stopMad144Canadian officials have confirmed  a six-year-old dairy cow at a farm in the province of Alberta has bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) — the scientific name for mad cow disease.

BSE, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a chronic, degenerative disorder that affects the brain and central nervous system in adult cattle. The disease is progressive and always fatal. The disease may be transmitted to human beings who eat the brain or spinal cord of infected carcasses. In humans, it is known as new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD or nvCJD).

It is believed that vCJD is caused by cattle, who are normally herbivores,  being fed the remains of other cattle in the form of meat and bone meal, which causes the infectious agent to spread.

The infectious BSE prion material is not destroyed through normal cooking procedures, meaning that contaminated beef foodstuffs prepared “well done” may remain infectious.

Nearly 2 million head of live cattle are exported to the United States annually. The USDA tests approximately one cow out of every 2,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Repeat after me, “I will not eat beef, I will not eat beef, I will not eat  beef”…

If millions and millions of pounds of contaminated ground beef and the threat of Ecoli isn’t enough to make you think twice before you grab just any burger, savor the thought of contracting variant CJV or mad cow disease.

Despite persistent fears that mad cow disease has been found and could still exist in Canadian beef, the Department of Agriculture has failed to properly track hundreds of Canadian cattle coming into the United States.

An audit, completed in March but only recently made public, said that some of the imported cattle did not have proper identification or health records despite federal regulations requiring them.

The audit did not say how many cattle were improperly brought into the U.S. and inspector general spokesman Paul Feeney said auditors are not sure of that number. The report said that a lack of records meant that “it cannot be determined” whether shipments other than those discovered “have bypassed inspection or whether this is a systemic problem.”

About 1 million cattle were imported into the U.S. from Canada in the fiscal year ending in September 2006, the period covered by the audit.

The audit mainly faulted Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service for failing to properly check records as the cattle crossed the Canadian border.

“APHIS does not adequately track live animal imports and, if problems are detected, does not collectively analyze import violations,” the report said. “Additional controls are needed at northern ports-of-entry to obtain stronger assurance that all animal shipments are inspected.”

Mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a disease that attacks a cow’s nervous system. Medical researchers also believe that humans who eat meat infected with BSE can contract a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which is fatal. Read the rest of this entry »

The brain of a Corpus Corpus man who died earlier this month was tested for a human form of mad cow disease, health officials said.

Annette Rodriguez, interim director of the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Health District, said the district was notified in early July by officials from a Corpus Christi hospital that a patient may have had Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Results of a brain biopsy are expected in two months to confirm whether the man had the disease and if it is the variant linked to mad cow.

Rodriguez said it was not clear where the man, whose identity was not released, may have been exposed to the disease. She said the tests were being run out of state.


Public health officials in Massachusetts are investigating whether a patient in a Cape Cod hospital has the human form of mad cow disease.

Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state’s director of communicable disease control, confirmed Sunday to The Associated Press that tests are being done to see if the patient has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and whether it’s the variant attributed to mad cow.

Mad cow disease — medically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE — causes spongy holes in the brain.  Eating meat products contaminated with mad cow disease is linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal human malady. Read more about mad cow disease at

DeMaria says it will take a few more days before the test results are available. He said there are about a half-dozen cases reported every year in Massachusetts and about 300 nationwide.  A spokesman for Cape Cod Hospital confirmed the facility had notified public health officials Thursday of a patient with test results that require reporting.

Police place South Korean flags on cargo containers that hold sand to form a barricade to block a protest march on a street leading to the U.S. embassy and the presidential Blue House in central Seoul June 10, 2008. The containers were welded together and on to the road. About one million people fearing infection of mad cow disease across the country demonstrated to demand full-scale renegotiation of a beef deal with the U.S. and the resignation of President Lee Myung-bak. Yesterday the entire cabinet offered to resign because of mounting public protests against the resumption of U.S. beef imports.

South Korea was the third-biggest buyer of U.S. beef before imposing a ban in December 2003 on concerns about the brain- wasting disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Scientists say BSE is spread in cattle by tainted animal feed. Eating contaminated meat from infected animals can cause a fatal human variant that has been blamed for the deaths of 151 people in the U.K., where it was first reported in the 1980s.

(Xinhua/Reuters Photo),

A week ago, South Korea’s president said the country would resume full imports of American beef. Now, he says he won’t allow any beef from cattle more than 30 months old. The backpedaling came as tens of thousands took to the streets in public protest.

 Chung Woon-chun told reporters at a press conference that until the two sides reach an understanding on the age limit of cattle, South Korea will not post the revised sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards that were agreed on April 18. The move effectively maintains the ban on U.S. beef that has been in place since early October.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service this week announced a ban prohibiting all downer cattle from entering the food supply.


  •  Jan. 12, 2004 — USDA prohibits all downer cattle from being slaughtered for human consumption, in response to the first U.S. case of Mad Cow (BSE) discovered in Washington State.
  • July 13, 2007 — USDA reverses course and alters federal regulations to permit some crippled cows to be slaughtered for human consumption.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Protestors gathered Friday night in various cities across South Korea to denounce their government’s decision to ease restrictions on U.S. beef amid widespread fears the meat could be contaminated with mad cow disease.

Just when President Lee Myung-bak seemed to have overcome every obstacle on the way to strengthening ties with the United States, tens of thousands of young Koreans in recent days have been hitting the streets of downtown Seoul to protest the deal for South Korea to resume imports of US beef.

The outpouring has so alarmed authorities that the police have taken the unusual step of banning candlelit vigils that have become a motif of Korean protests ever since crowds swarmed into central Seoul in late 2002 after the deaths of two schoolgirls crushed by a US army armored vehicle during a military exercise north of the capital.

The ban on vigils, though, may elicit still more protests, legal or not, from organizers of the anti-beef rallies.

“People are feeling a sense of crisis about what they eat,” anti-beef zealot Kim Jin-il told Korean journalists. “If the government tries to forcefully ban their rallies, the protest will become even fiercer.”

Read the rest of this entry »

A federal appeals court judge is pondering whether the Bush administration has the authority to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Bush administration made its request on Friday to the court that is considering overturning a ruling that allowed Creekstone Farms Premium Beef of Arkansas City, Kan., to test all its beef for mad cow disease.

Creekstone wants to conduct the intensified testing so that its meat can be sold to customers in Japan and other foreign countries that have tougher safety laws to protect its consumers from contacting the fatal disease.

Company lawyers argue that the government has no right to stop it from conducting more tests than the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires.

USDA guidelines only call for testing less than 1 percent of the cows slaughtered for human consumption in America for BSE. Read the rest of this entry »

The FDA on Friday published a final rule in the Federal Register that expands the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban. The major U.S. safeguards against mad cow disease are the feed ban, a prohibition against slaughtering most “downer” cattle — animals too sick to walk on their own — for human food, and a requirement for meatpackers to remove from carcasses the brains, spinal cords and other parts most likely to contain the malformed proteins blamed for the disease.

The changes to the feed ban were originally proposed in 2005. What ultimately spurred adoption of this final rule, however, is that South Korean officials insisted on it before agreeing last week to re-open their market to virtually all U.S. beef of any age.

Some cattle groups have blasted the new rule claiming the tightened feed ban implemented by Canada last year is more stringent than the newly strengthened U.S. feed ban and called the new rule “politically motivated.”

The new rule takes effect in April, 2009.

To read the complete FDA final rule go to :