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Mad Cow in U.S.


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#1 of 51 OFFLINE   LewB

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Posted December 23 2003 - 01:27 PM

Note to self:
Make resolution to eat less red meat in '04. Posted Image

#2 of 51 OFFLINE   John_Berger

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Posted December 23 2003 - 01:58 PM

I thought that it was only suspected at this point.

#3 of 51 OFFLINE   Tab Nichols

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Posted December 23 2003 - 02:20 PM

I can only hope that Canada uses the same tact that was used by the US government when Canada had a single case of Mad Cow. I hope we close our borders to American beef. Japan already has.

Afterall, turnabout is fair play.

#4 of 51 OFFLINE   KyleS

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Posted December 23 2003 - 02:24 PM

It has now been confirmed as a positive test though I am sure that the Meat companies are going to have A LOT more tests done.

What are the facts behind Mad cow? Cooking the meat to a certain temperature doesnt kill the Bacteria?

KyleS

#5 of 51 OFFLINE   Michael*K

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Posted December 23 2003 - 03:38 PM

Well, I guess all the cattle farmers that thought they were going to fatten up their bank accounts thanks to the Atkins hysteria are now crying in their feed hoppers. I'm sure the beef futures will take a big nosedive tomorrow. All this the same day that a crate of New York strips from Omaha Steaks arrived on my doorstep. Posted Image

#6 of 51 OFFLINE   DavidY

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Posted December 23 2003 - 04:26 PM

I believe that other countries like England and EU countries test every cow before it is sent to the slaughterhouse or at least prior to it entering the beef supply. Maybe all beef consuming or exporting countries should do this as a mandatory requirement. Sure it's gonna be expensive, but it appears that this is the only way for the beef eating public to be very sure of what they are eating.

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#7 of 51 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted December 23 2003 - 04:46 PM

Quote:
What are the facts behind Mad cow? Cooking the meat to a certain temperature doesnt kill the Bacteria?

It's not a bacterial or viral infection as such. IIRC it's something that degenerates the proteins that form the brain (hence mad cow disease), and eating diseased proteins can cause the human equivalent (CJD: Creuzfeldt-Jakob, or something like that).

Thinking about the above, if we don't eat cow brain (who does?), I suppose either "stuff" gets mixed up in abbatoirs and/or butchers' shops, or the rest of the beef can also degenerate, otherwise it wouldn't be an issue.

I'm sure all the regular US news sites will have full-blown spreads and FAQs explaining everything you need to know pretty soon.

#8 of 51 OFFLINE   Steve_Tk

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Posted December 23 2003 - 05:11 PM

I hope it doesn't become a problem. Turkey and Chicken sure are yummy!

#9 of 51 OFFLINE   Jason GT

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Posted December 23 2003 - 06:27 PM

This is rather frightening:

Quote:
Washington State Deputy Director of Agriculture Bill Brookerson said later that meat from the cow may have entered the food chain as hamburger. Asked if it was possible that the meat had already been consumed, Brookerson said, "It's possible"


from the CBC

It will be curious to see how those US Farmers who were dancing so gleefully a couple of months ago about the Canadian BSE case handle this matter- especially considering that some of it may have been consumed already.

#10 of 51 OFFLINE   MikeH1

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Posted December 23 2003 - 08:08 PM

From Canoe, Canada's internet newsite:

Quote:
Canada has no immediate plans to close its borders to U.S. beef, officials of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said at a news conference in Ottawa.

A single case of mad cow sent the Canadian cattle industry into crisis in 2003 as all major importing countries closed their borders to Canada's beef, costing exporters alone more than $1.9 billion Cdn.

Canadians learned the hard way this year how much damage even one case of the disease can do to an economy and doesn't want to rush to judgement, Dr. Brian Evans, chief veterinary officer of the CFIA, told a hastily called news conference.



How thoughtful of our government. Posted Image

http://cnews.canoe.c....295800-ap.html

#11 of 51 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted December 23 2003 - 11:47 PM

I think it's important to get the *facts* on this straight. When BSE (i.e. mad cow disease) started in the UK there was irrational complacency, and when vCJD (i.e. the human form) appeared there was unecessary scaremongering.

BSE is a degenerative brain disorder in cattle that is spread through eating diseased nervous tissue. Its origins are far from certain. We know that, as Yee Ming has correctly said, that it's a prion disease. The science behind this is complex, but essentially it involves tiny protein fragments mutating into a deadly form that essentially eats away at the brain. How it's passed from one animal to another is still open to debate. However, it's probable that it is due to eating the nervous tissue of an infected animal. It is conjectured that some time ago, BSE spontaneously appeared in an animal that was then slaughtered and its body ground up and used in cattle feed (this was common practice in farming a few years ago - it's since been banned). Because there is some latency before the symptoms appear, the disease had a chance to spread through UK cattle before the cause was identified. By then, of course, it had entered the human food chain.

A few years ago, the human form of BSE called new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) appeared. This was eventually linked to eating BSE-contaminated meat. Mass panic in the UK, people stopped eating beef, etc, etc. So what's the truth behind the hype?

(1) Doom mongers predicted that millions would die for vCJD. The fact is that 'only' about 150 have died from it over the years. This is scant consolation for the victims and their families, but a widespread epidemic is now reckoned to be *highly* unlikely. In other words, the disease is very rare, and I can think of several equally nasty brain degenerative disorders that are far more likely to kill any of us.

(2) The general opinion is that you need to eat a piece of BSE-infected beef or beef product to contract vCJD. Beef products are *everywhere*. There are at least two vCJD victims who were vegetarians. It's assumed that they got it from gelatin products that they didn't realise contained beef.

(3) However, it isn't simply a matter of eating infected beef. vCJD patients also seem to have a specific genetic structure that makes them susceptible (about a third of the population in the uK share it) and it has been conjectured that on top of this there may also have to be a fairly specific chemical balance in their diet that triggers the illness. Given the vey low numbers who have died from the disease compared with the quantity of BSE beef that was eaten, it seems that a rare combination of factors is probably required for a human to be infected.

(4) vCJD usually incubates for years before manifesting itself. It can be detected by taking a biopsy (from the tonsils of all places). A study done of tonsils removed as part of routine tonsillectomies in the UK found zilch trace of vCJD, indicating that it is highly unlikely to be lying dormant in the population.

The above are the *facts* - be *very* careful about reading up on vCJD. For every sensible site on the web there are half a dozen longing to scare the pants off you, insisting that any study that minimises the danger is flawed or deliberately suppressing the facts. Unless you know your psychology or medicine and have a decent head for statistics, be very very careful in interpreting what you read and hear.

#12 of 51 OFFLINE   Armando Zamora

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Posted December 23 2003 - 11:54 PM

Well said Andrew. Good words of caution.

#13 of 51 OFFLINE   BrianB

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Posted December 24 2003 - 12:42 AM

Quote:
(1) Doom mongers predicted that millions would die for vCJD. The fact is that 'only' about 150 have died from it over the years. This is scant consolation for the victims and their families, but a widespread epidemic is now reckoned to be *highly* unlikely. In other words, the disease is very rare, and I can think of several equally nasty brain degenerative disorders that are far more likely to kill any of us.

I think the "regular" occurance rate of vCJD is 1 in 1 million people.

Quote:
Thinking about the above, if we don't eat cow brain (who does?), I suppose either "stuff" gets mixed up in abbatoirs and/or butchers' shops, or the rest of the beef can also degenerate, otherwise it wouldn't be an issue.

That was the problem in the UK - feeding "reused" parts of animals to other animals in cheap feed. I know in the US, they supposedly don't allow that, but allegedly it still goes on.

That this particular cow was not directly part of the meat chain is largely irrelevant in my opinion.
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#14 of 51 OFFLINE   Tim K

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Posted December 24 2003 - 12:59 AM

Also, from what I understand there is no evidence that it can be contracted by consuming "muscle tissue" meat. It is believed that consuming infected brain and/or central nervous system tissue (spinal) is the only way to contract the disease. This is why brain tissue is not mixed in with muscle tissue at the slaughterhouse.

#15 of 51 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted December 24 2003 - 01:23 AM

Quote:
(4) vCJD usually incubates for years before manifesting itself. It can be detected by taking a biopsy (from the tonsils of all places). A study done of tonsils removed as part of routine tonsillectomies in the UK found zilch trace of vCJD, indicating that it is highly unlikely to be lying dormant in the population.

Yeah ... I read in a recent CNN article that the incubation period for the disease, even among those that are susceptible, could be as long as 40 years.

That's pretty good news for those of us in our 40's-50's!
Joseph
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#16 of 51 OFFLINE   GARY C

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Posted December 24 2003 - 01:42 AM

Quote:
I can only hope that Canada uses the same tact that was used by the US government when Canada had a single case of Mad Cow. I hope we close our borders to American beef. Japan already has.

Afterall, turnabout is fair play.

Not that I want to start a fight on Christmas Eve, but why?

Canada spent the entire time (when we had our Mad Cow case) trying to spread the word that Mad Cow isn't as bad as it sounds (meaning you have a better chance at winning the lotto than catching the disease). Now we should take all that back just to spite someone else, because they closed their borders?

There is no need for Canada to close the border unless it is proven that there is, A. more than one case of it or B. that it has been spread into the market already.

Time for us to stand behind our words.
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#17 of 51 OFFLINE   Andrew Pratt

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Posted December 24 2003 - 01:46 AM

While the news this morning will be bitter sweet for Canadian farmers as a whole its only going to make matters worse. Still it was inevitable that it was going to be discovered in the US so it will be very interesting to watch what happens both here in Canada & the US but also abroad.

Thanks for that well written post Andrew you saved me a lot of typingPosted Image

#18 of 51 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted December 24 2003 - 01:51 AM

I gotta agree with Gary on this.

Just because most of the world over-reacted to our single-case (which didn't enter the food chain) doesn't mean we should do the same.

Let's react based on science and fact, rather than hysteria and scare-tactics.

#19 of 51 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted December 24 2003 - 02:35 AM

Quote:
I think the "regular" occurance rate of vCJD is 1 in 1 million people.

Pedantically, that's CJD (Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease) not vCJD (variant CJD). vCJD is so called because it shares many of the symptoms with CJD, but appears to develop in a rather different way. The cause of CJD isn't known, although it can be spread through blood.

Interestingly, as cases of vCJD rose in the UK, cases of CJD declined. CJD had been around for years. I started my post-doctoral research on dementia, and although I was primarily researching Alzheimer's Disease, I saw patients with other dementias as experimental controls, including a couple of CJD patients. No two ways about it - it's a nasty disease. However, just to re-iterate - it's rare and although this is cold comfort, there are other equally nasty diseases that are far more common.

Quote:
I read in a recent CNN article that the incubation period for the disease, even among those that are susceptible, could be as long as 40 years.

This is based on extrapolation from the statistics rather than empirical proof. It's fine if you're middle age or older, but think about someone in their teens or youngerPosted Image
In fact, it seems unlikely that all that many people in the UK were infected, so the incubation period is pretty academic.

I don't want to enter into a political debate, but although reactions to finding BSE cattle may seem rather ridiculous, believe me, if you'd lived through the vCJD scare when it broke in the UK, you'd appreciate why people tend to be histrionic on this issue. However, try to keep a grip on the facts rather than the hype.

#20 of 51 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted December 24 2003 - 03:26 AM

Alright, let's say that it does spread, do chickens and turkeys get affected by this at all or can I still get my spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy's?


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