Other Biological Hazards

Food-producing animals may also serve as sources of parasitic and viral disease agents.[1] For example, swine may be involved in the transmission of trichinosis (Trichinella spiralis), sarcocystosis (Sarcocystis spp.), and toxoplas-mosis (Toxoplasma gondii); and poultry of toxoplasmosis, whereas beef cattle may transmit tapeworms (Taenia spp.) and Sarcocystis spp. or serve as indirect vectors for the transmission of Cryptosporidium parvum (cryptosporidio-sis) through water contaminated with feces.[9] Viral agents, such as Norovirus, hepatitis A, and enteroviruses, are responsible for most foodborne disease cases in the United States,[2] but their transmission is mostly associated with poor sanitation, cross-contamination during preparation and serving, or inadequate cooking.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has emerged as a major animal health issue in recent years, especially because of its potential involvement in human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) such as a new variant, Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD). Evidence indicates that BSE is caused by prions found in central nervous tissue, and originated in cattle fed ruminant byproducts. In the 1990s, the United States established a number of measures to prevent the emergence of this problem in this country. They included a ban on importation of live ruminants and their products from countries with native BSE, immunohistochemical examinations of brains of cattle condemned for nervous system disorders, and a ban on the use of ruminant materials in meat and bone meal feeds for ruminants.[9] However, in December 2003, the first cow with BSE was detected in the United States, following another single case in Canada earlier that year. Following this event, additional measures were announced by the USDA/FSIS and the Food and

Drug Administration (FDA) in efforts to prevent spread of the problem and to better protect public health. These measures included banning use of downer (unable to stand and walk) cattle from human food, holding carcasses of cattle tested for BSE until results are confirmed, prohibiting stunning of cattle with air-injection guns, banning from the food supply specified risk materials (brain, skull, eyes, spinal cord, small intestines, etc.) of cattle over 30 months of age and the small intestine of cattle of all ages, increasing process controls for material obtained with advanced meat recovery systems, banning use of mechanically separated meat in food products, and banning from FDA-regulated foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics use of the previous materials.

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