Wednesday, March 20, 2013

VETS have discovered 57 tonnes of banned British mutton in the freezers of meat products firm Spanghero – and raised fears of a new BSE scare

Meat firm stored banned mutton

March 19, 2013

VETS have discovered 57 tonnes of banned British mutton in the freezers of meat products firm Spanghero – and raised fears of a new BSE scare just weeks after the horse-meat scandal. The mutton is banned because it is mechanically separated meat which can contain fragments of bone and bone marrow. It was banned for sheep, cattle and goats because of the risk of “prion” protein contamination – the cause of mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. Vets found the mutton at the Spanghero warehouses in Castelnaudary and confirmed the result of tests to prosecutors at Carcassonne and the public health department in Paris. It is not yet known if any of the meat has been used in products sold to the public. A fraud investigation will be started as the meat is said to have come from the same Dutch supplier as supplied Spanghero with 750 tonnes of horse meat. Spanghero boss Barthélémy Aguerre told RTL this morning “once again we have been deceived by a supplier”. The company has launched a court action in Paris saying it had been defrauded.

Banned British mutton seized in France

Fifty seven tons of banned British mutton have been seized at a French factory already implicated in the horse meat scandal, health inspectors announced yesterday.

Veterinary scientists said that the meat was “mechanically separated”, a process of extracting it from the bone that is banned in Europe since 2001 and in the UK since April last year.

The ban of mechanically separated beef and mutton came in the wake of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow Disease crisis. This extraction process is still permitted for poultry and pork if labelled as such.

The 57 tons of banned mutton were found at the Spanghero factory in Castelnaudary, near Toulouse, southwestern France.

Spanghero today blamed unnamed British exporters for trying to pass off the illegal meat as bona fide mutton which could be used in sausages and other products.

Spanghero has already been found guilty of knowingly handling horse meat from Romania labeled as beef which ultimately ended up on supermarket shelves in the UK.

Antoine Leroy, the prosecutor of Carcassonne, said the mutton could potentially pass diseases into the human food chain.

“The process and the sale of such meat is banned in Europe’, said Mr Leroy, adding that an analysis was carried out by the Directorate of Veterinary Services in Paris. The same body last month conducted tests on horse meat masquerading as beef. As a precautionary measure all products that may contain the banned mutton have been recalled, said food minister Guillaume Garot. It is not known whether any of the mutton had reached the shop floor.

Spanghero, which employs 300 people, is already facing criminal action over its part in the horse meat scandal.

It was temporarily shut down by the French government for fraudulently selling 750 tons of horse as beef. But under union pressure to save jobs in a time of economic gloom, the agriculture ministry then controversially allowed it to reopen.

Barthelemy Aguerre, the CEO of Spanghero, said that his company had “once again been fooled by our supplier.”

"Spanghero will not be convicted for this in the courts. This meat should quite simply never have left Britain. It’s not our fault,” he said.

In a statement the company said it had ordered the meat as “minced lamb” from Draap Trading, the Cyprus-based Dutch company already accused of being a key player in the horse meat scandal.

Spanghero said it had “received meat presumed to conform to its order” before February 16, the date when it ended commercial relations with Draap. The two batches of illegal frozen meat are currently in cold storage and will be destroyed, it added.

Stephen Rossides, director of the British Meat Processors’ Association, said he wanted clarification on precisely what type of process was used to obtain the meat.

“But if this is material derived by mechanical means from the bones of sheep, then it cannot be legally used in food products,” said.

The BSE crisis in Britain saw the European Union ban British beef exports for 10 years from March 1996.

It sparked stricter rules on meat extraction, including mechanically separated mutton.

Sheep marrow has been linked to Scrapie, a fatal degenerative disease that affects the nervous systems of sheep and goats.

It is one of several spongiform encephalopathies related to BSE, which can be passed on to humans who eat food contaminated with the brain, spinal cord or digestive tract of infected carcasses.

The UK authorities question the food safety risks of eating mechanically separated meat.

“We don’t agree with the European Commission’s interpretation of the issue. But we have agreed to abide by the Commission’s demands (to ban it),” said Mr Rossides. “So if in any way those requirements are being breached anywhere in Europe, and I still have questions over that, that would be a matter of concern.”

why do we not want to do TSE transmission studies on chimpanzees $

5. A positive result from a chimpanzee challenged severly would likely create alarm in some circles even if the result could not be interpreted for man. I have a view that all these agents could be transmitted provided a large enough dose by appropriate routes was given and the animals kept long enough. Until the mechanisms of the species barrier are more clearly understood it might be best to retain that hypothesis.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011




Sunday, December 12, 2010

EFSA reviews BSE/TSE infectivity in small ruminant tissues News Story 2 December 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Molecular Typing of Protease-Resistant Prion Protein in Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies of Small Ruminants, France, 2002-2009

Volume 17, Number 1 January 2011

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Increased susceptibility of human-PrP transgenic mice to bovine spongiform encephalopathy following passage in sheep

Monday, April 25, 2011

Experimental Oral Transmission of Atypical Scrapie to Sheep

Volume 17, Number 5-May 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Atypical/Nor98 Scrapie Infectivity in Sheep Peripheral Tissues


Emerging Infectious Diseases • • Vol. 17, No. 5, May 2011

Experimental Oral Transmission of Atypical Scrapie to Sheep

Marion M. Simmons, S. Jo Moore,1 Timm Konold, Lisa Thurston, Linda A. Terry, Leigh Thorne, Richard Lockey, Chris Vickery, Stephen A.C. Hawkins, Melanie J. Chaplin, and John Spiropoulos

To investigate the possibility of oral transmission of atypical scrapie in sheep and determine the distribution of infectivity in the animals’ peripheral tissues, we challenged neonatal lambs orally with atypical scrapie; they were then killed at 12 or 24 months. Screening test results were negative for disease-specifi c prion protein in all but 2 recipients; they had positive results for examination of brain, but negative for peripheral tissues. Infectivity of brain, distal ileum, and spleen from all animals was assessed in mouse bioassays; positive results were obtained from tissues that had negative results on screening. These fi ndings demonstrate that atypical scrapie can be transmitted orally and indicate that it has the potential for natural transmission and iatrogenic spread through animal feed. Detection of infectivity in tissues negative by current surveillance methods indicates that diagnostic sensitivity is suboptimal for atypical scrapie, and potentially infectious material may be able to pass into the human food chain.


Although we do not have epidemiologic evidence that supports the effi cient spread of disease in the fi eld, these data imply that disease is potentially transmissible under fi eld situations and that spread through animal feed may be possible if the current feed restrictions were to be relaxed. Additionally, almost no data are available on the potential for atypical scrapie to transmit to other food animal species, certainly by the oral route. However, work with transgenic mice has demonstrated the potential susceptibility of pigs, with the disturbing fi nding that the biochemical properties of the resulting PrPSc have changed on transmission (40). The implications of this observation for subsequent transmission and host target range are currently unknown.

How reassuring is this absence of detectable PrPSc from a public health perspective? The bioassays performed in this study are not titrations, so the infectious load of the positive gut tissues cannot be quantifi ed, although infectivity has been shown unequivocally. No experimental data are currently available on the zoonotic potential of atypical scrapie, either through experimental challenge of humanized mice or any meaningful epidemiologic correlation with human forms of TSE. However, the detection of infectivity in the distal ileum of animals as young as 12 months, in which all the tissues tested were negative for PrPSc by the currently available screening and confi rmatory diagnostic tests, indicates that the diagnostic sensitivity of current surveillance methods is suboptimal for detecting atypical scrapie and that potentially infectious material may be able to pass into the human food chain undetected.

Emerging Infectious Diseases • • Vol. 17, No. 5, May 2011

1: J Infect Dis 1980 Aug;142(2):205-8

Oral transmission of kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and scrapie to nonhuman primates.

Gibbs CJ Jr, Amyx HL, Bacote A, Masters CL, Gajdusek DC.

Kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease of humans and scrapie disease of sheep and goats were transmitted to squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) that were exposed to the infectious agents only by their nonforced consumption of known infectious tissues. The asymptomatic incubation period in the one monkey exposed to the virus of kuru was 36 months; that in the two monkeys exposed to the virus of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was 23 and 27 months, respectively; and that in the two monkeys exposed to the virus of scrapie was 25 and 32 months, respectively. Careful physical examination of the buccal cavities of all of the monkeys failed to reveal signs or oral lesions. One additional monkey similarly exposed to kuru has remained asymptomatic during the 39 months that it has been under observation.


The successful transmission of kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and scrapie by natural feeding to squirrel monkeys that we have reported provides further grounds for concern that scrapie-infected meat may occasionally give rise in humans to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

PMID: 6997404

Recently the question has again been brought up as to whether scrapie is transmissible to man. This has followed reports that the disease has been transmitted to primates. One particularly lurid speculation (Gajdusek 1977) conjectures that the agents of scrapie, kuru, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and transmissible encephalopathy of mink are varieties of a single "virus". The U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that it could "no longer justify or permit scrapie-blood line and scrapie-exposed sheep and goats to be processed for human or animal food at slaughter or rendering plants" (ARC 84/77)" The problem is emphasised by the finding that some strains of scrapie produce lesions identical to the once which characterise the human dementias"

Whether true or not. the hypothesis that these agents might be transmissible to man raises two considerations. First, the safety of laboratory personnel requires prompt attention. Second, action such as the "scorched meat" policy of USDA makes the solution of the acrapie problem urgent if the sheep industry is not to suffer grievously.



Nature. 1972 Mar 10;236(5341):73-4.

Transmission of scrapie to the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis).

Gibbs CJ Jr, Gajdusek DC.

Nature 236, 73 - 74 (10 March 1972); doi:10.1038/236073a0

Transmission of Scrapie to the Cynomolgus Monkey (Macaca fascicularis)


National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

SCRAPIE has been transmitted to the cynomolgus, or crab-eating, monkey (Macaca fascicularis) with an incubation period of more than 5 yr from the time of intracerebral inoculation of scrapie-infected mouse brain. The animal developed a chronic central nervous system degeneration, with ataxia, tremor and myoclonus with associated severe scrapie-like pathology of intensive astroglial hypertrophy and proliferation, neuronal vacuolation and status spongiosus of grey matter. The strain of scrapie virus used was the eighth passage in Swiss mice (NIH) of a Compton strain of scrapie obtained as ninth intracerebral passage of the agent in goat brain, from Dr R. L. Chandler (ARC, Compton, Berkshire).

Sunday, April 18, 2010


IT is of my opinion, that the OIE and the USDA et al, are the soul reason, and responsible parties, for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy TSE prion diseases, including typical and atypical BSE, typical and atypical Scrapie, and all strains of CWD, and human TSE there from, spreading around the globe.

I have lost all confidence of this organization as a regulatory authority on animal disease, and consider it nothing more than a National Trading Brokerage for all strains of animal TSE, just to satisfy there commodity. AS i said before, OIE should hang up there jock strap now, since it appears they will buckle every time a country makes some political hay about trade protocol, commodities and futures. IF they are not going to be science based, they should do everyone a favor and dissolve there organization.

JUST because of low documented human body count with nvCJD and the long incubation periods, the lack of sound science being replaced by political and corporate science in relations with the fact that science has now linked some sporadic CJD with atypical BSE and atypical scrapie, and the very real threat of CWD being zoonosis, I believed the O.I.E. has failed terribly and again, I call for this organization to be dissolved. ...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

O.I.E. BSE, CWD, SCRAPIE, TSE PRION DISEASE Final Report of the 80th General Session, 20 - 25 May 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012




Para 72 and following sections

Mechanically recovered meat: Should you not suggest more urgent action over mechanically recovered meat, given that this seems to be the route of infection for vCJD?

It is all very well to have the 1995 controls in the UK, but are they 100 per cent effective? How can a consumer know if a product contains MRM from another country, where there may be either no, or very ineffective, controls?

Having read your report and the BSE Inquiry report, I suggest there is doubt about whether MRM can be safely eaten. It is very hard to be sure exactly what is in MRM and whether it is safe. Given this, your advice should surely be to advise consumers not to eat products which may contain MRM but to stick to cuts of meat which are clearly identifiable. It is often children who eat these MRM products.

I don`t know if there is the possibility to reply to these questions. I tried speaking to someone in your press office but he just quoted the report at me, which I can read very well for myself.ct contains MRM from another country, where there may be either no, or very ineffective, controls?

Having read your report and the BSE Inquiry report, I suggest there is doubt about whether MRM can be safely eaten. It is very hard to be sure exactly what is in MRM and whether it is safe. Given this, your advice should surely be to advise consumers not to eat products which may contain MRM but to stick to cuts of meat which are clearly identifiable. It is often children who eat these MRM products.

I don`t know if there is the possibility to reply to these questions. I tried speaking to someone in your press office but he just quoted the report at me, which I can read very well for myself.



snip...see more on MRM’s or MSM’s i.e. mechanically removed meats or mechanically separated meats here ;

Wednesday, March 14, 2012



Mysterious BSE-like disease found in sheep (UK sheep goat export]

By Terry S. Singeltary Sr. Published April 9, 2004


Download this document

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Re: Mysterious BSE-like disease found in sheep (UK sheep goat export]
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2004 09:52:54 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Wednesday, January 18, 2012




UK: caprine BSE Date: Sat 3 Dec 2011 Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases 17(12) 12 [edited]

Isolation of prion with BSE properties from farmed goat


[Authors: Spiropoulos J, Lockey R, Sallis RE, Terry LA, Thorne L, Holder TM, et al. Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Weybridge, Surrey, UK]



Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies are fatal neurodegenerative diseases that include variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, scrapie in small ruminants, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle. Scrapie is not considered a public health risk, but BSE has been linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Small ruminants are susceptible to BSE, and in 2005 BSE was identified in a farmed goat in France. We confirm another BSE case in a goat in which scrapie was originally diagnosed and retrospectively identified as suspected BSE. The prion strain in this case was further characterized by mouse bioassay after extraction from formaldehyde-fixed brain tissue embedded in paraffin blocks. Our data show that BSE can infect small ruminants under natural conditions and could be misdiagnosed as scrapie. Surveillance should continue so that another outbreak of this zoonotic transmissible spongiform encephalopathy can be prevented and public health safeguarded.

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are fatal diseases characterized by neurodegenerative changes in the central nervous system that include vacuolation, gliosis, and accumulation of an abnormal isoform (PrPSc) of a naturally occurring host-encoded protein (PrPC) (1). According to the prion hypothesis, PrPSc is the major or the sole infectious agent (1). Although this hypothesis has not received universal acceptance, PrPScis ubiquitous in all known naturally occurring TSEs, and its detection is widely used for their diagnosis.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a TSE of cattle, was first detected in 1986 (2) and has since been linked with emerging TSEs in other species (3,4) including humans (5,6). Because of its ability to cross species barriers and particularly its zoonotic potential, BSE is considered a public health risk, and extensive measures have been established to detect and eliminate the disease.

Scrapie, a naturally occurring TSE affecting small ruminants, has been known for centuries (7) and is not considered to pose a public health risk (8). Under experimental conditions, however, small ruminants are susceptible to BSE, with pathogenesis and clinical signs that are not readily distinguishable from scrapie (9-12). Additionally, the fact that small ruminants were exposed to BSE-contaminated food before the exclusion of meat and bone meal from ruminant feedstuffs led to the possibility that sheep and goats on commercial farms could be affected by BSE that could be misdiagnosed as scrapie (13,14). The response to this potential risk was the implementation of extensive statutory active surveillance, elimination, and breeding for resistance programs in the European Union (EU).

In 2005, as part of a review of historical TSE-positive cases of sheep and goats in France, a specimen from a goat slaughtered for human consumption in 2002 was reported to be "indistinguishable from a BSE isolate on the basis of all identification criteria available." (15). In response to this report, 2 retrospective studies were initiated in the United Kingdom to analyze archived samples from goat cases that were initially diagnosed as scrapie (16,17). Because only fixed material was available, both studies had to use differential immunohistochemical analysis (D-IHC), a technique that can discriminate scrapie from experimentally induced BSE in sheep (18). These studies identified a single case, originally diagnosed in 1990 as scrapie, that had a D-IHC signature indistinguishable from BSE (16).

Given the wide phenotypic variance of scrapie in sheep and our limited knowledge of this variance in goats, the D-IHC result on its own was insufficient for an unequivocal diagnosis. In accordance with EU regulation 36/2005 (19), the case was referred to the EU Reference Laboratory Strain Typing Expert Group, which recommended further investigation by bioassay.

Bioassay is conventionally undertaken by using unfixed tissues to prepare inocula. Much historical tissue is available only as formalin fixed or formalin fixed and paraffin wax embedded. TSE infectivity persists in such material but with a lower infectious titer than with unfixed frozen tissue (20). However, the potential effects on biological activity, and therefore strain characterization, of fixation and processing are unknown. Thus, further investigation of this case required an extensive panel of controls. We report the results of the bioassay analysis and confirm the diagnosis of BSE in a goat in the United Kingdom.

-- Communicated by: Terry S Singeltary Sr

[Interested readers should access the original text via the source URL above to view the full text an the references cited. The following has been extracted from the Discussion.

"The 2 cases of naturally occurring BSE in small ruminants, the one reported here and the one identified in France (15), occurred in different countries, during different time periods, and before strict BSE control measures were fully implemented. Therefore, the most likely origin of these 2 cases would be exposure to BSE-contaminated food supplements. Although in France goats constitute 14.3 percent of the small ruminant population, in the United Kingdom they account for only 0.3 percent of small ruminants. It is intriguing, therefore, that the only naturally occurring BSE cases in small ruminants in France and particularly in the United Kingdom were detected in goats and not in sheep, although they have also been exposed to contaminated food supplements. A possible explanation could be that goats are generally managed more intensively than sheep and thus might have been exposed to higher doses of the infectious agent because of the more frequent use of concentrates in intensive dairy farming. Similar observations have been reported in cattle, in which the incidence of BSE was significantly higher in dairy herds and in which management is much more intensive than in beef herds (34). In the United Kingdom, most of the commercial goat herds are kept for milk production in a typically intensive production system, similar to dairy cattle.

The BSE case we have confirmed was 1 of 26 historic goat samples examined in the United Kingdom collected during 1984-2002 (16,17). Since 1993, scrapie in goats has been a notifiable disease in the United Kingdom, and since 2005, samples from all suspected cases of TSE in small ruminants are required to be tested for BSE-like features by using Western blotting (WB) (19). No BSE cases have been identified, although an intermediate case in a goat was reported and is under investigation by bioassay for final resolution (35,36). This screening of brain samples from all small ruminant cases offers reassurance that BSE is not present in the contemporary small ruminant population. However, application of WB to sheep experimentally co-infected with BSE and scrapie detected only the scrapie agent (37). Also, in contrast to BSE, where infectivity is mainly confined to the nervous system, in small ruminants the BSE agent is widely distributed in peripheral tissues and can be transmitted horizontally (11,38). Therefore, feed ban measures alone would be inadequate to control a BSE outbreak in small ruminants. Also, it would be impossible to prevent BSE from entering the human food chain through consumption of food products derived from small ruminants.

Because TSEs in goats are still a problem, particularly in Mediterranean countries, our data suggest that extensive surveillance and breeding schemes must remain in place to prevent a BSE outbreak in small ruminants and to safeguard public health. This report also highlights several issues regarding the use of mouse bioassay to identify TSE strains. As governing bodies seek confirmation of equivocal cases that are identified worldwide, they must be aware of the limitations, cost, and timescale demands of confirming such cases." - Mod.CP]

[See for the interactive HealthMap/ProMED map of the United Kingdom. - Mod.MPP]





Switzerland: BSE Date: Fri 16 Dec 2011 Source: Prionics AG, e-scope newsletter [edited]

In spring 2011, 2 new cases of BSE were discovered in Switzerland [see ProMED-mail posting Prion disease update 2011 (10) 20111107.3317]. Both cases were detected using the Prionics(R)-Check BSE tests. A report has now been published showing that these cases represent a novel type of BSE. What are the consequences of these new BSE cases?

After a period of 4 years without BSE positive cows, in spring this year [2011] Switzerland was shaken by the discovery of 2 new BSE cases detected only one month apart from each other. The cases appeared in different areas of Switzerland and involved animals aged 8 and 15 years, which were tested with the Prionics(R)-Check BSE tests as part of the active disease surveillance program. Bettina Bernhard, Head of the Prionics diagnostic laboratory reported that: "It was the 1st time in 4.5 years that we had found a BSE positive sample in our laboratory. Based on the results from the Prionics(R)-Check WESTERN, we immediately saw that the fingerprint of the prion protein was not that of the classical BSE cases we have detected before. We then informed the Swiss National Reference Laboratory and veterinary authorities and the positive result was confirmed with the Prionics(R)-Check PrioSTRIP."

Novel type of BSE?


BSE cases that differ from the classical BSE strain have been detected before, however, with low incidence. These atypical strains, designated BASE/L-BSE and H-BSE, were first reported in 2004 in Italy and France. Both strains were detected as part of routine surveillance using the Prionics(R)-Check WESTERN and ELISA tests. The recent publication by Torsten Seuberlich of the Swiss National and OIE [World Organisation for Animal Health] Reference Laboratories for BSE and Scrapie and his colleagues, is showing that these 2 Swiss cases not only differ from classical BSE, but also from the atypical BSE cases found in other countries. It appears that the 2 BSE cases detected in Switzerland seem to represent a novel type of atypical BSE. Dr Seuberlich explains: "We are now undertaking further investigations into these 2 cases and until there is more clarity, surveillance should continue to be carried out at a high level and disease awareness should be increased. Furthermore, we have to ensure that diagnostic techniques are applied that identify such cases."

Continued vigilance needed


Whereas consumption of meat from cows affected by classical BSE has been associated with vCJD, the public health hazard from atypical BSE is unclear. Little is known about its origin and whether it can be transmitted to other animals. These cases show, however, that BSE has not been completely eradicated and that the disease can continue to occur even with current preventive measures (such as the meat-and-bone meal ban) in place. The appearance of new strains of the prion protein could also indicate that BSE is still evolving. Continuous monitoring will be needed to keep these new strains under surveillance.

-- Communicated by: Terry S Singeltary Sr

[[See for the interactive HealthMap/ProMED map of Switzerland. - Mod.MPP]


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