GAO faults FDA handling of BSE-linked feed ban

first_img The report includes nine recommendations to correct the various problems. The FDA disagreed with four of the recommendations, including the advice that the FDA should test feed samples when it inspects feed businesses. Tests cannot detect the prions that cause BSE, but they can detect animal material, which would help in verifying inspection results, the GAO contends. Some feed businesses have never been inspected, while others have not been inspected in more than 5 years, according to the GAO report, issued in March. In addition, the FDA does not usually test cattle feed for banned material, and the agency has not always alerted other federal agencies and the states when it learned that cattle might have been given feed containing such material. GAO report “Mad cow disease: FDA’s management of the feed ban has improved, but oversight weaknesses continue to limit program effectiveness” Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., requested the GAO report. To gather information, the agency reviewed 404 FDA inspection reports, interviewed FDA officials, and watched FDA and state inspectors conduct 19 feed-facility inspections in 12 states, the report says. The GAO also surveyed state agency officials in 38 states that inspected feed facilities under contracts with the FDA last year. The report says that in commenting on a draft version, the FDA said it believed “that the weaknesses we identified are not sufficiently material to place U.S. cattle at risk for BSE and that its risk-based inspection approach assures adequate oversight of the feed-ban rule.” Apr 26, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Despite some improvements since 2002, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) enforcement of rules to keep bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from spreading through cattle feed still has serious gaps, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported recently. The report says the FDA has remedied some problems that the GAO had described in a report in early 2002. The agency now has uniform methods for inspecting feed facilities and training both FDA and state inspectors, plus better methods for tracking inspection results. The FDA has not always alerted the USDA and states when it learned that cattle might have been given feed containing banned material, even though the FDA’s guidelines call for such notifications. In one case, an inspector found that a firm had been using banned material for nearly a year; the firm issued a recall, but the FDA did not notify the USDA or the state. “We believe that the problems described in this report are serious and that, given the fact that BSE has been discovered in North American cattle, breaches in FDA’s oversight of the feed-ban rule place US cattle at risk for BSE,” the report states. But the FDA said the problems are not significant enough to pose a serious risk. About 14,800 feed manufacturers and other feed-industry businesses have been inspected so far, but the FDA knows there are others that have not been inspected, and it has no “uniform approach” for finding them. The FDA has not reinspected about 2,800 feed businesses in the past 5 years. Many of those were farms that are considered low-risk, but about 400 were feed mills, where the risk of violations is deemed higher. The FDA has given incomplete information about feed-ban compliance to Congress and the public. For example, in January 2004 the agency reported a 99% compliance rate but failed to note that the rate was based on inspections of only about 570 firms. And in some cases, FDA has counted firms as being in compliance even when the firms have placed no warning labels on feeds that contain prohibited material. See also: The FDA’s inspection guidelines do not call for routine testing of cattle feed for banned material. FDA officials said the presence of exempt items such as cattle blood in feed makes such testing useless, but officials in some states said such testing would be useful at firms that say they don’t use exempt items. Under the FDA feed ban, firms must clearly label feed and feed ingredients that may contain banned proteins with the statement “Do not feed to cattle or other ruminants.” Firms also must have methods for preventing mixing if they handle feed for both nonruminant animals (whose feed is still allowed to contain cattle protein) and ruminants. The sole US case of BSE so far was discovered in December 2003 in a Canadian born cow in Washington state. The discovery promoted the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to add some new rules to keep infective material out of the food supply and to greatly increase testing of cattle for the disease. The USDA and FDA banned the use of specified-risk materials—high-risk cattle parts such as the brain, spinal cord, and tonsils—in human food, but they can still be used in feed for nonruminant animals and pets. BSE, or mad cow disease, spreads when cattle eat feed containing the remains of infected animals. To prevent this, in 1997 the FDA banned the use of most proteins from mammals in feed for cattle and other ruminant animals. (However, cattle blood, milk, restaurant plate waste, and gelatin can still be used in cattle feed.) However, the GAO finds that the enforcement program still has serious weaknesses: Feb 28, 2002, CIDRAP News story “GAO says US barriers to mad cow disease are full of holes” read more

Duke Energy sends linemen to help restore Florida power

first_imgPinellas County, Fl. — About 630 Duke Energy Indiana workers are in Florida working to restore power to millions in the dark. Experts say the operation could be the most extensive difficult in history. In many cases the electrical infrastructure will have to be completely reconstructed.“Because we’re a large utility in multiple areas of the country, we can deploy our crews from non-impacted areas  to storm-damaged areas and restore power to our customers more quickly,” said Melody Birmingham-Byrd, Duke Energy Indiana state president. “Many of these workers are seasoned veterans, having worked in numerous storm restoration efforts.”The crews arrived in Pinellas County, Florida Sunday and are preparing to be dispatched as soon as damage assessments are complete.last_img

Volleyball preps for Pac-12 teams stocked with talent

first_imgDillon Matthew | Daily TrojanThe No. 21 USC women’s volleyball team will begin its Pac-12 journey on Wednesday against rival No. 11 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, and the Trojans will be challenged by the Bruins early in their bid to return to the NCAA tournament.  The Trojans regularly face the Bruins twice in conference play, yet they did not manage to defeat the Bruins last year in four- and five-set losses from their two matches.The Pac-12 conference in Division I women’s volleyball hosts a daunting schedule for all teams involved.  The conference includes the 2016 NCAA National Champion Stanford as well as six additional teams, including the Trojans, who are currently also nationally ranked: No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Oregon, No. 11 UCLA, No. 16 Utah and No. 25 Colorado.Facing UCLA first is going to build the foundation for the Trojans’ Pac-12 performance, but a loss could be detrimental to the team’s momentum as it follows up this game with a match against the currently unranked Oregon State and Washington State programs prior to meeting No. 7 Washington on Oct. 1 at the Galen Center.“The game against UCLA will be fun, especially since the team has been preparing for conference to start against our crosstown rival,” junior middle blocker Brittany Welsh said.  “Preseason has been great for us because we have been working through our system to get ready for the Pac-12 competition.”As they had last season and this season thus far, the Trojan lineup is presumably going to rely heavily on sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier.  This season alone, Lanier has swung on approximately one-third of the Trojans’ overall hitting attempts — compiling 171 kills in the 40 sets she’s played.  UCLA is presumably going to key in on this Trojan tendency and match up larger blockers while focusing on establishing double and triple blocks against Lanier while she’s front row, which actually unlocks many opportunities for the Trojan offense.Senior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley and sophomore setter Cindy Marina, who share setting duties for the Trojans, will be keys to success for USC against UCLA.  Since the Bruins will likely focus on deterring Lanier as an offensive threat, these two setters have the opportunity to establish their faster-paced offense to give junior outside hitter Alyse Ford and senior opposite hitters Niki Withers and Brittany Abercrombie more hitting opportunities with less pressure from the Bruin block.However, the key aspect to success against UCLA will be the setters implementing the middle blockers into their offense more than they are currently setting them.  The Trojan middle blockers — Welsh and seniors Jordan Dunn and Danielle Geiger — collectively account for a little over 11 percent of the total attempts despite their combined 79 kills on 154 sets to this date.  Effectively setting the Trojan middles can only be achieved with a solid serve receive and defensive unit, which junior libero Victoria Garrick has done by leading the back row and accumulating a team-high 150 digs so far this season.Ultimately, UCLA will be ready to compete and may have a different playing style than what the Trojans have been exposed to, since many of their indoor players also compete for the school’s beach volleyball program, whereas the Trojans’ squad is solely indoor athletes.Senior setter Sarah Sponcil of UCLA will be leading its offense, and her experience on the sand will give her court vision and awareness that is not typically embodied by solely indoor players.  Sponcil just transferred to UCLA from LMU, where she was a standout beach volleyball athlete before withdrawing to compete for Team USA last year.The Trojans’ most difficult hurdle to overcome, however, will be the Bruins’ defense.  UCLA junior libero Zana Muno has already earned Pac-12 weekly defensive honors and sophomore libero Savvy Simo has also accumulated numerous digs when playing alongside or replacing Muno.  Both liberos have been key players on the UCLA beach squad in past years, and their defensive capabilities are highly attributable to covering the entire court in the sand game.Both the Trojans and Bruins are expected to be fired up, and they anticipate a grueling match that will display two ranked and rivaling programs competing to gain an early lead in Pac-12 play.last_img read more

Markelle Fultz injury update: 76ers guard out indefinitely with thoracic outlet syndrome

first_imgFultz had visited several specialists in the past week and his attorney/agent tells ESPN that this TOS syndrome has been a finding on his neck and shooting shoulder.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 4, 2018Fultz averaged 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the 14 regular season games he appeared in last year. He has played in 19 regular season games in Philadelphia’s current campaign, averaging 8.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and and 3.1 assists. Related News #Sixers— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) December 4, 2018According to ESPN, the injury affects his neck and shoulder, which has caused his shooting motion to become irregular. He cracked the starting lineup at the beginning of the year, but was moved to the bench after the 76ers acquired Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves. While his jump shot has improved, he has not produced like people expect a former No. 1 overall pick to. Markelle Fultz has taken a leave of absence from the 76ers to have specialists take a look at his shoulder. The second-year guard sustained the shoulder injury just before his rookie season and the problem was supposedly corrected over the offseason. But that was clearly not the case. The 76ers revealed Tuesday that Fultz has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and is out indefinitely.  Former teammates of 76ers’ Markelle Fultz discuss his struggleslast_img read more