|April 2, 2004,
just-food.com: The US Department of Agriculture
is continuing its investigation into the beef processing
industry this time reviewing the industry’s plans
for removing cattle brains and spinal cords from slaughtered
cattle. The USDA said it wants "public comment on
methods used to prevent cross-contamination of carcasses"
with cattle brains and spinal cord, reported Reuters.
Removing the brains and spinal cords is a common practice
used by the industry to temper BSE risks. Certain parts
of cattle aged 30 months or older, including the brain,
skull, eyes and spinal cord, have been banned from entering
the human food supply because BSE is believed to be
carried in the brain and central nervous tissue of infected
It is believed that humans can contract vCJD, the human
form of BSE, from eating infected parts of a BSE-infected
This latest move by the USDA is one of a number of
steps it is taking in response to the discovery of a
single case of BSE in Washington state in December.
"We want to see if there is any additional scientific
information out there," Steve Cohen, spokesman
for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, was
quoted by Reuters as saying. "We want to make our
methods the strongest they can be."