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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager, (515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

07-01-04

Contacts:

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

NEWS TIP: Iowa State experts can comment on mad cow disease

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University experts can provide perspective on the latest developments in mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

On June 25, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that a cattle carcass had tested as "inconclusive" for mad cow disease. A follow-up test at a USDA laboratory in Ames (not affiliated with Iowa State University) found no sign of the disease, the Agriculture Department said June 30. Officials declined to provide any additional information about the animal.

Test results on a second carcass, singled out on June 29 as possibly being infected, will not be available for several days.

The first U.S. case of mad cow disease was confirmed in a Washington state dairy cow on Dec. 23, 2003. That cow had originated in Alberta, Canada, where a case of BSE had been reported in May 2003. The U.S. case prompted USDA to launch a more aggressive surveillance program.

The brain-wasting disease has been widespread in Europe, linked to more than 140 human deaths.

ISU experts

Dr. Nolan Hartwig, ISU veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine professor and Extension veterinarian, can speak on issues related to food safety, how mad cow disease is spread, and how it is controlled and regulated. He may be reached at (515) 294-0711, or nhartwig@iastate.edu.

Gary May, livestock market Extension economist (affiliated with the Iowa Beef Center), can comment on livestock economics and beef marketing. He may be reached at (515) 294-8030, (cell) 231-7488, or gmay@iastate.edu.

Daniel Loy, professor of animal science and Extension specialist with the Iowa Beef Center, can talk about FDA's ban on ruminant protein in ruminant feeds and what it means for producers. He may be reached at (515) 294-1058, or dloy@iastate.edu.

Bob Wisner, University Professor and Extension economist, can talk about how mad cow disease affects grain markets. He can be reached at (515) 294-6310, or rwwisner@iastate.edu.

Jacob Petrich, professor of chemistry, can discuss VerifEYE, a flourescence-based imaging technology that is used by meat processors to detect trace amounts of feces on meat samples. These feces are a primary source of foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella. Currently, Petrich is using this technology to develop techniques to detect factors responsible for mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Petrich has received many honors for this research, including the R&D 100 Award in 2000. He may be reached at (515) 294-9422 or jwp@iastate.edu.

(Note: John Lawrence, ISU livestock economist, associate professor and director of the Iowa Beef Center, is unavailable for comment until July 12. He is a frequent media source on livestock economics and beef marketing.)

Additional information is available online at http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/bsemain.htm

Quick look

Iowa State University experts can provide perspective on the latest developments in mad cow disease.