'Composting' Cattle Parts
At Slaughterhouses -
Prions In Sludge

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Hello, Jeff - I have heard that Asian and European Rendering plants sell their products to the US. This is criminal. We know that Japan has had prion disease, as well as cases of MUTATED stain prion, as did Italy. Rendering plants use all of the parts that carry prions. Prions, that are still viable, are all mixed in the render vat and will be found in any of the render. Why, in the "name of good sense" would we want to buy rendered products from countries that have prion disease, especially, prion disease that has been mutated and novel?
I understand rendering plants are the mega 'cash cow,' as we take parts of the cow that would not be usable and otherwise worthless and dump them in the render vats, turning it all into pure profit. 50 cents becomes hundreds of dollars.
I wish that the Government would look more carefully at these rendering plants.
We also need to know more about the meat inspection business. Who do the majority of meat inspectors work for? My information indicates that the majority are hired by and work for the meat companies and not the USDA. We have ONE government inspector supposedly overseeing the "company" inspectors. In other words, we have inspectors who get a company paycheck, deciding on the quality of meat the company produces. Madness.
And what about the downer cows? They will STILL be used for meat and byproducts to feed animals...calves, pigs, chickens, sheep, etc. Remember, "what goes into animal feeds eventually goes into the human who consume the livestock."
It appears that we still have HUGE problems and the government and many consumers are simply ignoring them.
Patricia Doyle
From: Helane Shields
Subject: PRION survival in abattoir waste compost
To: The US Compost Council
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003
I am amazed to read the ongoing discussion about "composting" abattoir (slaughterhouse) wastes:
"The abattoir waste consisted of intestines, internal organs (lungs, kidneys,
stomachs, hearts etc), bones from deboner, intestine and stomach contents..."
BSE prions can be found in cattle intestines, not to mention spleen, tonsils, eyes, brain, CNS tissue, etc.
Isn't anyone concerned about the survival of prions from BSE infected cattle in "composted" abattoir waste? Prions are practically indestructible -- rendering, composting, boiling in acid, etc. do not inactivate them . . . to the best of my knowledge about the only way to "kill" them is advanced alkaline hydrolysis.
The US EPA has already expressed concern about prions in runoff into surface waters from meat packing plants:
Page 11: "An assessment is needed on the potential public health impact of prions which may be associated with stream effluent near meat packing plants."
The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences had the following to say in July 2002 about the risk of prions in sewage sludge ("biosolids") (and this was before BSE was found in Canada and USA):
Page 210 - "Concern about prions has arisen with the advent of prion animal diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. The BSE prions concentrate in an animal's brain and spinal cord, but they been detected only in sheep blood at low concentrations. Animal manure would have no or low concentrations of BSE prions except possibly for wastes from slaughterhouses (Ward et al. 1984); however the presence of prions in such wastes is uncertain (EPA 2001). Prions are generally transmitted from animal to animal (cow to cow, sheep to sheep). The risk of prion transmission to biosolids from animals is low but can increase with the presence of small amounts of neural tissues or placenta coming from slaughter houses. At present, there has been little evidence of prion-contaminated manures in the United States."
"Prions are very difficult to inactivate and require rigorous treatment (Godfree 2001). The higher the solids content of the waste, the more rigorous the treatment required (EPA 2001). "
Contrary to assurances from the USDA that there are only about 200,000 "downer" cattle each year, in fact the National Renderers Association says there are 1.8 million downer cows each year -- and those downer cows that exhibit CNS problems are the ones most likely to be infected with BSE. Less than one percent of these animals are tested for Mad Cow.
See click on:
Livestock Mortalities: Methods of Disposal and Their Potential Cost SEE PAGES 36-37)
There is a tremendous amount that is unknown about prion diseases -- both human and animal. For example, prions have been found in the urine and blood of human victims of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease.
Just this week a patient in Britain died from the human form of Mad Cow disease (vCJD) following a blood transfusion.
A recent Swiss report warns hospitals about potential liability due to the high infectivity risks from surgery on victims suffering from the human form of mad cow - vCJD and recommends use of disposal surgical equipment.
""If vCJD patent undergoes surgery, infectious prions may remain on surgical instruments . . . normal methods of disinfection do not work."
The US EPA has already expressed concern about prions getting into POTWs (and from there into the sewage sludge) :,1299,DRMN_21_1395121,00.html
EPA eyes wildlife's lab practices
Concern centers on whether CWD prions can get into the water
By Todd Hartman, Rocky Mountain News
September 5, 2002
The EPA is scrutinizing laboratory practices at the Colorado Division of Wildlife, worried that the infectious agents believed to cause chronic wasting disease could wash into public sewers and underground septic tanks.
Water regulators with the Environmental Protection Agency could require wildlife officials to alter plumbing at division laboratories in Fort Collins, Craig and elsewhere to ensure that the persistent protein - called a prion - doesn't accumulate in water supplies.
TWO sewage treatment plant operators have already expressed concern about prions getting in their sewage sludge:
"We'd like to keep the deer as close to home as possible," Brusca said. ""We'd like to keep the deer as close to home as possible," Brusca said. "Right now, the two options we have are landfills and rendering The plants have indicated they are not willing to take deer from the eradication zone." plants.
But Jon Schellpfeffer, chief engineer for the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, told the task force the district would be leery taking in leachate from the landfill's pipes if there was any chance at all it contained prions.
Schellpfeffer said the two byproducts from the treatment plant are clean water and a condensed biologic solid that's sold to farmers to recycle as fertilizer on their fields. ("CONDENSED BIOLOGIC SOLID" - A new euphemism for sewage sludge !! )
"The risks are probably low, but is there anything that could jeopardize our re-use program?," Schellpfeffer said. "There's an awful lot of unanswered questions at this point." ("RE-USE PROGRAM" - A EUPHEMISM FOR LANDSPREADING SEWAGE SLUDGE !!)
SEPTEMBER 8, 2002: leachate is spread on farm fields !! MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN
"Dane County's concern was that leachate - polluted water that percolates through layers and layers of landfill - could contain prions. Leachate is normally sent to wastewater treatment plants and then spread on farm fields.
"If you can't find a way to get rid of leachate, you are out of the landfill business," said Dane County Supervisor Brett Hulsey, a member of a county ad hoc committee on deer disposal and landfills."
A Wisconsin Risk Assessment confirms that hydrophobic prions are partitioned to the sewage sludge:
PAGE 4: "Land application of municipal sludge that potentially contains CWD PrP-res may result in the presence of CWD PrP-res in surface soils."
Once that leachate (from landfill) reaches the wastewater treatment plant the suspended solids will be separated from the effluent. Those suspended solids will then be termed "sludge" or biosolids.
Pages 6-7: "Furthermore, the incorporation of sludge into the 9 inch plow layer, which is standard for land application practices, would provide sufficient dilution within the soil."
All things considered, I sincerely hope that none of you muck around in composting abattoir wastes.
Respectfully submitted,
Helane Shields, Alton, NH 03809
Sludge Researcher since 1996
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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