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Tell USDA to exclude cow rectum and
anus from human food too

USDA comment period extended until May 7, 2004 
The USDA is accepting public comments on their new mad cow regulations ( now up until May 7, 2004. They have received over 2600 comments so far, and the meat industry is madder than the cows. They estimate doing things like excluding downer-cow brains from hamburgers will cost them $150 million a year. But that's a drop in the bucket for them. Please everyone email the USDA at by tonight and include the docket number: Docket 03-025IF in the subject line. And tell your friends to write in too!

One proposal is to exclude cattles' small intestines from human consumption in the U.S. In Europe, though, all of the intestines are excluded from human food, from the small intestine down to the rectum,[1] in part because there is concern that the colon may also be infectious.[2] Tell the USDA that they should follow Europe's example and exclude all cow and calf rectum, colon, and anus from the American food supply.

Another proposal is to exclude skull, brain, eyes, vertebral column, and spinal cord from processing into meat products from cows over 30 months of age, even though infection has been found in the brains of cattle as young as 20 months.[3] In Europe, these risky tissues are excluded from any cow over only 12 months of age.[4] In the U.S. the brains, eyes, and spinal cords from cattle under 30 months "can be rendered to produce products identified as beef stock, beef extract, and beef flavoring without any identification of the source materials other than "beef"..."[5] This presents an unacceptable risk to the American public. We should follow the EU's lead and exclude these tissues from cattle over 12 months of age It's a no brainer!

The most important proposal, though, is to exclude flesh from downer cattle from the human food supply. Critics of the downer exclusion will no doubt argue that many downed animals are unable to get up due to a traumatic injury and are therefore being excluded inappropriately. In Europe, though, where 1 out of every 4 cows is tested, hundreds of cases of Mad Cow disease are found in animals who appear perfectly healthy.[6] In fact, even the Washington State Holstein who had Mad Cow disease didn't appear sick. Luckily it seems she had a birthing injury which may have left her unable to stand, and she was thus flagged to be among the small percentage of downer cows tested.[7] The Canadian case similarly wasn't displaying CNS symptoms. Ask the USDA to make the downer ban permanent, exclude all downed animals, pigs, sheep, and other livestock and require downed animals be humanely euthanized immediately wherever they become downed.

[1] Official Journal of the European Communities. Commission Decision of 27 December 2000.
[2] European Scientific Steering Committee. Listing of Specified Risk Materials.
[4] Official Journal of the European Communities. Commission Decision of 27 December 2000.
[5] Federal Register. Docket No. 03-038IF.
[6] European Commission. BSE Cases in Cattle.
[7] December 2003. Jiji Press Ticker Service


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