Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meat from three cows aged over 48 months not tested for BSE exported to France, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland

Meat from three cows aged over 48 months not tested for BSE

Wednesday 17 November 2010

The Agency has been notified that meat from three cattle over 48 months of age has entered the food chain without being tested for BSE.

It is very unlikely that the animals were infected with BSE and, as specified risk material (SRM) was removed, any risk to human health is now extremely low. However, testing is mandatory for cattle slaughtered for human consumption at over 48 months of age.*

The cows were slaughtered at the Cig Calon Cymru abattoir at Crosshands, Carmarthenshire and were 64 months of age, 71 months of age and 87 months of age. The failure was discovered on 3 November during routine checks of slaughter and BSE test data. All of the affected carcasses and offal had left the premises at the time of discovery and subsequent checks indicated that all meat and edible co-product is no longer in the food supply chain.

Inspections have indicated that some of the affected product has been exported to France, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland. The authorities in these countries have been informed.

*SRM is that part of the animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity.

Seven main threats for the future linked to prions

The NeuroPrion network has identified seven main threats for the future linked to prions.

First threat

The TSE road map defining the evolution of European policy for protection against prion diseases is based on a certain numbers of hypotheses some of which may turn out to be erroneous. In particular, a form of BSE (called atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), recently identified by systematic testing in aged cattle without clinical signs, may be the origin of classical BSE and thus potentially constitute a reservoir, which may be impossible to eradicate if a sporadic origin is confirmed. *** Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. These atypical BSE cases constitute an unforeseen first threat that could sharply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Second threat

In small ruminants, a new atypical form of scrapie currently represents up to 50% of detected cases and even involves sheep selected for resistance to classical scrapie. The consequences for animal and human health are still unknown and there may be a potential connection with atypical BSE. These atypical scrapie cases constitute a second threat not envisioned previously which could deeply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Third threat

The species barrier between human and cattle might be weaker than previously expected and the risk of transmission of prion diseases between different species has been notoriously unpredictable. The emergence of new atypical strains in cattle and sheep together with the spread of chronic wasting disease in cervids renders the understanding of the species barrier critical. This constitutes a third threat not properly envisioned previously that could deeply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Fourth threat

Prion infectivity has now been detected in blood, urine and milk and this has potential consequences on risk assessments for the environment and food as well as for contamination of surfaces including medical instruments. Furthermore the procedures recommended for decontamination of MBM (Meat and Bone Meal), which are based on older methodologies not designed for this purpose, have turned out to be of very limited efficacy and compromise current policies concerning the reuse of these high value protein supplements (cross-contamination of feed circuits are difficult to control). It should be noted that the destruction or very limited use of MBM is estimated to still cost 1 billion euros per year to the European economy,

whereas other countries, including the US,

Brazil, and Argentine do not have these constraints.

However, many uncertainties remain concerning the guarantees that can be reasonably provided for food and feed safety and scientific knowledge about the causative agents (prions) will continue to evolve. This decontamination and environmental issue is a fourth threat that could modify deeply the European approach to prion diseases.

Fifth threat The precise nature of prions remains elusive. Very recent data indicate that abnormal prion protein (PrPTSE) can be generated from the brains of normal animals, and under some conditions (including contaminated waste water) PrPTSE can be destroyed whereas the BSE infectious titre remains almost unchanged, a finding that underlines the possibility of having BSE without any detectable diagnostic marker. These are just two areas of our incomplete knowledge of the fundamental biology of prions which constitute a fifth threat to the European approach to prion diseases.

Sixth threat The absence of common methods and standardisation in the evaluation of multiple in vivo models with different prion strains and different transgenic mice expressing PrP from different species (different genotypes of cattle, sheep, cervids, etc) renders a complete and comprehensive analysis of all the data generated by the different scientific groups almost impossible. This deeply impairs risk assessment. Moreover, the possibility of generating PrPTSE de novo with new powerful techniques has raised serious questions about their appropriateness for use as blood screening tests. The confusion about an incorrect interpretation of positive results obtained by these methods constitutes a sixth threat to European approach to prion diseases.

Seventh Threat The detection of new or re-emerging prion diseases in animals or humans which could lead to a new crisis in consumer confidence over the relaxation of precautionary measures and surveillance programmes constitutes a seventh threat that could modify the European approach to prion diseases.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seven main threats for the future linked to prions

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

BSE - ATYPICAL LESION DISTRIBUTION (RBSE 92-21367) statutory (obex only) diagnostic criteria CVL 1992

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TAFS1 Position Paper on Position Paper on Relaxation of the Feed Ban in the EU Berne, 2010 TAFS