U.S. Consumer Groups Against Canadian Cattle Imports
(Important Note: Groups that should be prominently mentioned in such articles are R-CALF USA,  Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund http://www.r-calfusa.com Contact: r-calfusa@r-calfusa.com or 406-252-2516 -- and the South Dakota Stock Growers Association [SDSGA] http://www.southdakotastockgrowers.org Contact: carrie.sdsga@midconetwork.com or 877-529-2333. These are groups that actually RAISE American food for the health and well-being of consumers. While they are generally not thought of as "consumer groups", they certainly fit the description of "consumer health organizations", because their efforts concentrate on getting the most healthful, high-quality American food products to each of us, the consumer. It is far past time for them to be noted as the gutsy folks they are!)
January 3, 2005
By Randy Fabi

Washington, D.C. (Reuters) - Two U.S. consumer groups on Monday urged the United States to delay reopening its border to young Canadian cattle due to concerns that Canada may find more cases of mad cow disease.

The Canadian government quarantined a farm in Alberta on Monday as part of its search for cattle connected to the country's second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which was confirmed on Sunday.

"This case gives us great concern that the incidence of BSE may be more prevalent in Canada," said Tony Corbo, legislative director for Washington-based Public Citizen. http://www.citizen.org

Consumer advocates said Congress should not allow the U.S. Agriculture Department [U.S. Department of Agriculture -- USDA -- http://www.usda.gov] to import young, Canadian cattle until there were sufficient safeguards in place in both countries to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.

Last week, the USDA proposed allowing Canada to sell cattle under 30-months-old in the United States after March 7.

The USDA insisted that Canadian cattle and beef did not present a danger to U.S. consumers or American livestock.

"I think lawmakers should ... delay this rule until we get a clearer understanding of what's happening in Canada," said Joe Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/home.cfm

Consumer groups expressed concern over gaps in Canada's ban on feeding cattle protein made from cattle and other ruminant livestock, a rule designed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.

A study by Canadian feed inspectors, released last month, found bone fragments and other animal material in samples of vegetable-based feed. However, the study could not determine whether the animal materials were from cattle, hogs or other mammals.

Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the USDA should reopen its borders as planned because the eight-year-old infected cow from Alberta was born before Canada's feed ban was imposed in 1997. http://www.cspinet.org

Copyright 2005, Reuters.


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