aquacultureU.S. scientists are are expressing concern about the potential of people contracting Creutzfeldt Jakob disease — the human form of “mad cow disease” — from eating farmed fish who are fed byproducts rendered from cows.  Mad cow disease, also called bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a fatal brain disease in cattle, which scientists believe can cause Creutzfeldt Jakob disease in humans who eat infected cow parts. There is no cure for Creutzfeldt Jakob disease.

 In the latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr. Robert P. Friedland, a neurologist at University of Louisville in Kentucky and colleagues suggest that farmed fish fed contaminated cow parts could transmit Creutzfeldt Jakob disease.

The scientists want government regulators to ban feeding cow meat or bone meal to fish until the safety of this common practice can be confirmed.

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The mother of a Spanish man who died from the human form of mad cow disease has also died from the illness, Spain’s Ministry of Health said yesterday. Her disease was a variant of Creutzfeltd-Jakob disease (CJD) linked to the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) otherwise known as mad cow disease.

It is believed to be the first case in the world where two members of the same family have died from mad cow disease, said Juan Jose Badiola, director of Spain’s national research center for mad cow disease. Read the rest of this entry »

A federal appeals court says the government can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad cow disease.

Because the Agriculture Department tests only a small percentage of cows for the deadly disease, Kansas meatpacker Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows. The government says it can’t.

Larger meat companies worry that if Creekstone is allowed to perform the test and advertise its meat as safe, they could be forced to do the expensive test, too.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that would have cleared the way for the testing. The appeals court said restricting the test is within the scope of the government’s authority.

Madrid-Spanish health authorities are investigating the death of a woman whose son died earlier this year of the variant of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) linked to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, experts said Wednesday in Madrid.

If it is confirmed that the woman and her son died from the same cause, they would be the first members of the same family in the world to succumb to the CJD variant, neuropathologist Alberto Rabano said.

The woman, 64, passed away last week in the northern city of Leon. The son, 41, died in February. Their identities were not given.

The woman suffered from a neurological disease. Laboratory tests to determine the nature of the disease were expected to take a month.

Veterinary experts believe the son caught the disease by eating infected meat before 2001, when preventative measures were adopted.

If laboratory tests confirm the woman had Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), the human variant of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, it will be the fourth death from the disease in Spain.,

Mexico is banning cattle from Alberta from crossing its border until officials find out more about what Canada is doing to prevent mad cow disease.

The move comes after Canada found its 14th case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in a six-year-old cow last week in Alberta, the largest cattle-producing province.

Mexico did not ban imports of Canadian beef, Toews said, although it permits shipments of meat only from animals under the age of 30 months. Mexico is Canada’s second-largest export market for beef after the United States.

Canada’s export-dependent cattle sector is still trying to recover from the discovery of mad cow disease within its borders in 2003, which sparked trade bans with major buyers.,

Regarding today’s USDA beef recall and the serious health risks associated with processing “downer cows,” Dr. Richard Raymond, under secretary for the Office of Food Safety in a “Technical Briefing” responds:

“In July of 2007 the Food Safety and Inspection Service did issue a final rule called Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk Materials for Human Food and Requirements for the Disposition of Nonambulatory Disabled Cattle.

This rule states very clearly that nonambulatory disabled cattle are not allowed in the food supply and would not pass ante mortem inspection. Read the rest of this entry »