Concerns Raised about 1997 U. S. Mad Cow Tests
Date: Thursday, April 14 2005
Topic: Canadian News
Published on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
OTTAWA -- The United States did not properly analyze two suspected cases of mad cow disease in 1997, years before it showed up in Canada and devastated this country's beef industry, a CBC News investigation suggests.
Dr. Masuo Doi, the U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian in charge of investigating one of the 1997 cases, says he's haunted by fears that the right tests were not done and that his own department did not properly investigate whether the cow had BSE.
Doi is now retired and speaking for the first time about his concerns.
"I don't want to carry on off to my retirement," he told CBC's Investigative Unit. "I want to hand it over to someone to continue, to find out. I think it's very, very important...
"How many did we miss?"
Doi's concerns are echoed by Dr. Karl Langheindrich, the chief scientist at a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Athens, Ga., that ran some of the early tests on the cow. The sample given to the lab did not contain parts of the animal's brain critical for an accurate diagnosis, he said.
Langheindrich told CBC News that the department will never be able to say for sure what was wrong with the cow, though at the time it publicly ruled out bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
"Based on the clinical symptoms and the description given by the veterinarian, you can verify, yes, this animal had CNS, central nervous system disease, but you can't specify it in your findings further than that," he said.