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US Is Safe From Mad Cow Disease

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Mad Cow DiseaseThe lame and laid down cow, which brought America’s attention back to the mad cow disease, is no risk to the country’s health. The authorities have repeatedly assured that the US beef is safe from this disease. The cow, which is the fourth case of BSE in the country, was 10 years and seven months old and was “humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent,” said USDA in a statement.


Although the authorities refused to say much on the cow’s symptoms, it was known that the cow, a Holstein, was to be sent to the rendering plant and was never destined to end up in the meat market, before it was diagnosed with the disease. Cows, which are more than 2 ½ years old are generally at a risk to contract the mad cow disease and these animals are usually sent to the rendering plant so that the infection doesn’t spread.


The meat industry is taking refuge in the fact that only four animals in America have been diagnosed with this disease since 2003. Citing control measures working well, James H. Hodges, executive vice president of the American Meat Institute, says, “That translates into one of the lowest rates of BSE in any nation that has ever diagnosed a case.” And there is only one source of this disease, that is contaminated feed. Paul Brown, a scientist retired from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, explains, “In view of what we know about BSE after almost 20 years experience, contaminated feed has been the source of the epidemic.”


However, not everyone is buying into that argument, like the consumer group, Consumers Union. One of the scientists with the Union, Michael Hansen, says, “So we really don’t know if this is an isolated unusual event, or whether there are more cases in US beef. Our monitoring program is just too small.”


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US Is Safe From Mad Cow Disease