Tuesday, January 06, 2004

As a producer of the safest, cheapest, most wholesome beef in the world, I would like to share a
few thoughts with you. The chances of contracting variant CJD are about one in 40 million.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates your chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases
in one in four. The CDC reports that a total of 153 people have ever died from CJD in the whole world. The CDC reports that 150 people die every year inthe U.S. alone from deer/car accidents. Your chances of dying in a automobile crash are one in 242.
BSE can only be contracted by cattle 30 months of age and older. Most beef consumed is from animals
under 30 months of age. There has never been any scientific proof that humans can contract CJD from eating BSE positive beef. The prion or agent is exactly the same in both diseases so many assumptions have been made.

Don't tell me it's just a farmer/rancher issue. The beef industry represents $188.4 billion to the U.S.
economy, directly and indirectly. There is only one thing I take more seriously than putting food on my table. It's putting food on your table.

U.S. agriculture takes many things for granted. We take for granted that the consumers know fact from
fiction. If you want facts...talk to a producer. If you want fiction...you'll get it!

Craig Henkel Bayard

Monday, January 05, 2004


As a proud part of the United States Dairy Industry, I am EXTREMELY
disappointed in this issue of "Healthy Foods". Yes, a single case of
BSE has been confirmed in the United States. We are far from
approaching the situation in the UK, where 10s of 1000s of cattle were
infected. But even there, the magnitude of the human connection has
been far overblown.

Passing along an article such as the one written by Ms. Goodrich does
nothing but propagate fear and confusion. There are a multitude of
mis-statements of fact or half truths that comprise her article. Just a
few points: 1) No beef that you consume will contain "recycled dairy
cows" as that practice has been banned since 1997. 2)All beef- whether
it comes from a top end grocery store, or goes through McDonald's is
USDA inspected. Appropriate testing is done when an animal appears
questionable in any way. 3) we all can feel more than "fairly
confident" that we have not consumed "contaminated" product since the
prions that cause the problems are found only in brain and spinal tissue
of infected cattle, and a grand total of one infected animal has been
found in the many many thousands of cattle in the US. 4) Look at the
numbers from the UK, and it is clear that the risk of actually
contracting vCJD is extremely minimal

As far as your "expert" Bill Sardi and his query, he doesn't quite have
his facts straight either. He poses a query based on the USDA website,
which was clearly misinterpreted. What was previously banned was
feeding ruminant derived protein to other ruminants, as this is the
means of transmission of BSE, it doesn't matter if the ruminant protein
was from a "downer cow" or a healthy cull cow. "Downer cows" can happen
for a multitude of reasons, some are sick and shouldn't enter the food
supply, some are injured, but can yet produce a quality beef product.
It is largely from testing the downer cows at USDA inspected slaughter
facilities that testing to monitor for diseases such as BSE is

The US beef supply is safe. Proper investigations will be done to
determine as much as possible the history of this one cow, but
safeguards have already been in place for many years.

Here are some facts which you need to be aware of:

* The U.S. began a surveillance program for BSE in 1990 and was the
first country without evidence of the disease to test for it. The
surveillance system targets all cattle with any signs of a neurological
disorder as well as those over 30 months of age and animals that are
* The U.S. banned imports of cattle and bovine products from countries
with the disease beginning in 1989.
* The disease only spreads to animals through contaminated feed. In
1997, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration instituted a ban on feeding
ruminant-derived meat and bone meal supplements to cattle.
* BSE in the brain affects the brain and spinal cord of cattle. No
infectivity has been detected in skeletal muscle tissue.
* CJD occurs (human) in a form associated with a hereditary
predisposition (approximately 5-10% of all cases) and in a more common,
sporadic form that accounts for 85-90% of cases.
* 140 people worldwide have apparently contracted variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) from consumption of contaminated beef
* In comparison, 150 Americans die annually due to deer/automobile
* 7000 Americans die annually because their medical doctors prescribe
incorrect medications for them (Journal of American Medical Association)
* There are 831,000 beef cowherds in the US and 80% of these herds have
less than 50 cows yet they produce 30 percent of nation's calves
(therefore, one contaminated herd does not affect the entire beef
population in the US).
* Safe guards against the transmission of this disease are in place and
effective. The system is working and this cow was found because the
strategy was put in place as a firewall to protect consumers, farmers
and ranchers and the beef population.

Please, please, watch what you print. It is possible to promote the
organic foods that you clearly believe in without spreading
mis-statements of fact and truth.

Christine Troendle