Jan 24, 2012
US Supreme Court overturns California's 'downer' livestock law
The US Supreme Court yesterday unanimously overturned a California law that required euthanization of "downer" livestock as a food safety measure, thereby upholding the supremacy of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) of 1906, Food Safety News (FSN) reported today. California enacted the law in 2009, banning the sale or slaughter or downer cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep, which are animals that are unable to walk. Downer cattle may pose an increased risk of bovine spongiform encephalitis, or mad cow disease, though no cases have been identified in the United States since 2006. The National Meat Association challenged the California law on behalf of pork producers, and a federal judge in Fresno struck down the law, but the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed that decision. In its decision, the Supreme Court said the FMIA "expressly pre-empts" state laws aimed at federally inspected pork facilities.
Jan 24 FSN story
California ends 2011 with no pertussis deaths
For the first time since 1991, California reported no pertussis (whooping cough) deaths last year, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said in a statement today. The zero fatality report comes a year after the disease sickened 9,000 Californians and killed 10 infants. Dr Ron Chapman, director of the CDPH, said contributing factors were greater pertussis awareness, more rapid diagnosis and treatment, and increased vaccination rates. "I thank our public health and medical communities for working together and being especially vigilant following the 2010 epidemic," he said in the statement. The state offered hospitals free vaccine for new parents. A new state law takes effect this fall that requires students in grades 7 through 12 to get a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster. The CDPH said state had more than 3,000 infections in 2011, which is still high. For comparison, in 1991, the last year when no deaths were reported, only 249 pertussis cases were reported. Of 575 babies 3 months or younger who had pertussis, 42% were hospitalized last year, down from 59% in 2010.
Jan 24 CDPH statement