[Federal Register: July 17, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 138)] [Rules and Regulations] [Page 40939-40948] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:fr17jy08-1]
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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Food Safety and Inspection Service
9 CFR Part 390
[FDMS Docket Number FSIS-2005-0028] RIN 0583-AD10
Availability of Lists of Retail Consignees During Meat or Poultry Product Recalls
AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the Federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to provide that the Agency will make available to the public the names and locations of the retail consignees of meat and poultry products that have been recalled by a federally-inspected meat or poultry establishment if the recalled product has been distributed to the retail level. This rule will apply only where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the recalled product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death (Class I recalls). FSIS will routinely post this information on its Web site as it compiles the information during its recall verification activities. FSIS is taking this action to provide an additional mechanism for prompting consumers to examine products stored in their refrigerator, freezer, or cupboard when there is a reasonable probability that the product will cause adverse health consequences. The retail consignee information will complement the product identification information that FSIS already makes available and will provide additional opportunities for local media outlets and State and local health officials to transmit more targeted information about the recall to consumers.
EFFECTIVE DATE: August 18, 2008.
snip...see full text ;
ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MAN, one small step by mankind, and another fumble by our government, and just another band aid approach with something that needs tourniquets. another win win for tort reform. another win win for USDA/FDA et al on mad cow disease and the consumers that consume suspect mad cow beef. if anyone would have any stones at all, they would have included class 1, 2, and 3, recalls. but i guess as usual, anything that poisons you and kills you slowly, over a period of time, i guess that is still acceptable here in the good old USA, and the saddest part is, the consumer accepts it. ...
still disgusted in sunny, hot, baycliff, texas, where galveston bay is so polluted, you cannot eat the crabs, specs, or catfish anymore, where the deadly flesh eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus lives, so you cannot get in the water today, where fresh tomatoes and fresh jalapeños are linked to salmonella outbreak, home, home on the range, where the air is so polluted you cannot go outside anymore, home, home on the range, where here in Texas, we have atypical mad cow disease, where we also feed cows to cows, and 5.5 grams is acceptable safe level via FDA? where highly suspect downers get rendered without any mad cow test some days, where the deer and antelope play, and where CWD is spreading in the USA, home, home on the range, where the downer cow school lunch program exposed thousands and thousands of kids all across the nation over a long period of time to dead stock downers, each day, the most highly likely to have BSE, and where sCJD is rising, and mutating. home, home on the range, Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play, where there is seldom heard, a discouraging word, where you can see the clouds through the yellow haze, all day. and where people just sit idly by, day by day. ...
Date Filed: March 5, 2004 Court: King County Superior Court (Washington) Location: Seattle Ticker Symbol: NYSE:KR
Join This Suit Tell a Friend
Consumers filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Quality Food Centers (QFC), a subsidiary of Kroger (NYSE: KR), claiming the grocery store chain should have used information gathered through its customer loyalty program to warn those who purchased beef potentially tainted with ?mad cow disease.? The USDA issued a recall notice for the meat on December 23, 2003. QFC sold the meat through its approximately 40 stores across Washington.
The suit claims that even though QFC had the ability to quickly warn every customer who purchased the potentially deadly meat if they used the QFC Advantage Card at the time of purchase, the grocery store neglected to do so.
The suit seeks to represent every consumer in Washington state who purchased the recalled meat from QFC.
June 14, 2004 - the King County Superior Court gave the green light to a suit claiming QFC didn't do enough to warn customers about beef potentially tainted with 'mad cow disease,' finding enough questions about the beef and QFC's responsibility to explore in the courtroom.
Read the court order.
QFC - 'Mad Cow' Frequently Asked Questions
What is the key issue in this suit? On December 23, 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recalled more than 10,000 pounds of raw beef that could have been exposed to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Humans consuming BSE-tainted meat can contract Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), an always-fatal condition.
QFC sold this meat throughout its stores in Washington. Even though QFC had the ability to quickly warn every customer who purchased the potentially deadly meat if they used the QFC advantage card at the time of purchase, the grocery store neglected to do so, the suit alleges.
Who does the suit seek to represent? The suit seeks to represent all persons who purchased recalled meat from any QFC store in the state of Washington.
Who are the defendants? Quality Food Centers, or QFC. Once a local, Northwest company, QFC is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the grocery chain giant, Kroger.
What does the suit seek? The suit asks the court to order QFC to establish a medical monitoring fund which would allow those who purchased and consumed the meat to seek medical care, checking for ? and if necessary, treating --- the infection of vCJD. The suit also seeks the creation of a medical notification system, allowing those who may have been exposed to the disease to receive periodic updates on research and treatment of vCJD. The suit also seeks unspecified damages for the plaintiffs.
Does the suit claim QFC violated specific laws? Yes. The lawsuit claims QFC violated the Washington Product Liability Act. In addition, the suit claims QFC was negligent by not warning consumers of the dangers associated with the affected meat.
Where was the lawsuit filed? The suit was filed in King County Superior Court on March 4, 2004.
How do I determine if I qualify to join the lawsuit? If you have a QFC Advantage card and believe that you bought recalled meat from a QFC store, you may be eligible to join the lawsuit. Click here to fill out the sign-up request form, or you can contact Hagens Berman attorneys.
What is the QFC Advantage Card? The Advantage Card is known in the grocery industry as a Customer Loyalty Card. Customers who sign up for QFC?s Advantage Card receive special discounts on selected items, but gives the grocery store chain the ability to track consumers? purchases in order to enhance their marketing efforts. In addition, grocery chains which offer affinity card programs often use the database and shopping pattern data to send users coupons and other marketing material. According to the complaint, QFC tracks every purchase made by consumers presenting the Advantage Card, including product description, date of purchase, store of purchase and the price, and saves that data with customer contact information.
What was QFC?s response to the meat recall? On Dec. 23, 2003, QFC received notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of a recall of approximately 10,410 lbs. of raw meat that may have been contaminated with the infectious agent that causes ?mad cow? disease. QFC did not act immediately on the recall notice but initially responded by denying that it had any of the tainted meat. On December 24 QFC pulled the meat from its shelves, but the company took no steps to directly warn consumers. It was not until Dec. 27 that QFC posted small signs in its stores recalling the tainted beef, according to the complaint. During that four day period when QFC was silent hundreds of consumers may have eaten the meat.
Can QFC determine if an Advantage Card holder purchased the potentially dangerous meat? Yes. In fact, consumers can now contact QFC directly and the company will provide information about meat purchases ? but only if you ask. Hundreds of other consumers who purchased the meat and are unaware of the situation have not heard from QFC, the complaint states.
Why was QFC sued even though they pulled the meat? Under Washington law since QFC ground the meat it is deemed a manufacturer and is strictly liable for any unsafe product. In addition QFC possessed specific and easily obtainable information on which customers purchased the recalled meat, but did not act to inform customers, the suit states. Considering the potential danger and risk of worry for consumers, and the ease of contacting consumers using database information, simply pulling the meat from the shelves and belatedly posting small signs was not an adequate response, according to the complaint.
What information on customer purchases does QFC track with the Advantage Card? QFC tracks every purchase that a customer with an Advantage Card makes, regardless of whether discounts are offered or not, according to the complaint.
Does the recently announced larger-than-expected recall of beef affect the lawsuit? No. Regardless of the size of the beef recall, attorneys believe the facts in the case remain the same.
How can I find out if I bought recalled meat from QFC? If you believe that you may have purchased recalled meat from a QFC store, and you have an Advantage Card, you can contact QFC and ask if your record shows you purchased recalled beef. You can contact QFC at 866-221-4141.
Isn?t QFC prohibited by privacy laws from contacting consumers with warnings like this? No ? the suit notes that the company will return car keys returned to the store if the keys have an Advantage Card attached. According the complaint, If QFC can return car keys by mail, why can?t they send a notice saying the meat a customer purchased in their store could cause an incurable, fatal disease? Further privacy laws would prevent QFC from disclosing information to third parties, disclosing the information to the customer whose card it is does not violate privacy laws. For example, if a trade group wanted to know the names of consumers who purchased a given drug sold at QFC, disclosure of that private information might be a privacy concern. However, disclosure to a consumer of his own records is not.
?Mad Cow? Disease
What is Mad Cow disease? In cows, mad cow disease is defined as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and is a progressive neurological disease. The human disease variant is know as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), which is a rare brain disorder that causes a rapid, progressive dementia and is always fatal, according to the complaint.
Where can I get more information on Mad Cow disease? The USDA provides information on the disease at www.usda.gov/.
What should I do if I believe that I?ve eaten recalled meat? According to the complaint, no screening tests or treatments have been found for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Those who suspect they?ve eaten recalled meat should contact their physician for more information.
Do Stores That Offer Loyalty Cards Have a Duty to Notify Customers of Product Safety Recalls? A Recent Suit Raises This Novel Question By ANITA RAMASASTRY ----
Thursday, Aug. 05, 2004
An interesting new Washington state court suit raises an important question: If a retailer benefits from collecting personally identifiable information about its customers, does it have a corresponding duty to use such data to alert its customers that products they've bought have been recalled for health or safety reasons? And if so, could turning over private data to companies actually create benefits, as well as privacy risks, for the consumer?
In the suit, consumer Jill Crowson is suing her grocery store -- Quality Food Center (QFC), a subsidiary of Kroger -- for negligent infliction of emotional distress and disregard of a "duty to warn" under the Washington Product Liability Act. Crowson alleges in her complaint that QFC failed to alert her family that ground beef it had sold them had been recalled in December's mad-cow scare.
Yet, Crowson says, QFC easily could have done so through information it maintained connected with her Advantage card - a "loyalty card" that meant QFC had Crowson's name, address and purchasing information. According to her complaint, QFC tracks every purchase made by consumers presenting the Advantage Card, including product description, date of purchase, store of purchase and the price, and saves that data alongside customer contact information.
Now, Crowson says, her family members "feel like walking time bombs" knowing they may be infected with the human form of mad-cow disease which the complaint states may have an up-to-30-year incubation period. And they are not the only ones: Crowson is seeking class action status for herself and what she believes are "hundreds" of similarly-situated Washington customers at QFC's approximately 40 stores in the state.
Some lawyers think Crowson's suit is a stretch. Federal law does not impose on companies a specific duty to notify consumers when tainted meat is recalled under the direction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as was the case here. Also, Crowson and her family, and the class she seeks to represent, are suing based on fear (and possible future harm), not current illness. Moreover, the chance they will actually get Mad Cow Disease some time in the future are apparently remote.
Nevertheless, the lawsuit has strong intuitive appeal: QFC could have saved the Crowsons and others like them a lot of worry, and perhaps sleepless nights, with what appears would have been minimal effort, using information at its digital fingertips. And the court has already once refused to dismiss it - finding that there were sufficient factual questions about the beef and about QFC's responsibility to the Crowsons, to merit further exploration of the evidence, through discovery and in the courtroom.
Regardless of the outcome of Crowson's suit, it underscores the need for retailers and policymakers to examine what sort of responsibilities come with private data gathering under loyalty card schemes.
The Lawsuit: The Chronology of Facts Alleged, and the Loyalty Card at Issue
On December 22 and 23, 2003, Crowson bought ground beef from a QFC store. Also on December 23, 2003, the USDA recalled Washington beef after it confirmed that a cow slaughtered in Washington had been infected with Mad Cow Disease. But Crowson says QFC did not pull the affected meat from its shelves until December 24, and did not post signs in its stores announcing the recall until December 27. By then, the Crowson family had eaten the meat.
Crowson states that she only learned of the recall by reading an article in her local newspaper. She said she subsequently called the supermarket chain, then faxed QFC a letter asking that her purchase be traced through her QFC Advantage card. On January 10, she was notified that her ground beef purchase was indeed from the recalled batch.
Crowson says that what QFC allegedly did in response to the recall - pulling the beef from shelves the next day, and posting signs three days after that -- was far from enough. She says it should have immediately warned customers who had bought possibly tainted meat through newspaper, radio and television advertising -- and by contacting individually those who, like her, had Advantage cards. Its failure to do so, she says, is what makes the company liable to her and other shoppers.
The Advantage Card is known in the retail industry as a customer "loyalty card" - providing discounts on specific items, in exchange for consumer information that will aid in better tailoring the company's marketing efforts. Combining the data from one's loyalty card application with data from other commercial databases or public records (for examples, mortgage records, or court filings) can often allow a very specific profile of each consumer.
Some states limit the types of information that a grocery store can collect from you when you register for a loyalty card. For example, California state law prohibits a grocery store from requiring that you turn over your social security or your driver's license number.
Companies, of course, stress the potential savings that might result from use of a loyalty card. Consider, for instance, the sales pitch on the QFC website it reads: "If you don't have a QFC Advantage Card, you're missing out! The Advantage Card is a powerful new way to save on the groceries you buy every day. It gives you the best of all possible worlds: premium quality, superb service and lower prices. That's something no other grocery store can match. So make sure you take advantage of the big savings."
Privacy advocates complain that loyalty cards result in the improper use - and, often, sale to third parties - of customers' private information. QFC apparently doesn't sell customers' data to third parties, however. Its website promises that "QFC will not release your name to any list service or manufacturer, and that such information will be held in the strictest of confidence-even within our company."
Privacy advocates also warn, however, that even if third-party sales of data are not allowed, the data compiled can always be accessed with a subpoena or warrant and used against the customer in court proceedings. Meanwhile, consumer advocates claim that certain loyalty cards don't really offer the savings they promise. Nevertheless, numerous stores employ loyalty cards.
Turning the Privacy Debate on Its Head: With Great Information, Comes Great Responsibility?
The Crowson lawsuit turns the privacy debate on its head. Typically, privacy advocates ask retailers to safeguard the personal information they collect about their shoppers. In this case, in contrast, plaintiff is asking that QFC delve into its database to notify her about a meat recall.
QFC does this very thing if a consumer loses his or her keys with an Advantage Card attached to them - returning the keys free of charge. So Crowson's attorney, Steve Berman, asks: "If they can contact you over a lost set of car keys, why couldn't they contact you and tell you that the beef you purchased could kill you?"
According to some news reports, QFC was reluctant to call customers regarding the recall based on privacy concerns. But in this case, the concerns seem misplaced. No privacy law is violated when a consumer communicates with the customer herself regarding private information - indeed, every offer the customer receives is, in a sense, this kind of communication. When the customer is receiving personalized discounts based on her purchase history, why can't she receive personalized health and safety warnings based on that history, too?
Was There a Duty to Warn Here?
From the law's perspective, the question will be not whether QFC ideally should have warned the Crowsons - of course it should have. The question will be if it had a legal duty to do so. Such a duty would come from either the common law of torts, which allows claims where there is a duty to behave reasonably to prevent foreseeable harm to others. . Or it might come from the Washington product liability statute - which, as noted above, creates a "duty to warn" in certain situations.
And of course, if there is no current duty, the legislature may see fit to pass a statute creating such a duty. :It may seem more prudent, however, for retailers to voluntarily assume such a responsibility. When companies benefit from collecting customer information, shouldn't they also assume a duty to protect customers from known risks associated with that very information? Some risks, of course, may be a matter of opinion. But this one was not: The fact of the risk was acknowledged by the USDA recall of the meat. With this kind of clear notice of the risk, it seems that QFC either does - or ought to - have a duty to protect customers from this risk.
Of course, should a retailer not wish to take on this responsibility, it can also change its loyalty program. QFC and other retailers could still track consumer purchases without asking them for personally identifiable information.
FindLaw's Writ - Ramasastry: Mad Cow in the USA
Family to sue grocery chain
A Seattle family that ate beef linked to the US's only known case of BSE has filed a classaction
lawsuit against the grocery chain QFC, claiming the company negligently exposed
them and others to "highly hazardous" meat and did not properly notify them that they had
bought it.34 The suit contends that Jill Crowson and her family bought and later ate ground
beef from their local QFC that was part of a batch processed at Vern's Moses Lake Meats on
9 December 2003 and included meat from the diseased Holstein. The beef was later shipped
to wholesalers and retailers in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana and Nevada.
After government scientists confirmed on 23 December that the Holstein was infected with
BSE, businesses began pulling potentially affected beef from store shelves under a voluntary
recall. But, the family's suit claims, although QFC was aware of the recall, the store did not
begin pulling the beef from about 40 of its stores until 24 December. The company also did
not try to warn customers about the recalled beef until 27 December – and only then with
small, inconspicuous signs inside the stores, the suit claims. The family only learned QFC had
sold any of the beef in question after reading a news story on 10 January about a man who
discovered his family had eaten affected beef that he bought at a local QFC store, Crowson
said. She later called QFC and faxed the company a signed letter asking that it track
purchases made on her QFC Advantage Card, and on 12 January the company notified
Crowson that the beef she bought and served to her family was, in fact, part of the recalled
batch, she said.
The family seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress and medical monitoring costs.
Crowson said her reason for bringing the lawsuit is not about money. "The more I've thought
about this, the angrier I've gotten," she said. Neither the company nor its parent corporation,
Kroger, have commented.
* GAO-05-51 October 2004 FOOD SAFETY (over 500 customers receiving potentially BSE contaminated beef) - TSS 10/20/04
October 2004 FOOD SAFETY USDA and FDA Need to Better Ensure Prompt and Complete Recalls of Potentially Unsafe Food
Page 38 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs To examine the voluntary recall of beef products associated with the December 2003 discovery of an animal infected with BSE, we analyzed the distribution lists USDA collected from companies and the verification checks it conducted to develop a diagram illustrating the location and volume of recalled beef that reached different levels of the distribution chain. We compared the distribution lists and verification checks to identify how many customers listed on the distribution lists did not receive the recalled beef and the number of customers not listed on distribution lists that received the recalled beef. We interviewed USDA and FDA staff involved with the recall to understand the timing of recall actions and the challenges encountered during the recall. To develop information on the 2002 recall of ground beef by a ConAgra plant in Greeley, Colorado, we reviewed USDA s recall file and other documents on the recall. We also met with the department s Office of Inspector General and reviewed the Inspector General s September 2003 report.1 We conducted our review from May 2003 through August 2004 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 1U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Great Plains Region Audit Report: Food Safety and Inspection Service: Oversight of Production Process and Recall at ConAgra Plant (Establishment 969), Report No. 24601-2-KC (September 2003). Page 39 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Appendix II On December 23, 2003, USDA announced that a cow in the state of Washington had tested positive for BSE commonly referred to as mad cow disease. This appendix describes the actions USDA took to recall the meat and the actions FDA took with respect to FDA-regulated products, such as animal feed and cosmetics, made from rendered parts of the animal. Beef Recall Was Triggered by a BSEPositive Sample from One Cow On December 9, 2003, the recalling company slaughtered 23 cows. USDA, in accordance with its BSE surveillance policy at the time, took a sample of 1 cow that was unable to walk, although the condition of the tested cow is now disputed. USDA did not process the sample in its Ames, Iowa National Veterinary Services Laboratory in an expedited manner because the cow did not show symptoms of neurological disorder. USDA test results indicated a presumptive positive for BSE on December 23, 2003. Recall Begun in December 2003 Was Completed in March 2004 On December 23, 2003, after learning about the positive BSE test, USDA headquarters notified the Boulder District Office, which is the field office with jurisdiction over the recalling firm. The Boulder District began gathering information about the recalling company s product distribution. Field staff telephoned the recalling company and were on-site at 7:00 p.m. The Boulder District initially thought 3 days of the recalling company s production would have to be recalled, but further examination of facility cleanup and shipping records revealed that it was only necessary to recall 1 day of production. USDA recall staff convened at 9:15 p.m. and discussed the science related to BSE and whether the recalling company s cleanup practices were sufficient to limit the recall to 1 day of production. Following USDA s determination to conduct a Class II recall that is, the beef posed a remote possibility of adverse health consequences USDA contacted the recalling company to discuss recall details and the press release. The press release and Recall Notification Report were released that evening. On December 24, 2003, USDA s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) sent inspectors to the recalling company s primary customers to obtain secondary customer distribution lists and product shipping records. USDA conducted 100 percent verification checks for this recall it contacted every customer that received the recalled meat. This level of verification checks is well above the percentag of checks conducted by USDA district offices for the Class I recalls we reviewed. Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 40 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs On December 26, 2003, USDA began checking the primary and secondary customers of the recalling company that it was aware of, although the entire product distribution chain was unknown. During the checks, USDA tried to determine if the product was further distributed, and it used verification checks to acquire distribution lists for secondary and tertiary customers of the recalling company. Verification checks continued until February 25, 2004. Three USDA districts conducted these verification checks. The Boulder District coordinated the checks and assigned checks to the Minneapolis District Office for customers in Montana and to the Alameda District Office for customers in California. USDA required that 100 percent of the primary checks, 50 percent of the secondary checks, and 20 percent of the tertiary checks be conducted on-site. According to USDA, more than 50 percent of the secondary checks were actually conducted on-site. FDA officials helped conduct verification checks. According to USDA, the recall took a long time to complete because USDA contacted each customer at least twice. USDA first contacted each customer to conduct the check and again to verify product disposition. On February 25, 2004, the Boulder District concluded that the recall was conducted in an effective manner. On March 1, 2004, USDA s Recall Management Division recommended that the agency terminate the recall, and USDA sent a letter to the recalling company to document that USDA considered the recall to be complete. Recall Was Complicated by Inaccurate Distribution Lists and Mixing of Potentially Contaminated and Noncontaminated Beef USDA used distribution lists and shipping records to piece together where the recalled product was distributed. According to USDA, one of the recalling company s three primary customers was slow in providing its customer list. USDA could not begin verification activities for that primary customer without this list. Furthermore, some customers of the recalling company provided USDA with imprecise lists that did not specify which customers received the recalled product. As a consequence, USDA could not quickly determine the scope of product distribution and had to take time conducting extra research using shipping invoices to determine which specific customers received the product. Even when USDA determined the amount and location of beef, the agency still had trouble tracking the beef in certain types of establishments, such as grocery store distributors. USDA could not easily track the individual stores where those distributors sent the beef because of product mixing Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 41 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs and the distributors record-keeping practices. Generally, distributors purchase beef from multiple sources, mix it in their inventory, and lose track of the source of the beef they send to the stores that they supply. To deal with this problem, USDA first identified the dates when recalled beef was shipped to the distributors and then asked for a list of the stores that were shipped any beef after those dates. Consequently, some stores were included in the recall that may never have received recalled beef. The recall was also complicated by repeated mixing of recalled beef with nonrecalled beef, thereby increasing the amount of meat involved in the recall. The recalling company slaughtered 23 cows on December 9, 2003, and shipped those and 20 other carcasses to a primary customer on December 10, 2003. The recalling company s carcasses were tagged to identify the slaughter date and the individual cow. The primary customer removed the identification tags and mixed the 23 recalled carcasses with the 20 nonrecalled carcasses. Because the carcasses could not be distinguished, the reca l included all 43 carcasses at the primary customer. After one round of processing at the primary customer, the meat from the carcasses was shipped to two other processing facilities. Both establishments further mixed the recalled meat from the 43 carcasses with meat from other sources. In all, the mixing of beef from 1 BSE-positive cow resulted in over 500 customers receiving potentially contaminated beef. Imprecise distribution lists and the mixing of recalled beef combined to complicate USDA s identification of where the product went. Specifically, on December 23, 2003, USDA s initial press release stated that the recalling company was located in Washington State. Three days later, on December 26, 2003, USDA announced that the recalled beef was distributed within Washington and Oregon. On December 27, 2003, USDA determined that one of the primary customers of the recalling firm distributed beef to facilities in California and Nevada, in addition to Washington and Oregon, for a total of four states. On December 28, 2003, USDA announced that some of the secondary customers of the recalling company may also have distributed the product to Alaska, Montana, Hawaii, Idaho, and Guam, for a total of eight states and one territory. On January 6, 2004, over 2 weeks from recall initiation, USDA determined that the beef went to only six states Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana and that no beef went to Alaska, Hawaii, or Guam. To reach that conclusion, USDA used the distribution lists, shipping records, and sales invoices that it received from companies to piece together exactly where the recalled beef may have been sent. The lists Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 42 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs showed that 713 customers may have received the recalled beef; 6 of those may have received beef from more than one source. USDA determined that 176 customers on the lists did not actually receive recalled beef, including the customers in Guam and Hawaii. USDA s review also indicated that recalled beef was probably not shipped to Alaska or Utah, and USDA checked 2 retailers in Alaska and 3 retailers in Utah to confirm that was the case. In total, USDA conducted verification checks on 537 of the 713 customers on the lists. USDA s initial checks identified an additional 45 customers that may have received the recalled beef that were not included on the distribution lists, for a total of 582 verification checks. Figure 4 summarizes USDA s verification efforts during the recall. Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 43 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs Figure 4: USDA s Recall Verification Checks by Location and Customer Type for Meat Associated with the Animal Infected with BSE Note: USDA checked 15 primary, 40 secondary, and 526 tertiary customers plus the recalling company, for a total of 582 verification checks. USDA s press release stated that the recall involved 10,410 pounds of beef products, and the USDA recall coordinator for this recall told us that downstream processors mixed the recalled beef with nonrecalled beef, for a total of more than 38,000 pounds of beef that was distributed at the secondary customer level. According to USDA officials involved with the D = Distributor R = Retailer SF = Storage facility P = Processor Primary customers (15 total) Recalling slaughterhouse (WA) 1 R (OR) 1 P (WA) 1 P (OR) 1 P (OR) 11 R (WA) Secondary customers (40 total) Tertiary customers (526 total) 1 R (OR) 1 SF (OR) 3 D (OR) 3 D (WA) 2 dual D (OR) 59 R (OR) 79 R (WA) 5 R (ID) 3 R (UT) 4 R (MT) 161 R (WA) 8 R (ID) 15 R (OR) 2 R (AK) 31 R (OR) 8 R (WA) 10 R (NV) 5 R (ID) 10 R (CA) 2 R (CA) 17 R (OR) 5 R (WA) 1 D (NV) 11 R (CA) 85 R (NV) 3 D (OR) 11 R (OR) 2 D (CA) 26 R (CA) 2 R (WA) ( ) Acronyms in parentheses are postal abbreviations for each state. Source: GAO analysis of USDA verification check documents. Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery f an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 44 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs recall, the precise amount of meat that was sold at the retail level is unknown because retailers at the tertiary level further mixed nonrecalled meat with potentially contaminated meat. USDA told us that more than 64,000 pounds of beef was ultimately returned or destroyed by customers, and that, because of the mixing, it was not able to determine how much of the original 10,410 pounds of recalled beef was contained in the 64,000 pounds that were recovered. FDA s Role in USDA s Recall Parts of the BSE-infected animal slaughtered on December 9, 2003, were not used for food, but they were sent to renderers to be separated into raw materials, such as proteins and blood. Rendered materials are used for many purposes, including cosmetics and vaccines. FDA has jurisdiction over renderers. When USDA learned of the BSE-infected cow on December 23, 2003, the agency immediately notified FDA. On December 24, 2003, FDA sent an inspection team to a renderer that handled materials from the BSE cow. Inspectors confirmed that the parts of the slaughtered BSE positive cow were on the premises. FDA later identified a second company that potentially rendered material from the slaughtered BSE cow. Both renderers agreed to voluntarily hold all product processed from the diseased cow and dispose of the product as directed by FDA and local authorities. On January 7, 2004, 15 containers of potentially contaminated, rendered material (meat and bone meal) were inadvertently loaded on a ship, and on January 8, 2004, the ship left Seattle, Washington, for Asia. The renderer initiated steps to recover the shipped material, so it could be disposed of as directed by FDA and local authorities. The ship carrying the material returned to the United States on February 24, 2004, and the material was disposed of in a landfill on March 2, 2004. On January 12, 2004, FDA asked both renderers to expand their voluntary holds to rendered materials processed from December 23, 2003, through January 9, 2004, because they may have rendered some recalled meat or trim that was recovered from retail establishments. Both renderers agreed to the expanded product hold. In total, FDA requested that renderers voluntarily hold approximately 2,000 tons of rendered material. FDA confirmed that none of the potentially contaminated, rendered material entered commerce, because FDA accounted for all rendered material. FDA Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 45 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs reported that no recall was necessary because no product was distributed commercially by the rendering companies. USDA and FDA Worked Together on the Recall USDA and FDA worked together in two ways. First, both agencies notified each other if their investigations yielded any information about products within the jurisdiction of the other agency. For instance, when conducting the second round of verification checks, USDA tracked the disposition of the product to renderers and landfills and notified FDA when the product went to renderers. Second, FDA officials helped conduct verification checks. FDA conducted 32 of the 582 verification checks (approximately 5 percent) for the USDA recall. Officials from both agencies indicated they regularly interacted and shared information. Table 3 outlines the agencies actions. Table 3: Detailed Timeline of USDA, FDA, and Company Actions Related to the Discovery of an Animal Infected with BSE Date USDA recall actions FDA actions Company actions 12/9/03 " USDA samples cow for BSE. " BSE cow is slaughtered. 12/11/03 " Sample is sent to Ames, Iowa, for BSE testing. " Recalling company sends carcasses to primary customer for processing. 12/12/03 " Primary customer sends meat products to two other primary customers for further processing. 12/12 - 12/23/03 " Other primary customers distribute recalled product to secondary customers. " Secondary customers distribute recalled product to tertiary custome s. 12/23/03 " BSE test results are presumptively positive. " Recall meeting. " Initiation of voluntary recall. " Press release. " FDA notified of BSE test results. " FDA dispatches investigation teams. 12/24/03 " FDA inspects Renderer 1. " FDA determines some rendered material from Renderer 1 is intended for Indonesia. " FDA discovers some material may have been sent to Renderer 2. " Renderer 1 agrees to hold remaining rendered material. " Recalling company contacts primary customers. " Primary customers contact their customers. Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 46 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs 12/25/03 " USDA receives confirmation from reference lab in England that cow in question is BSE positive. 12/26/03 " Verification checks begin " USDA announces recalled product in Washington State and Oregon. " FDA begins process of comparing records to ensure all products from Renderers 1 and 2 are accounted for. " Renderer 2 agrees to hold all material that may have been derived from BSE cow. None of the rendered material has been distributed. 12/27/03 " USDA announces recalled product was distributed in Washington State, Oregon, California, and Nevada. " FDA issues statement confirming that the rendering plants that processed all of the nonedible material from the BSE cow have placed a voluntary hold on all of the potentially infectious product, none of which had left the control of the companies and entered commercial distribution. 12/28/03 " USDA announces recalled product was distributed in Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. 12/29/03 " Food Safety and Inspection Service determines that the recalled meat products were distributed to 42 locations, with 80 percent of the products distributed to stores in Oregon and Washington State. 12/31/03 " FDA offers assistance to USDA to complete recall verification checks. 1/6/04 " USDA determines recalled product was only distributed in Washington State, Oregon, California, Nevada, Montana, and Idaho. 1/8/04 " FDA is notified by the renderer that some of the rendered material on hold from Renderer 1 was inadvertently shipped to Asia. Renderer 1 commits to isolate and return the rendered material. " Rendering company notifies FDA of shipment of product on hold. (Continued From Previous Page) Date USDA recall actions FDA actions Company actions Appendix II Federal Actions Associated with the Discovery of an Animal in the United States Infected with BSE Page 47 GAO-05-51 Food Recall Programs Source: GAO analysis of USDA and FDA information. 1/12/04 " FDA advises Renderers 1 and 2 that they may have rendered meat or trim subject to recall from retail stores. " FDA requests Renderers 1 and 2 to place all rendered material from December 23 to January 9 on hold. " FDA determines neither renderer had shipped rendered material manufactured after December 23, 2003. 2/9/04 " All rendered material was disposed of in landfill, except material shipped to Asia. 2/24/04 " Ship carrying rendered material returns to U.S. port. 2/25/04 " Verification checks complete. " USDA Boulder District Office concludes recall is effective. 3/1/04 " Recall is closed. 3/2/04 " FDA observes disposal in landfill of remaining rendered material...
1. Food Safety: USDA and FDA Need to Better Ensure Prompt and Complete Recalls of Potentially Unsafe Food. GAO-05-51, October 7.tss http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-51 Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d0551high.pdf
Appendix C. Agents that require specific government approval for scientific investigations within the USA.a
Select agents, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services onlyb High consequence pathogens and agents, U.S. Department of Agriculture onlyc HIgh consequence livestock pathogens and toxins, overlap agents and toxinsd
(NO HUMAN TSE LISTED ???...tss) BSE agent
GALVESTON BAY FISH CONSUMPTION WARNING DUE TO PCBs
Monday, July 14, 2008 Heedless practices of Texas industry and DREDGING OF SHIP CHANNEL, now poisoning sport fishing industry, AND IT'S CONSUMERS
Emergence of ‘Atypical’ BSE Raises Questions About Cattle Surveillance Strategies Scientists addressing the U.S. Animal Health Association’s annual meeting last week in Minneapolis confirmed that both native-born U.S. cases of BSE involved an “atypical” strain of the brain-wasting disease different from the “classical” BSE strain diagnosed thus far in Great Britain and most cases occurring in other countries. Dr. Linda Detwiler of the University of Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine said scientists now have identified two strains of “atypical” BSE – a “high-molecular” and “low-molecular” – first detected in 2004 in two cattle in Italy and three in France. She said the “high-molecular” strain also was diagnosed in the two native-born U.S. cases, which involved a 12-year-old cow in Texas diagnosed in November 2004 and a 10-year-old Alabama cow diagnosed in March 2006. The two different strains are designated based on the different molecular staining patterns they show on the Western Blot test used to confirm BSE. Detwiler said that in addition to the U.S., Italian and French cases, “atypical” BSE has been diagnosed in Canada (in a 15-year-old cow in Manitoba diagnosed earlier this year), Denmark, Poland, Japan, Belgium, Holland and Sweden. Most of the “atypical” cases involved animals more than eight years old, she said. Significantly, Detwiler said many of the cases exhibited no clinical signs of the disease, which has raised questions about whether countries should conduct BSE surveillance testing on a greater number of older, apparently healthy cattle at slaughter. She said the “high-molecular” atypical BSE strain also has a longer incubation period before clinical signs of the disease are observed than the “low-molecular” variety, based upon experimental trials in mice. Detwiler, a former official with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the origin of “atypical” BSE is unknown at this stage. Speculation has focused on whether it is a variation or mutation of classical BSE, or whether it is caused by a different route of exposure, or exposure of the animal at an older age. There is no definitive evidence that “atypical” BSE occurs sporadically, she said. But scientists have shown that tissues – such as brain and spinal cord – infected with “atypical” BSE are infectious. Based upon what currently is known, she advised that cattle surveillance be maintained, and said it may be necessary to “rethink” the target population of animals tested for BSE to include more apparently healthy older cattle. She also said additional research is needed on the pathogenesis of “atypical” BSE and how it may be transmitted to cattle or other species; and she encouraged countries not to relax BSE-prevention feed restrictions.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Implementation of 2008 Feed Ban Enhancements Questions and Answers July 15, 2008
SEAC Draft minutes of the 100th meeting held on 25th April 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008 A Novel Human Disease with Abnormal Prion Protein Sensitive to Protease update July 10, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008 A New Prionopathy update July 10, 2008
The statistical incidence of CJD cases in the United States has been revised to reflect that there is one case per 9000 in adults age 55 and older. Eighty-five percent of the cases are sporadic, meaning there is no known cause at present.
IF you think that the USDA et al ordered the largest beef recall in history (some 143 million pounds), just over a couple abused animals, and that it was not a public health issue, i am hear to tell you, that is incorrect.
USDA DEAD STOCK DOWNER COW SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM i.e. non-ambulatory, the most high risk cow for BSE typical or atypical TSE (last two cows that were documented in the USA i.e. Texas and Alabama both were of the atypical BSE. please note ;
"Atypical forms of BSE have emerged which, although rare, appear to be more virulent than the classical BSE that causes vCJD."
Progress Report from the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center An Update from Stephen M. Sergay, MB, BCh & Pierluigi Gambetti, MD April 3, 2008
please see full text with additional comments and links @ ;
Sunday, March 16, 2008
MAD COW DISEASE terminology UK c-BSE (typical), atypical BSE H or L, and or Italian L-BASE
IS THERE A SCRAPIE-LIKE DISEASE IN CATTLE ?
In April of 1985, a mink rancher in Wisconsin reported a debilitating neurologic disease in his herd which we diagnosed as TME by histopathologic findings confirmed by experimental transmission to mink and squirrel monkeys. The rancher was a ''dead stock'' feeder using mostly (>95%) downer or dead dairy cattle and a few horses. She had never been fed.
We believe that these findings may indicate the presence of a previously unrecognized scrapie-like disease in cattle and wish to alert dairy practitioners to this possibility.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH ANNUAL WESTERN CONFERENCE FOR FOOD ANIMAL VETERINARY MEDICINE, University of Arizona, March 17-19, 1986
USDA DEAD STOCK DOWNER COW SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
[Docket No. 03-025IFA] FSIS Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk Materials for Human Food and Requirement for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle
03-025IFA 03-025IFA-2 Terry S. Singeltary
[Docket No. FSIS-2006-0011] FSIS Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
second line of lies... i mean defense i.e. fda mad cow feed ban ;
Friday, April 25, 2008
Substances Prohibited From Use in Animal Food or Feed [Docket No. 2002N-0273] (Formerly Docket No. 02N-0273) RIN 0910-AF46
Thursday, May 1, 2008
DEAD STOCK DOWNER COW BAN i.e. non-ambulatory policy still not changed by USDA May 1, 2008