Pardon my acronyms, but you understand why. Thought this BSE
position statement might interest you as an update piece. I don't
know how to evaluate it; I imagine there are other opinions, but
thought some of you might like to see this.
BSE, IFST POSITION STATEMENT - UK
A ProMED-mail post
Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 06:24:45 GMT
From: J Ralph Blanchfield <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The new updated IFST Position Statement on BSE has now been put on the
IFST Web site and can be accessed/downloaded from
Because of the major developments since the previous (9 September
1997) version, this one contains a great deal of additional material
and is, of necessity, considerably longer.
[This is a very long document. The summary follows. MHJ]
The Institute of Food Science & Technology, through its Public Affairs
and Technical & Legislative Committees, has authorised the following
Position Statement, dated 2 April 1998, replacing the Statement of 9
September 1997 and any previous version. This updated Position
Statement takes account of available data and published research up to
14 March 1998.
BSE incidence: The continued dramatic year-on-year fall in the number
of new UK cases of BSE (from the peak of 37,487 in 1992, to 13,825 in
1995, to 7,406 in 1996, to 3,980 in 1997) is as forecast and on track
to bring the epidemic to an end.
BSE/nvCJD: From research published from October 1996 onwards,
scientific evidence has been accumulating that BSE infectivity and new
variant CJD (nvCJD) infectivity carry the same "fingerprint". Although
the scientific evidence does not prove a causal connection, the
evidence is consistent with the transmissibility of BSE infectivity to
at least some humans; and taken in conjunction with related
circumstances it increases the likelihood of a causal connection. It
is theoretically possible that both BSE and CJD may have been
triggered by some third presently unsuspected cause, but it is
difficult to conceive what that might be.
nvCJD incidence: The 3 March 1998 report from the UK Department of
Health shows definite plus probable cases of nvCJD at 23, unchanged
for four months and an increase of only two cases over the previous
seven months. On 9 March 1998, SEAC was informed of a 24th case since
the last monthly report. Assuming the likelihood that nvCJD is the
result of having consumed BSE infective materials, mainly prior to
1989, however, it is too soon to draw from the figures to date any
conclusions, whether optimistic or pessimistic, as to likely future
Infectivity of bovine materials: In its report dated 9 December 1997
the EU Scientific Steering Committee has set out the most up-to-date
information and assessment of the infectivity risks to humans of
various bovine materials.
Beef, milk and bones: Mouse assay tests have not detected BSE
infectivity in muscle meat (beef) or milk from confirmed BSE cows.
Experiments so far using the more sensitive calf assay are encouraging
as regards beef and milk, but have some years still to go. Although,
therefore, it is not yet known if beef or milk from BSE-infected cows
contain amounts of BSE infectivity too small to be detected by mouse
assay, current risk from beef or milk is considered to be extremely
small. The same calf experiments have detected infectivity in the
dorsal root ganglia, the trigeminal ganglia and the bone marrow. Risk
assessment has indicated that the risk involved to people eating beef
is extremely low, about one new case of variant CJD in a billion years
per person. However the risk estimate has a wide range of uncertainty.
The UK Government has responded by banning the sale of bone-in beef.
Gelatin and tallow: In its report of 19-20 February 1998, the EU
Scientific Steering Committee carried out risk assessments of various
raw materials and production processes for gelatin and tallow, and
issued "Scientific Opinions" thereon.
Blood: Recent research reports, including the finding of infectivity
in the tonsils of nvCJD victims, and research on mice showing that the
lymph system is involved in passage of infectivity from gut to brain,
implicate the lymphoreticular system, and suggest the possibility that
circulating lymphocytes in the blood may carry infectivity. This has
led SEAC to suggest the leucodepletion of blood supplies as a
Official Inquiry into BSE and CJD: IFST welcomed the announcement of
the official independent enquiry into BSE, its terms of reference and
the open way in which it is being conducted, as outlined by Lord
Justice Phillips. IFST has made a written submission to the Inquiry.
J Ralph Blanchfield, MBE
Food Science, Food Technology & Food Law Consultant
Chair, IFST External Affairs
Web Editor, Institute of Food Science & Technology
IFST Web address <http://www.easynet.co.uk/ifst/>
Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
I don't know when I'll need to convert a joule
to an erg, but now I'm ready. --Mister 3D
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