Prion Pathogen Highly Contagious
After eight years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reopened the comment period for its rule on what cow parts may be used in human products Monday because research completed since the interim rule was published has revealed traces of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and deadly prions in parts of the intestine currently allowed in human food and drugs.
Since there is no way to ever sterilize the production line once infected with prions, just one infected animal part will contaminate the production line forever. Food, cosmetics, gel caps, lotions and other products could kill you and your family. Even our water supplies have been compromised due to prion mismanagement, including sewage mismanagement.
The report is alarming. Again, it shows that regulators are protecting the public health with blind faith, ignorance and incompetence. We must demand that deadly prions be regulated based on proven safety as opposed to one of a proven risk (ie. dead people). It took them eight years of status quo to raise this flag and countless products have been contaminated in the interim. As a result, we can only guess how many families have been exposed to this deadly and incurable prion disease. This is reckless, negligent and unforgivable. It’s criminal. It’s bioterrorism.
In 2005, FDA issued its interim final rule, “Use of Materials Derived From Cattle in Human Food and Cosmetics,” which stated that a cow’s small intestine was safe for use in human products as long as the portion called the distal ileum had been removed. At the time, the distal ileum was known to be a potential reservoir for BSE, also known as mad cow disease, but other parts of the small intestine were considered safe.
Since that time, studies have found low levels of BSE in other parts of the cow’s intestine, including the proximal ileum, jejunum, ileocecal junction, and colon, prompting concerns that perhaps the U.S. Department of Agriculture (which regulates meat safety) and FDA should also prohibit these parts from use in human foods and cosmetics. Of course, they should be kept out of rendering facilities, where they can be recycled back into products and animal feed (including pet food). In fact, we should demand answers about where the risky parts, such as the distal ileum, spinal cords, eyes, tonsils, and other specified risk material (SRM) are going now.
“The infectivity levels reported in these studies were much lower than the infectivity levels that were previously demonstrated in the distal ileum,” notes FDA. (It only takes one prion to kill you, so, I’m not feeling any safer despite this disclaimer.)
In light of these findings, FDA has reopened the comment period on its 2005 interim final rule in order to hear from anyone who has information on the topic. These are questions that should have been asked long ago.
When the FDA announced the reopened comment period, it stated that it believes that the trace levels of infectivity found in these other parts of the intestine don’t pose a risk of human exposure to BSE in the United States. That’s nonsense. Prions migrate, mutate and multiply. They can’t be stopped. So to say that the levels of infectivity are low further demonstrates the FDA’s and USDA’s incompetence or willingness to tolerate and unleash risks to the public.
“We want to hear from other people,” says Sebastian Cianci, spokesperson for FDA. “From what we’re seeing, we’ve concluded that there wouldn’t be a measurable reduction of risk from removing other parts. However, we want other people to weigh in before a final determination is made.”
In reaching its conclusion, FDA says it also considered a recent opinion from the European Union Food Safety Authority on the risk of BSE from parts of the small intestine other than the distal ileum. Why aren’t they actively seeking and sharing this information on a global basis? The bad news is that other prion risks remain unchecked and or mismanaged. The pathways to prion contamination in food, water, products and our healthcare systems are numerous.
A look at the opinion handed down from EFSA’s Panel on Biological Hazards shows that the group was unable to draw a conclusion about the safety of other parts of a cow’s intestine. Bullshit. It’s time to put all of the facts on the table and keep all risks off of our dinner table and out of our homes and hands. prions have been classified as a “select agent” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Research is tightly controlled and extremely limited. Why are the USDA and FDA conducting chemistry experiments with them in our food, water, cosmetics and other products? What gives them the right to turn every human on the planet into a guinea pig? Any person or agency that violates the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Prevention Act of 2002 is, by definition, a terrorist.
“Due to limitations in the data currently available, an accurate quantification of the amount of infectivity in the intestinal parts other than ileum of Classical BSE infected cattle at different stages of the incubation period cannot be provided,” says the panel in its conclusion. Unfortunately, given the dangers of prions, it only takes one to multiply into millions. It only takes one prion to kill you. Quantification of this dynamic is very simple math.
The reopened comment period has been posted in the Federal Register. You can access it here. Comments can be submitted by clicking the “Submit a Formal Comment” button.
Thanks to Gretchen Goetz and Food Safety News for their contribution to this article. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/03/fda-seeks-comments-on-risk-of-bse-from-cow-intestines/#.UTYS9IXxOkF
Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform firstname.lastname@example.org.