The nation's fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), sometimes referred to as "mad cow disease," has been confirmed in a dairy cow in central California, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.
The carcass was at a Baker Commodities Inc. rendering facility in Hanford, California, according to Executive Vice President Dennis Luckey.
The company renders animal byproducts and had randomly selected the animal for testing last Wednesday, he said.
"We are in the business of removing dead animals from dairies in the Central Valley," he told CNN in a telephone interview. "As part of that program, we participate in the BSE surveillance program."
Public health officials said the risk to public was extremely low.
The sample was sent to UC Davis for initial testing, which came back inconclusive. It was then sent to the USDA's laboratory in Ames, Iowa, where it tested positive, the agency said.
The carcass was in quarantine Tuesday night. "We're waiting now for USDA to tell us how to dispose of it," Luckey said.
Luckey would not divulge on which farm the animal was found. He said his company tests 1,000 to 2,000 animals a year, which he described as "a small percentage" of the overall number of animals it renders.
Had it been rendered, it could have been turned into an element of a number of products, including chemicals or feed for poultry or livestock, he said.
But it would not likely have spread the disease, since USDA regulations prohibit high-risk parts of the cow, such as brains and spinal cords, from entering the food chain.
Eating contaminated meat or some other animal products from cattle that have bovine spongiform encephalopathy is thought to be the cause of the fatal brain disease in humans that is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
The fatal disease was blamed for the deaths of 150 people in Britain, where there was an outbreak in the 1980s and 1990s.
In people, symptoms of the disease include psychiatric and behavioral changes, movement deficits, memory disturbances and cognitive impairments.
BSE can cause infected animals to display nervousness or aggression, difficulty in coordination and standing up, decreased milk production or loss of body weight, according to the agency.
It is usually transmitted between cows through the practice of recycling bovine carcasses for meat and bone meal protein, which is fed to other cattle. In this case, the USDA reports that it was a rare form of BSE not likely carried by contaminated feed.
The USDA said it remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the odds of a person contracting mad cow disease, even after consuming contaminated products, are less than one in 10 billion.
California Department of Public Health Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman issued a statement Tuesday saying residents do not need to take any specific precautions.
Unlike most other meat-borne illnesses, such as those caused by E.-coli bacteria, cooking does not kill the infectious agent that causes mad cow disease.
Consumers who wish to exercise extra caution can follow the advice presented by the Web-based consumer advocacy group Consumeraffairs.com, which advises the avoidance of brains, neck bones and beef cheeks, bone marrow and cuts of beef that are sold on the bone. The group also says to choose boneless cuts of meat and ground beef only if it has been ground in the store.
"Evidence shows that our systems and safeguards to prevent BSE are working, as are similar actions taken by countries around the world," said John Clifford, the USDA's chief veterinary officer.
Last year, 29 cases of BSE were reported worldwide, down 99% since the peak of 37,311 cases in 1992. "This is directly attributable to the impact and effectiveness of feed bans as a primary control measure for the disease," he said.
"A case of a single cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy is not a reason for significant concern on the part of consumers, and there is no reason to believe the beef or milk supply is unsafe," said Sarah Klein, food safety attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
"If the cow were exposed to the typical strain of BSE via animal feed - and the government says that's not the case here - that would have represented a significant failure."
But she said the government would have had a difficult time tracking down other cattle that may have been eaten the same feed because the nation lacks an effective animal ID program.
I'm getting a new computer but don't want to lose my Firefox bookmarks. Is there an easy way to save a record of all the URLs in my Bookmarks and then quickly upload them to Firefox on my new computer?.
Grass-fed fed beef. Gamier taste, but healthier and safer. Also, I'm pretty sure that feeding chickens rendered cow parts is a bad idea. Sure, chickens won't get infected, but prions extremely stable and resist digestion very well, so it is possible that chickens can act as a carrier. Few things can break down prions: gamma radiation, 4 hours @ 900F, a special protease from lichens, high pressure and temperature (i.e. autoclave conditions) and composting. Chickens don't have anything in common with those methods.
I was glad to hear that cases are dropping worlwide. It's a great some that regulation is working.Last year, 29 cases of BSE were reported worldwide, down 99% since the peak of 37,311 cases in 1992. "This is directly attributable to the impact and effectiveness of feed bans as a primary control measure for the disease,"
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I had a mad cow once. He was always so angry. I tried advance anger management classes for him to no avail. At my wit's end, I set up surveillance cameras in the pasture. That darn coyote was pulling his tail at night. The only solution was to hire a pack of roadrunners to spend the night. Mr. Coyote left in frustration and my "mad" cow calmed down. What a relief!
Mad cow disease...hope 'ThaGerm' and others like this person got their answer...
Raising chickens at home is not a good idea. Just in case, in times of bird flu epidemic, etc; culling and control of spread of disease will become very difficult and could become very dangerous for people. Having animals, meant for food, in a centralized locations is a sensible thing...
April 16, 2012 at 5:58 am |
This response sounds like it comes from a person with NO experience in the subject matter; rather, a phobia that they wish to pass on to others. If I am wrong, please post some sources or let us in on your extensive credentials in farming and virology. What, no experience in either farming or virology? Noooo, you don't say. No really please DON'T say.
April 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
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Interesting story. The medical correspondant claims we have never had an issue with this in the US, or the 3 cases were from aboard yet it takes 15 years for it to show up. So how can one be sure our meat isn't tainted here now. We won't know for another decade. jeez.
Going by the governments own numbers, ALL beef sold in the U.S. Must be contaminated with mad cow. They say you have a 1 in 10 billion chance of catching it if you eat contaminated meat. Theres around 300 million people in the U.S. The CDC says we have around 200 new cases a year in the U.S. Just doing the math, there would need to be 2 Trillion contaminated portions consumed here. I seriously doubt that we consume 2 trillion portions a year. The governments numbers dont add up.
southern_gent, I don't exactly think beef is a healthy food, but I've never heard there are 200 cases of Mad Cow Disease every year. I think this particular case is the 4th – that we're aware of anyway.
Actually, it looks like the cdc says there were 200 cases worldwide of CJD (a human form of BSE) as of 2006.
If you are refering to CJD that is different than vCJD that is associated with BSE. CJD is much more common.
Au contrars, mon ami... The "200 cases" you're referring to were in Britain, not in the U.S. of A.. But the numbers in fact are ridiculously off, even if you do the math for seven billion people.... So, yea. Eata da beef? No problama! LOL.
This is the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Drink some of that cows milk and mad cow disease will become mad human disease!
I thought this article would be about Pelosi, Boxer, or Feinstein. Bummer.
Here's a little bit of research that most of the ignorant commenters here are completely incapable of doing:
From http://www.cdc.gov (yes, I know that's a government agency so most of you will discount it):
"Classic CJD is a human prion disease. It is a neurodegenerative disorder with characteristic clinical and diagnostic features. This disease is rapidly progressive and always fatal. Infection with this disease leads to death usually within 1 year of onset of illness.
Important Note: Classic CJD is not related to "mad cow" disease. Classic CJD also is distinct from "variant CJD", another prion disease that is related to BSE."
So, for all of you who have relatives that died from CJD, yes, that's true, but it wasn't mad cow disease.
In other words, "classic CJD" is NOT related to Mad Cow Disease, but "variant CJD" IS related to Mad Cow Disease. BSE is Mad Cow Disease.
From CDC, "BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease)"
AEP, your quote from cdc correctly states that varian CJV is related to BSE. BSE is Mad Cow Disease, according to the cdc: "BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease)"
i would shy away from rachel maddow before any other worry.
dscon given your dumb ass reply sounds like you already have mad cow
As if the price of beef couldn't get higher. And eggs, milk, bread, chicken....
America's food industry is one of the safest in the world...I am a proud that my family and I provide the safest beef in the world and the USDA does a wonderful job in ensuring that ALL our food is closely monitored. I hate that the media seems to like to start food safety scares just for media ratings. Take for example the lean finely textured beef (LFTB) scandal that ABC News was more than happy to start. People should ask hard questions about where their food comes from and I would encourage anyone concerned about food safety to reach out to their Congressman, the USDA, their state Cattleman Associations , or National Cattleman Beef Association (www.beef.org). I think you will find from top to bottom that EVERYONE in the beef chain has a vested interest in making sure what they provide the consumer is the best and safest beef around.
Yeah, because any of those organizations you listed actually cares about "me". They care about $$$ and continuing to make $$$.
In fact we do care about you Joe and all other potential beef consumers. Simple logic dictates that if you want to stay in any business for any length of time as a business you need to put out a high quality product, otherwise you lose consumer demand and you are out of business. The cattle industry doesn't shy away from close scrutiny of how we do business and we make sure the USDA plays a huge role in verifying the safety of our entire food industry.
As a public health professional I appreciate your comment. The comment following about the health organizations that ensure our health and safety exemplified the problem we face with our population. Stupid... really, really stupid.
You don't even know anything about the world.
The meat industry is so safe for consumers and so well inspected and tested by the FSIS that: 27 million pounds of beef and poultry were recalled in 2010 – after it was inspected by FSIS and released for sale to the consumer.
Recalls prove the system works and as far as the total amount it is so large because no one wants to take any chances so the USDA always "goes big" when it comes to a recall.
Recalls don't prove the system works. Recalls prove inspection and testing are inadequate. The system is based on inadequate inspection and inadequate testing.
@ 25 – you apparently know little about microbiology. "Inspection" won't find pathogenic bacteria on meat. "Testing" will, in some cases. Bacterial testing is typically a destructive test – meaning that the material being sampled is 'destroyed' in the process. That's the first problem. The next is the size of bacteria. You could have a cluster of 2.5 million salmonella bacteria and it would be about the size of a grain of rice. Now try to find that in a 2000 lb batch of meat! 100% testing is impossible – it would take too long, it would be cost-prohibitive, and there would be nothing left to sell after it was tested. "Ideally" we would test 100%, but we don't live in an 'ideal' world.
Recalls are so big because 100% of the 'suspect' product made during any questionable window of time is involved. When Cargill had the ground turkey recall (salmonella), all of the ground product that had been produced in the implicated plant over a period of about 4 months was involved. Was all of it 'bad' – of course not. But the 'standard operating procedure' in these instances is "if there's any doubt, call it out".
and it was recalled becasue further testing determined there was a problem! Not all tests and controls are instant. If the system didn't work you would never see any recalls once it left the facility no one would ever give it two more thoughts. there is risk in everythign we do it doesn't mean we quit doing them. do you quit driving because there is a chance you may be in a wreck?
Mad cow disease??? I thought the Kardashians just signed a new contract for the next several years, and tens of millions of dollars. Was that not enough?
about 5 years ago I did volunteer work for a Canadien company, hired by Texas cattle ranchers to track sick cows. Seems if they're sick, and they have ? a dangerous disease ?, they want to find them first before inspectors look into it.
I don't trust cattle ranchers. Hiring a Canadien company for a job anyone in Texas could do was suspicious to me. If you find mad cow, I can see huge efforts to keep it quiet.
If, according to the USDA, this is a " rare form of BSE not likely carried by contaminated feed", then where DID it come from? I'd also like an explanation for how we know it couldn't have been transferred to consumers through the sick cow's milk.
Science Daily has an article about a 2008 study that found scrapie (Mad Cow Disease for sheep) being transferred from infected sheep to lambs through the MILK.
The answer is right below you, but like all vegans, you are blind and ignorant to the facts.
Mad cows in California? I thought happy cows come from California.
actually it's crappy not happy...........
been trying to correct that type-0 for some time,
here in no california.
Allow me to summarize the facts from above and dispel all of the crazy talk.
1. The feed that all of you are referring to has not been allowed since the outbreaks that prompted new regulations in 2004.
2. This is a VARIANT case that is not transmitted by feed. It is an natural mutation that occurs in some animals just in the same way deer and elk can get the disease and they are not in feedlots or dairies and only eating what nature put in front of them with no hormones or antibiotics and give them a field of corn or a field of grass and I can guarantee which one they will choose HINT: not the grass.
3. This cow was in a rendering plant to be turned into leather and all of the other things we get from cows not to be eaten
4. Prions are never found in milk and appear in the central nervous system. Don't eat BRAIN!
5. If everyone is so against Hormones, Antibiotics and vaccinations then maybe we should ban birth control, all the antibiotics the doctors give you when you get sick and we should quit giving our children vaccinations against nasty diseases like polio. Sounds CRAZY just like many of the comments above. However, I just solved the healthcare crisis because anyone who gets sick would just die or get better no need for doctors and drugs. We don't give these things to animals just for the heck of it they have a purpose of keeping them healthy or treating them when they are sick. Same thing you do for yourself and your kids.
6. Grass fed and organic beef has its place in the industry and if you want to eat that more power to you. However, don't complain about the price because it is VERY EXPENSIVE to produce and people are already complaining about the price of traditionally raised beef. The other answer is for every one of you to have your own cows and gardens and produce 100% of what you eat just like the 1800's. Sound fun? That means little time to go to movies, no vacations because you have to care for your food. Think about it people this production system will not feed the 9 billion people we will have on earth in the next 30-40 years.
7. Pink Slime is not the root of all evil it is simply a process that produces a less than desirable texture when completed if not mixed with other ground beef. However it is completely safe. It heats the meat that is ~50% lean and 50% fat to 100 degrees to liquefy the fat so that it can be put into a centrifuge and spun off so you don't have to eat a fatty product. It is then treated with Ammonium NH2 not Ammonia NH3. Two completely different products one is safe and one is hazardous go back to chemistry and inform yourself. This process has made beef more economical because these 50% lean trimmings would otherwise be discarded into pet food and would required millions more cows to fulfill the beef demand filled by Lean Finely Texturized Beef.
8. Please inform yourself with the facts before you decided to rant and rave and demonize the very industries that are responsible for keeping you alive because you have to have food and that comes from the 1% of us that actually still produce food for 99% of you. Most of which are uneducated about productions methods and almost certainly ungrateful! You think it will always be at the grocery store. We have the largest, SAFEST, and cheapest food supply in the WORLD. We spend less than 10% of our income on food. Think about all of other great things you spend the other 90% on that you would not have if you were in another country or had to raise it all yourself or required all of it to be organic. You would double or triple your food cost. So essentially you would be spending 60-70% of your income on your house and your food. Think about the consequences of what you are asking for before you demand everyone should be organic.
The Facts, this sick industry may be keeping YOU alive. Not me. NO THANKS!
Then why not just let people live how they see fit? Salmonella has been found on alot of veggies too.
What makes you think that my choice has anything to do with MAKING anyone else do anything? I'm simply stating that none of us has to eat another animal to live. None of us HAS to. If some of us DO, that's their choice, of course.
Funny you don't eat and your still alive? I would like to see that diet plan. Agriculture as whole accounts for ~1% producing ALL food. I am keeping you alive! Or wold you prefer your food to come from say MEXICO? Do you think they have anywhere close to the regulation and controls we have in the US? I think not.
Sorry, Facts friend, I should have been more specific: the MEAT industry is not keeping me alive.
It's hard to take "the facts" serious when they are barely literate
Please forgive me if I seem ungreatful to you.
Maybe I should be grateful for the nice Mega Meat manufacturers and Food comglomerates sneaking PINK SLIME into my families food supply without giving me the choice and keeping it a dirty little secret for how many years?
Well said...How ironic that Jamie Oliver (the originator of "Pink Slime") is from the country that has had over 172 confirmed cases of BSE.
Smells like industry propaganda (in other words, pure cow dung).
Safe huh? yeah well that's what they said about Thalidimide. Like I trust any of these agencies. This same group who are saying meat is safe insist on feeding cattle, sheep and chicken antibiotics that are building resistance, sticking cattle in their own filth in feeds lots and then slaughtering them in a way that creates terror in the animal so that it releases a lot of hormones before it's death. Plus they raise most of the animals on unnatural feed that produces more fat then muscle I barely eat meat now and probably will cut it out all together. Safe my ass.
Taken your kids to the doctor lately for an ear ache or some other common sickness. Almost guarentee you got somthing that was pennicillan based. want to talk about over use and resistance. Should we just let the animals die when they get sick? You would call that inhumane but you don't want me to use antibiotics. I use them to prevent and cure sickness.
No good parent would ever allow their child to be exposed to the conditions that most cattle are exposed to. Of course the cattle are always sick, given the conditions they live in. Facts: Most of the antibiotics used in this country are going to cattle, who are fed antibiotics ROUTINELY, as a preventative measure due to the unsanitary conditions and feed.
Although it's true that it's no longer legal to feed MOST cattle PARTS to cattle, it IS legal to feed manure and also a few cattle parts and other animal parts to cattle.
From Union of Concerned Scientists:
The advent of "mad cow" disease (also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) raised international concern about the safety of feeding rendered cattle to cattle. Since the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States, the federal government has taken some action to restrict the parts of cattle that can be fed back to cattle.
However, most animals are still allowed to eat meat from their own species. Pig carcasses can be rendered and fed back to pigs, chicken carcasses can be rendered and fed back to chickens, and turkey carcasses can be rendered and fed back to turkeys. Even cattle can still be fed cow blood and some other cow parts.
Under current law, pigs, chickens, and turkeys that have been fed rendered cattle can be rendered and fed back to cattle—a loophole that may allow mad cow agents to infect healthy cattle.
Animal feed legally can contain rendered road kill, dead horses, and euthanized cats and dogs.
Rendered feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood, and intestines can also be found in feed, often under catch-all categories like "animal protein products."
Manure and Other Animal Waste
Feed for any food animal can contain cattle manure, swine waste, and poultry litter. This waste may contain drugs such as antibiotics and hormones that have passed unchanged through the animals' bodies.
The poultry litter that is fed to cattle contains rendered cattle parts in the form of digested poultry feed and spilled poultry feed. This is another loophole that may allow mad cow agents to infect healthy cattle.
Animal waste used for feed is also allowed to contain dirt, rocks, sand, wood, and other such contaminants.
You certainly picked a completely unbiased source for your 'education', didn't you? Bovine blood and blood products are still allowed in cattle feed, but exactly what other cattle "parts" are allowed? I'll be real curious to see the list, so please enlighten us.
It's a reference. You'll have to ask them. Perhaps they're talking about the beef recycled through other animals that the article refers to. Or perhaps they're talking about restaurant scraps that can be included in cattle feed (according to Wikipedia, "Cattle Feeding"). Or perhaps they're talking about something else. I only read what you read.
Um, actually, no – you don't read what I read or you would know better than to make some of the comments you've made here.
I was referring to the article above that I thought we were both talking about (past tense "read"), but if you have a valid reference from whatever it is you read that disputes the article above or the information from Wikipedia, go ahead and post it if you like.
I don't intend to be mean-spirited when I say this, but simply 'regurgitating' anything that you happen to run across on the internet – especially when it can be put there by anybody (Wikipedia) or is put there by a group with a considerable bias (U of Concerned Scientists), does not constitute a "well-reasoned" response, and it certainly doesn't mean that the information is accurate.
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Section 589.2001
Please see U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Section 589.2000, as well.
The Soylent Corporation allows for human parts to be rendered and fed back to human beings, namely in their popular new product Soylent Green. Really, are we far from this?
Reading all these posts is making me hungry. Time for some In-N-Out!!!!!!!!
this is one of the problems with a ton of illegal aliens coming to this country, they bring their host diseases with them.
How perfectly racist of you to say. Actually, you can blame industrialized farming for this mess......
Exactly how many illegal aliens are you eating?
Yeah... Canadians do seem like a disease ridden bunch, don't they?
After watching Food Inc. I would rather eat a live rat than anything spewed from the evil hell-pit that we call the food industry. And no, I'm not sentimental – give me a lovely steak from an animal raised by human beings in a decent manner and I'll take it rare. Now and then. It's not just the mind-blowing, heart-assaulting cruelty to animal – it's the cruelty to real farmers, to workers, the filth, the inane un-fooding of food. The food industry is a dystopia proper, a real heart of darkness. I buy locally, organically and carefully. I'd like to see that juggernaut come down, deeply. Do your part, if not for love of beasts, for the love of us all, and the planet.
Right on! I'm with you 100%. I couldn't have said it any better!
I hope I never live next door to you.
You already do. You're simply unaware of it. And a great many other things as well, apparently
LOL...The beef industry bribed the USDA to ban the import of beef from Canada, when there was one animal found with Mad Cow Disease. The beef industry did this to keep US beef prices high.
Let's hope the rest of the world now bans beef from the United States.
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