- Hello, Jeff - In this "routine" BSE update,
and amazing statement from the FDA:
- FDA issues a warning about BSE and cosmetics.
- We also see that Japan may be caving into the pressure
put on them by the USDA and US livestock industry: Japan says cattle under
30 months may not be at BSE risk.
- We knew all along that ANY product containing beef protein
could pose a mad cow risk, now the FDA is a step closer to admitting it.
- As far as BSE risk for cows under 30 months: THERE IS
ALWAYS A RISK. Cattle under 30 months could also be incubating the disease
without having symptoms. Most symptoms are evident after enough of the
brain has become spongified. Japan's new stance now makes it possible
for Japan to buy young cattle from the US and satisfy the Japanese consumer
that the meat is safe.
- Patricia Doyle
- A ProMED-mail post
- ProMED-mail is a program of the
- International Society for Infectious Diseases
- FDA Recommends Firms Not Use High-Risk
Cattle Protein In Cosmetics
- FDA Week
- 16 Jul 2004
- The FDA is urging cosmetic firms to not use certain cattle-derived
substances in their products, because consumers run a slight risk in acquiring
the human version of mad cow disease if they apply cosmetics tainted with
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to open cuts. The recommendation
is included in the FDA's risk assessment dealing with the potential for
BSE in cosmetics.
- The FDA notes that the primary path of human exposure
to BSE is through ingesting beef, and other food, from cattle, but points
out that small doses of the infectious prions that cause mad cow disease
can be found in cosmetics.
- But, "large uncertainties" exist about the
number of cosmetic products on the market that may pose a risk to human
health, the agency says, adding, that any estimate of the risk, or rate
at which BSE may be expected to occur, would be imprecise.
- Moreover, the agency points out that considerable doubt
exists about the origin of protein used in making cosmetics, the effect
of processing on prion concentrations, and the transmission rates for dermal
and ocular exposure. The risk assessment states that what scientists do
not know about the transmission of BSE from food also goes for cosmetics.
- The FDA's assessment is qualitative, but, it provides
a "logical structure that a quantitative model could use if one were
constructed," according to the agency.
- But, some conclusions can be drawn about the risk to
human health without quantitative data, the agency says. "For example,
the number of BSE-affected cattle, and the variability in human susceptibility,
will impact the risk of both food- and cosmetic-associated [BSE]."
- Some of the agency's uncertainties, however, may affect
both sides of a cost-benefit analysis, the FDA says. "In particular,
if there is not substantial use of cattle-derived protein in making cosmetics,
then there will be little exposure, and, also, little economic consequence
from regulating use. Conversely, high use would require substantial substitution
and alternative means of animal-by-product disposal."
- The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association would
not comment on the FDA risk assessment, as the organization is still reviewing
the document, a group spokesperson said.
- Japanese Experts Say No Use Testing Young
Cows For BSE
- TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese
panel of experts on mad cow disease said in a draft that testing young
cattle for the disease is not technically feasible, suggesting the government's
blanket screening rules could be eased.
- If the government adopts the report, it could also clear
the way for a resumption of US beef imports as Japan would also be likely
to drop its insistence on blanket testing of all American cattle.
- Younger cows, particularly those younger than 30 months
old, are generally not considered at risk of developing bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE), the report said Friday.
- In any event, younger cows do not accumulate enough abnormal
prions -- the protein believed to cause the disease -- to be detected by
current tests, the report said.
- "The capability of the current testing technology
is limited. It is not capable of detecting infections during the incubation
period," the report said.
- The panel is a part of the Food Commission under the
- The report added, however, Japan's blanket testing regime
has resulted in the discovery of madcow infections in young cows, such
as a 21-month-old and a 23-month-old cow.
- Japan introduced measures to screen every cow slaughtered
for consumption after it became the only country in Asia to have confirmed
BSE with the discovery of its first case in September 2001.
- The panel also emphasized the importance of excluding
"risk materials" such as the brain, spinal cord and eyes, from
food distribution systems, said administrative officials for the panel.
- Japanese and US officials will hold a two-day working-level
talks from July 21 in Tokyo over the beef import ban.
- The panel's discussion followed a series of news reports
saying the panel was drafting a recommendation to the government to suggest
Tokyo should stop mad cow screening for young cows.
- The draft made available late Friday stopped short of
that however and Cabinet Office officials said they were not aware of any
- Japan banned beef imports from the United States following
the discovery in December of the first case of mad cow disease there.
- Japan has argued that before lifting its ban the United
States must screen all slaughtered cows for BSE.
- Washington has rejected Tokyo's demand, saying the blanket
testing for young cow was not scientifically meaningful.
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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