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BSE cows may have eaten same feed, substitute milk

November 28, 2001 The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo)
The nation's second mad cow disease-infected cow was likely fed with the same substitute milk and assorted feed as was fed to the first cow that tested positive to the disease, it was learned Sunday.

This information comes from the dairy farmer in Sarufutsumura, northern Hokkaido, who raised and shipped the second cow that tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The first cow tested positive for BSE in September. It was born on a farm in Saromacho, Hokkaido. The substitute milk fed to both cattle as calves has been traced to a Tokyo-based feed manufacturer, while the assorted feed, which is fed to calves until they reach three months of age, was manufactured by several plants of a major Hokkaido company.

Officials of the inspection center for fertilizer and feed, which is affiliated with the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, conducted inspections Sunday of a Kanto factory and a Hokkaido plant.

The substitute milk allegedly contained animal oils and fats as well as blood plasma protein extracted from pigs, which was completely banned from distribution Oct. 4. This ban was lifted Nov. 1 except for the use of cattle feed.

According to industry sources, the second cow was almost certain to have been raised on the feed produced at the Hokkaido plant inspected Sunday.

The Hokkaido government's agricultural policy department, in its efforts to determine the facts in the case, is examining records at the agricultural cooperatives that sold the feed to the Sarufutsumura farmer.

Although the feed that is suspected of having been fed to the two cows did not contain meat and bone meal (MBM)--widely seen as the likeliest source of the agent that causes BSE--the plant reportedly produced feed containing MBM for pigs and chickens in the same line as that used to produce the assorted feed for cattle.

Although MBM is cooked, the abnormal prions, or abnormally shaped proteins, that cause BSE are highly resistant to heat.


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