million adult cattle in the nation. “The problems disclosed during our review, if not corrected, may negatively impact the effectiveness of USDA’s overall BSE surveillance program . . . and reduce the credibility of any assertions regarding the prevalence of BSE in the United States,” the 54-page report states. Also at the news briefing, Barbara Masters, acting APHIS administrator, said a separate inspector general’s investigation has turned up no evidence of wrongdoing in the USDA’s assessment of the cow in Washington that was found to have BSE. A USDA veterinarian at the slaughter plant had examined the cow and determined that it was unable to walk, but others at the plant have alleged they saw the cow walking. The inspector general’s report cites several alleged flaws in the expanded surveillance program: Transcript of Jul 13 USDA news briefinghttp://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0289.04.html Some of the dead cattle were collected directly from farms, while others were collected at rendering plants and salvage plants, DeHaven said. But regardless of where samples were collected, “for the most part those are animals off the farm,” he added. Concerning the charge that many cattle with signs of CNS disease have not been tested, DeHaven said, “We’re not focusing on the past but ensuring that in this program and in the future we do collect those samples. So we have, for example, instructed our field staff, when in doubt take a sample.” The current plan will not permit APHIS to obtain “a statistically appropriate geographical representation of the US cattle population.” The report says the surveillance as it has operated in recent months illustrate the problems with the USDA approach. In particular, of 680 cattle that were condemned at slaughter facilities because of possible CNS signs from fiscal years 2002 to 2004, it appears that only 162 were tested for BSE. The report blamed this on confusion over testing requirements and lack of coordination between APHIS and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The draft report was released a day early by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who has been a critic of the USDA. It was scheduled to be released today at a hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform. At the news briefing, as recorded in the transcript, DeHaven insisted that USDA is “testing precisely the population of animals that we should be testing,” including those with possible signs of CNS disease, downer cattle, and those that die before reaching a slaughter plant. Keith Collins, the USDA’s chief economist, acknowledged there is room for debate about the USDA’s assumption that BSE is found only in cattle classified as high-risk. He said it “is not an assumption that is right or wrong,” but one that makes it possible to estimate the sensitivity of the testing program. Following the report’s recommendation, he said, “We are going to look at alternative approaches to that and see if we can provide a fuller context of the sampling program.” The testing effort focuses on cattle that can’t walk (downers), those showing CNS signs or other possible signs of BSE, and those that die on farms. Plans also call for testing about 20,000 apparently healthy older cattle, chosen at random. If 268,000 cattle are tested, the program should make it possible to identify the disease at a level of 1 case in 10 million cattle with 99% confidence, the USDA has said. In addition, USDA has not “adequately pursued” BSE testing for cattle that showed signs of rabies but tested negative for that disease, according to the inspector general. Laboratories that handle rabies testing have not consistently submitted rabies-negative samples for BSE testing, because there has been no formal mechanism for that. He said that in June, the first month of the expanded testing program, APHIS succeeded in testing samples from many cattle that died on farms: about 70% of the 11,000 cattle tested were in that category. He said officials had previously estimated that “dead animals” would constitute about 56% of all high-risk cattle. APHIS cannot easily identify and test all the cattle in the high-risk population, especially those that die on farms, which make up the largest share of high-risk cattle. DeHaven said inspector general’s reports ordinarily are not released until the agencies involved have had a chance to review and comment on them. Jul 14, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – A draft report by the inspector general of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the department’s expanded surveillance program for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has several flaws that could lead to unreliable estimates of the prevalence of BSE in American cattle. See also: The plan assumes that BSE is confined to high-risk cattle, but studies show that healthy-looking animals can have the disease.last_img read more

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Liverpool wait on Man City slip-up to clinch long-awaited title

first_imgLiverpool will be crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years on Thursday should Manchester City fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Mohamed Salah scores Liverpool’s second goal Jurgen Klopp’s men moved to the brink of a long-awaited Premier League title in the style that has made them worthy champions-elect by thrashing Crystal Palace 4-0 on their return to Anfield behind closed doors on Wednesday. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane scored the goals as the Reds opened up a 23-point lead at the top of the table. Should City keep the title race alive at Chelsea, a point will be good enough for Liverpool to win the league when the top two meet in Manchester on July 2. “Tonight was a big step, that’s clear,” said Klopp. “We’ve all still got to play seven games. If we play like this it’s really not nice to play against us.” City boss Pep Guardiola said on Wednesday his priority is Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final rather than prolonging Liverpool’s wait and he could rest players for a trip to Newcastle at the weekend.Advertisement Promoted ContentCan Playing Too Many Video Games Hurt Your Body?Which Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?7 Facts About Black Holes That Will Blow Your Mind8 Addictive And Fun Coffee FactsWhy Go Veg? 7 Reasons To Do This10 Simple Product Ideas That Made Their Creators Millionaires7 Universities Where Getting An Education Costs A Hefty Penny8 Fascinating Facts About CoffeeWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its GrowthBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemUnusual And Unique Beauty Of Indian Women Liverpool’s famous Kop end was draped in flags for Anfield’s return behind closed doors “Pep should play poker,” added Klopp. “They are brilliant, the football they play is unbelievable. “We are different and we have to be. There are different ways of playing football and I like them both.” Alexander-Arnold opened the floodgates for Liverpool on Wednesday when the right-back curled a sumptuous free-kick beyond the grasp of Wayne Hennessey to settle any nerves on 23 minutes. The England international admitted many of his teammates will be tuning into events in West London, but wants this Liverpool side to go on and rewrite the record books no matter when they clinch the title. City set the Premier League points record of 100 two seasons ago, but Klopp’s side could still reach 107 with seven games remaining. “A lot of us will watch it tomorrow but not get too excited,” said Alexander-Arnold. “We’ve still got to prepare for the game next week regardless. We’ve still got seven games left I think and we’re going to try and get all 21 points from those games.” Read Also: 15-year-old Romero makes La Liga historyThe front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Mane have been key to Liverpool’s rise over the past three years from struggling just to qualify for the Champions League to winning that competition last season and now running away with the English top-flight.All three combined beautifully for the fourth 20 minutes from time as Firmino fed Salah, whose pass picked out the run of Mane and the Senegalese slotted into the far corner.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading… Before kick-off “You’ll Never Walk Alone” boomed around a deserted Anfield, but without the usual accompanying chorus of nearly 55,000 fans.Instead, banners and flags were draped over The Kop on the night Liverpool could have clinched the title had they won the Merseyside derby on Sunday.“Imagine if this stadium would have been full today and all the people could have experienced it live,” said Klopp. “I don’t think the game could have been better because my boys played like everybody was in the stadium.”From the start, Liverpool looked far sharper than in that goalless draw at Everton in their first match for three months.“There was a lot more rhythm and fluency than Sunday,” said Alexander-Arnold. “Today we’ve come out, started fast and didn’t really put a foot wrong in the whole game. It will go down as one of our best performances of the season.”Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates his stunning free-kickSalah showed a clinical touch to net his 21st goal of the season from Fabinho’s ball over the top to make it 2-0 just before half-time.Liverpool’s long wait for a title has been extended by three months due to the unprecedented coronavirus shutdown.That wait could take just one more day, another week or slightly longer should City show their pride to win the battle of the top two next week.However, there remains no doubt the title drought is coming to an end and Wednesday’s dominant display underlined why they will be champions.Fabinho’s piledriver set the seal on a 23rd straight league win at Anfield as the Brazilian drilled home from fully 30 yards.last_img read more

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Adams makes Ghana squad for Montenegro match

first_imgGoalkeeper Stephen Adams has earned a place in the Black Stars for Ghana’s friendly against Montenegro next month. The Aduana Stars goalkeeper has been included in the squad announced by coach Kwesi Appiah on Monday for the friendly with the Brave Falcons on 5 March. Rennes defender John Boye returns to the squad after missing out with an injury. The match against Montenegro forms part of the Black Stars preparation for the World Cup in June. The game will be played at the Stadium Pod Goricum in Podgorica.The match will kick-off at 1800 local time.Ghana squad: Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromgodset, Norway), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars) Defenders: Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Samuel Inkoom (Platanias, Greece), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), David Addy (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor, Turkey), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France) Midfielders: Michael Essien (AC Milan, Italy), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke, Germany), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough, England), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Christian Atsu (Vitesse Arnhem, Holland), Andre Ayew (Marseille, France) Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes, Italy), Jordan Ayew (Marseille, France)last_img read more

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