Note to Editors: The following is a media tip sheet that includes information about BSE, or Mad Cow, experts and resources at Colorado State University. The contact information for experts is intended to provide resources to reporters and editors and is not intended as contact information for the public. To arrange interviews, please contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at 970-491-6009 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Brad Bohlander at 970-491-1545. Additional information about BSE and related issues is available on the Web at www.agnews.colostate.edu/bse.
BSE MEDIA RESOURCES TIP SHEET: Colorado State University BSE experts available for comment
Economic impacts of BSE on agriculture
Wendy Umberger, Colorado State University agricultural economist, can discuss the United States beef industry’s relationship with Canada, the impact of the BSE on the current beef prices in the market. Umberger is also an expert in country of origin labeling, including legislation and consumer impressions of food labels that identify where a product originated, such as labeling beef products that would be imported from other countries. This labeling system would identify food products by the country, company or farm that they come from.
Red meat and food supply safety
Keith Belk is a member of a team that oversees the Colorado State University Center for Red Meat Quality, a nationally-known meat-safety research facility. This center is a powerhouse of red meat safety research. Belk can discuss beef safety in domestic and international markets, general U.S. Department of Agriculture procedures that are in place at packing plants to protect consumers from BSE and food safety threats, and the current safety of the meat supply.
Animal disease, epidemiology and biosecurity
Paul Morley, Colorado State University veterinarian has research emphasis in animal disease epidemiology and biosecurity. He can discuss the epidemiology of BSE, biosecurity and how those diseases might impact livestock production. Morley can also discuss the U.S. surveillance of BSE compared to other countries, including Canada, as well as the handling of high risk material – the spinal cord and brain where the disease is carried – and how that relates to meat safety.
BSE monitoring and testing
The Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nation-wide testing network to monitor for and test animals for BSE. Dr. Barb Powers, director of the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System, can discuss the BSE testing process used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She can explain the rapid test used by the BSE surveillance system as well as protocol to further test inconclusive results. The rapid test system, used by seven state laboratories, was first evaluated at Colorado State for chronic wasting disease, a disease in the same family as BSE that effects deer and elk. Powers can discuss testing protocol, the difference between rapid tests and more complex tests at National Veterinarian Services Laboratory used to further define inconclusive results, as well as inconclusive BSE test results in general. She can discuss specifics about transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases, a group of neurodegenerative disorders that include BSE in cows. The U.S. Department of agriculture’s system for surveillance of Mad Cow is designed to identify infected animals before they show late stage symptoms. The Colorado State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory was one of the first of only 26 nationally certified laboratories for confirmation of the diagnosis of chronic wasting disease and scrapie, both transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases, called TSEs, and is recognized internationally for its expertise in this area.