April 24th, 2012
04:30 PM ET
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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.

Posted by: ,
Filed under: Food Safety • Health News • Mad Cow • Tainted Food

soundoff (501 Responses)
  1. sally

    This article doesn't answer the fundamental question or even ask it. It just gives a generalized description of how cows get the disease but offers no explanation how this cow got it. Was it being fed tainted food which other cattle in the U.S. are getting? CNN, this story needs to be followed through.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • A scientist

      It was probably just due to bad luck. Prion diseases (which include mad cow) are weird diseases in that you can get them from eating infected material, or because of a genetic mutation, or just because of bad luck. Every year, you have about a 1 in a million chance of spontaneously developing prion disease - not from eating anything infected, but simply due to spontaneous protein misfolding. We don't know for sure, but it is reasonable to think that the same thing is true with cattle. Therefore, a single case is not a big deal; the issue is just containing it so it doesn't cause an outbreak like in the UK.

      This is somewhat analogous to cancer - for cancer, while environmental insults or genetics can cause it, it can also happen randomly through mistakes in copying your DNA as your cells divide.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  2. Max in NY

    eating beef is one of the most devastating things you can do to the environment. The beef industry does the following:

    -cow's waste poisons the land and local water supplies
    -methane produced by cows is a more potent green house gas than all the C02 produced by the world's cars&planes
    -the amount of energy to produce a calorie of energy from cows is about 10x that of a plant related calorie
    -the food diverted away from humans to feed cows could feed approximately 2billion humans.

    Time to wake up people. Its an easy step to make a big difference. Limit your beef consumption to maybe 1 or 2 times a month and you'll make a huge difference!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Fluffles

      Methane produced by cows is a fraction of what termites produce, and industrial plants, and even methane produced by humans. It's a weak argument.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
      • Max in NY

        EPA says different my friend: epa.gov/outreach/sources.html#where (see eccentric fermentation and manure management...these make up animal husbandry related methane emissions)

        April 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • max3333344445555

      so we will all switch to fish instead? maybe gulf shrimp? what are those chickens eating, btw?

      April 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Moon Time

      I see you're enjoying the Kool-aid, Max.

      April 25, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  3. dscon

    thanks CNN..........
    nice scare...........
    mad cow desease case confirmed.........
    BUT.........its cow to cow.....
    not cow to human?
    next distraction please!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Fluffles

      Did you read the article? Eating infected meat can cause variant form of the virus, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It is serious. Not to mention, it highlights very disgusting farming practices.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • dscon

        yep and a klingon is on its way to uranus!
        let's cross that bridge when we get there.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
        • paul321

          I suggest you review the history of CJD and mad cow disease in the UK.

          April 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
      • Dave

        It has never been scientifically proven that eating products from animals with BSE leads to vCJD. It is just a theory that it is what causes vCJD. And even if it did, you would be safe as long as you don't eat the brain or spine.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • moorej66

      Maybe this is all a coincidence but I know of two confirmed cases of CJD in california in the past two months. One of those was a patient of mine and the other was a colleague's patient. So when I seen this news today I was a little bit shocked.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  4. YumBabyCow


    April 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  5. j.a.davis

    What happen to all the happy cows of California?

    April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Moon Time

      Even happy cows have red tide.

      April 25, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  6. Shannon

    Really? This again? "Though eating contaminated meat or some other animal products from cattle with BSE is thought to be the cause of a fatal brain disease (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) in humans" – really? By whom? The average american and the media??? The medical community is in agreement that BSE has never caused CJD in a human. They are completely different proteins. Similar diseases yes? One causing the other? No. Gotta love the media.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • A scientist

      Wrong. It is the same protein, PrP, that causes mad cow disease and human CJD. There are a few slight differences in the amino acid sequences between human and bovine PrP; these are enough to reduce infectivity between cattle and humans but not eliminate it.

      There were a few hundred cases in England of people getting CJD from eating infected beef. When acquired from cattle it is called vCJD (variant CJD) and show somewhat different disease progression than standard CJD. It is estimated that about 1,000,000 infected cattle entered the food supply in England, so the relatively small number of cases shows the low level of infectivity. In short, your post is nonsense - while it does spread cow to human efficiently, it nevertheless does sometimes happen.

      (And for perspective, I have run a lab studying prion diseases for about a decade.)

      April 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • Shannon

        And if you actually worked in a lab that studied prions you would know that while analogous in their respective species, the prions that cause CVD and BSE are actually VERY different in structure. Too different to cause the same misfolding in a different species...The prions are misfolded prions that cause other proteins to misfold – but the two species prions and functional proteins are too different to actually affect each other. So again, analogous disease but no evidence that the human prion can cause the disease in cows or visa versa. Yes there are cases of CJD and yes there are cases of BSE but never has one been shown to cause the other. We just don't understand what causes them (other than cannibalism as in the case of Kuru), so people spread BS that is unproven and unsupported.

        Like others have said – the issue is this is a very poorly misunderstood so government and media are erring on the side of ridiculous caution. I agree with the commenter who compared it to thinking that HIV was spread through kissing or hand shaking in the 90s.

        And if we're going to throw titles around – an MD who has read the literature on Kuru, CVD and BSE.

        April 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • PinkCupcake

      Basic Microbiology says otherwise. CJD is inherited VCJD is what humans get when eating "mad cows". It's a prion disease.

      April 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  7. Heckler

    You know why they call it mad cow? Because PMS was already taken.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Flatsguide

      Thats sick...............................................................................................but funny.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Charleton Heston

      Soylent Bovine

      April 25, 2012 at 7:01 am |
  8. ?

    Another example of corporations cutting corners to maximize profits at the expense of consumers.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  9. Kim

    On the bright side – maybe if they find more I'll be allowed to donate blood again! Ever since living in Europe, I'm permanently banned from donating because of the risk of mad cow disease. But if there are more mad cows here, then everyone else's blood won't be any less likely to have mad cow. Woohoo!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Also Kim

      Exactly! It drives me nuts. They don't even ask if you ate meat while living in Europe. It's ridiculous.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • paul321

      I agree with you – frustrated at not being able to donate blood since moving to the US. Wonder how the UK manages ?

      April 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  10. sixin

    John must of got his 5100. I'd really like to know his thoughts on this.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  11. Fluffles

    This is what happens when money dominates and is more important than the health of a society. Farmers make money making more for cheap, and everyone suffers. There are always loopholes being exploited- they agreed not to feed cow parts to cows, but they feed blood meal from cows to pigs, and blood meal from pigs to cows. Now when you're feeding the pigs parts of cows and then feeding those pigs to the cows, you might as well just feed cows to cows. So many large scale farm practices should be made illegal, and lock up those who are pushing this garbage and walking away with piles of money.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  12. 4sanity

    Mad Cow Disease (cattle), scrapie (sheep), Kreuzfeld-Jakob syndrome (humans), chronic wasting disease (deer, skunks, racoons and other mammals) are essentially all the same disease.

    What people may not realize is that prion diseases are endemic in the US. And for wild animals the transmission is not via eating contaminated central nervous system offal but rather through mucous and saliva that they pick up by grazing.

    Luckily interspecies transmission is difficult. And although not insignificant, the rate of Mad Cow Disease transmission to humans is also relatively low.

    Feeding cattle ground offal from slaughterhouses is certainly one way to maintain the transmission cycle. And by slaughtering young cattle before symptoms set in, there's little ability to track the real infection rate, unless every cow is tested which becomes prohibitively expensive. So unless everyone is willing to pay double for their beef (and US consumers certainly do expect their food to be cheap), farmers will continue to use slaughterhouse waste as a protein source and the USDA is left to rely on statistical sampling methods.

    But by all means lets shrink the size of the government (USDA, food inspectors, OSHA, EPA) because all "big g'ubment" is bad.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  13. UCrazyKid

    Mad Cow? Why he is FURIOUS!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Anita

    VEGANISM....I'm just saying!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • 4sanity

      You do realize that much of the countries vegetable crops are fertilized by "solids" from animal farms and waste water treatment plants, right ?

      April 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
      • dscon

        yep, and they are also fertilized by your farmworkers while they harvest our vegies too!

        April 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • USDA

        Is that an argument against not eating animals?

        April 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Jay

      Remember the e coli outbreak that contaminated all that spinach a few years ago? The myth that cutting out meat in your diet somehow alleviates all food related illnesses is ridiculous.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
      • USDA

        It was what was sprayed on the crops that is the issue – not that vegetables are naturally toxic.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  15. dieselbug

    Dairy cow. Meat would not be eaten (or at least it shouldn't – you never know with Pink Slime . . .) – not really a huge health scare. Yet.
    This is how it started in the UK/EU. Small admissions and slowly authorities started to check more farms and found it to be more prevalent than previously thought, because they trusted the farming community to self-police.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Fluffles

      Old dairy cows become beef for fast food restaurants. And while you could argue that you should avoid fast food restaurants anyway, we all know most americans don't.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  16. CSM

    One of the many benefits of industrialized agriculture. Many thanks to ConAgra, Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson foods and others for bringing BSE to innocent animals.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • 4sanity

      Without these companies, you and 3 billion other humans wouldn't be sitting here right now. Or if you were, you'd be relying on your 2nd Ammendment rights to protect against looters raiding your food supply.

      Industrialized agriculture ensures we use less total acreage for farming to meet our food needs. Or do you advocate for converting all the current marginal farm lands that represent large swaths of remaining wildife habitat into low yield producing farms to satisfy your "green organic" bias ?

      April 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Monsanto is not involved in the beef or dairy industry...just crop plants.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  17. ssiidd56

    when one was found here in Canada a few years back, entire country was banned from selling beef in U.S. ,Japan and
    most of Europe for years. It was all started by american ranchers assc. ,we'll see what happens now that shoe's on oyher

    April 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  18. brandon

    Its not too late to be vegetarian

    April 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • GoRemoteKCI

      That;s silly.......Them cows need eatin'..........

      April 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  19. Jacinda

    My friend's sister died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which has a hereditary component and is often NOT caused by eating contaminated meat. In her case, she was a life-long vegetarian who was extremely careful about what she ate and lead a very healthy lifestyle.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Mike

      Thats why I am eating meat, we are all going to die, I want to die while eating a Wendy's triple!

      April 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  20. Libssuck

    Everyone already knew California was full of Mad Cow as well as Mad Liberal Disease. Nothing new here.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • gop-is-for-the-rich----wakeup


      April 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
      • Libssuck

        Glad I'm rich.

        April 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  21. gandoman

    Actually, the authorities were mistaken .....
    The cow wasn't MAD .......... just a little angry!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  22. sing4ever

    Ok, where there's smoke, there's fire. We are given strict instructions by our Almighty God in the Bilble, not to cross breed animals or vegetation seeds; we now know why, it distorts the DNA and the food we eat is no longer in its original perfect design. I advise all to visit the USDA website and look up the "repeat violators" list of who is injecting these poor animals with a myriad of drugs and hormones and exactly what drugs are being injected in vast quantities. You will never eat any animal again, and you will save yourself from many costly diseases.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  23. Gail

    As a former Hospice worker I had a patient with this disease. It is really awful. The cattle industry should stop feeding cattle, cattle. They eat grass and stuff like that, they don't need meat. I thought this practice had stopped. Obviously, I was wrong.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  24. t3chsupport

    And that's why you don't feed cows to cows. Kinda like why you don't feed humans to humans. Weird, right?

    Pay attention to where your meat comes from... not all beef is subject to this.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  25. Jeb

    Cow's evolved to eat grass. Let them eat grass. They will be healthier and so will everyone else.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • GoRemoteKCI

      You realize that modern cattle didn't "evolve" to their current state. We have selectively breed them for several thousand years........

      April 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
      • USDA

        And that means they now eat cow meat naturally?

        April 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
      • paul321

        Evolution does not have to happen naturally. By interfering with the cows 'natural' evolution we evolved them in a direction more suited to our purposes. The process is still evolution.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  26. Fact Lover

    That's what happenes when cows are forced to eat not the meat of other cows but the infected nervous tissue of infected cows.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  27. Robin

    I agree with the above comments. Horrible to feed cows ... cows – they are herbivores not cannibals. Horrific! I hope this is illegal and those who would do this would be prosecuted. ... also if cows are "protein" and they eat grass/grains ... where is that protein coming from? maybe we should eat like they do (minus the bad horrible terrible idea of eating other cows) ...

    April 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • AS1234

      Robin have you seen the size of a cow lately? not so sure eating like they eat is such a grand idea either.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  28. luckyponytoo

    OK...easy solution: don't feed cows to other cows. That's just disgusting.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Whatever

      This video says these safeguards are in place -this is a 'new strain' of MC -'spontaneous' Not from cows eating cows.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  29. Charles

    Mmmmmmm BSE. It's what's for dinner.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  30. Chris

    This is disgusting. Why are feeding our cows corn and other cows parts when they should be out eating grass? Not allowing cows to eat grass and introducing grain into their diet is what started the rise of milk sickness (TB). If you let them eat grass, like they should, their wouldn't be near as many meat and milk safety issues as we currently have. This is one of many reasons I try to get my milk and meat from grass-fed cows. It's more expensive, but it's well worth it!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jeb

      Well said.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Patrick

      Chris, I agree with you 100%. The problem is that we mass produce all our food in this country. There is no way to let 10,000 or 50,000 cattle ruminate over grassland that doesn't exist anymore. We screwed the pooch on this way back when we started corralling thousands of head of cattle into confined spaces closer to the market distribution systems. Now we humans have bad health effects from this type of mass-produced food production.
      Go grass-fed!

      April 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • J

      totally agree... but on a deeper level, humans are the only species, lame enough to drink another animals milk... whatever illness, sickness, infestation as a result of, is deserved. You ever wonder why, there are so many, snotty nosed kids around? Its because our bodies are rejecting the enzymes in the milk. Humans SHOULD NOT be ingesting milk from other animals. If it was supposed to be so, we wouldn't have to process it down, to the inth degree...

      April 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
      • maobinhitler

        all kids are snot nosed, genius. has nothing to do w/ enzymes or dairy.
        Also, humans arent the only animals that drink another's milk. do some research before spouting off.
        Also have you ever looked at a corn stalk? which does it resemble? if you answered a blade of grass, then youre correct for once. grains come from grasses. arguin that a cow should only be fed grass and only grass is the equivelent of arguing that only the stalks and husks of corn should be eaten by humans.

        April 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • James

      Sorry Chris, you're misinformed. First of all TB is not Milk Sickness, it's tuberculosis. However, tremetol vomiting (TV) is another name for Milk Sickness, so maybe that's where you got confused. Tremetol vomiting was a 19th Century problem caused by free-ranging cows grazing on white snakeroot which contains the poison tremetol. It doesn't happen today (or not often anyway). Ironically, TB is a problem with grass-fed cows. I live in New Zealand, where all our cows are grass-fed, and where TB is transmitted to cows via possum faeces which gets onto the grass. However, I do agree with you that cows should be grass fed, as the milk products from such cows are much more flavorful.

      April 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

    i'm sure we can trust the usda on this one! the food supply in this country is totally compromised and will remain so as long as the food processing lobby continues to twist the arm of government. grow your own food!

    April 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  32. Laura Jobe

    Cows are grass eaters, not meat eaters of any kind, and should not be fed grain. That should be fed to people. Why is it that people eat meat from animals that are supposed to eat grass? Surely, they get enough protein on their natural diet.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • reasonablebe

      Yup.... and cattle should not be fed meat or by products or animal matter of any kind.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Capt. Long John SIlver

      News flash. Grains ARE grasses. That includes corn, wheat, barley, and rye.

      Neither cattle nor humans suffer ill effects from cattle eating the seeds of these grasses.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • Also Kim

        Eating grass is WILDLY different from eating grains (the seeds of grass). Nutritionally, grains have much more to offer than grass. This is why people (with ONE stomach) eat nutrient-rich grains, while cows (with FOUR stomachs) eat nutrient-poor grass. They evolved four stomachs to be able to extract nutrients out of the grass, something that people can't do. Feeding them grain is something cows are not prepared for – neither the density of the nutrients, nor the form.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
        • What?

          You couldn't be more correct. Why, just last week I watched a cow for 15 minutes as she would pick up a nice oat stem and then snip the head (which has the "grain" in it) off before eating just the straw that was left. Any you ever notice how, when cattle have green chop to eat – that's freshly chopped corn, by the way, before it ferments into silage – that they go through and eat the chopped up stalk and leaves, and even the husks off the ear, but they leave all those nice yellow, soft-dent kernels behind? Yep, left to their own devices, cows will never, ever eat grain. And neither will any of the other "four-stomached" animals – deer would never eat corn, or wheat, or anything like that. Just ask any farmer out there – they'll tell you.

          April 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  33. reasonablebe

    Don't eat beef meat that has been scraped from around the spinal column– no hot dogs, nothing that says, "beef" or has 'pink slime,' nothing that doesn't indicate the cut of beef. It is only beef/meat that is highly enervated that has these prions– so eat sirloin, ok, brisket, ok. chuch ok.... pass on other things, Nice for USDA to day it's all safe, it ain't but they don't know what to do and don't want to panic the population. We slaughter our steers– and some cows– before Mad Cow symptoms would present– 2 year olds are considered to old for human consumption here and mad cow takes at least that long to present...

    April 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Whatever

      Thank You, you seem like a knowledgeable insider.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • What?

        Well, maybe to somebody who doesn't know any better.

        April 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  34. Whatever

    A. This is a health crisis news story, Not for eatocracy recipes!
    B."eating contaminated meat or some other animal products from cattle" -some other? like Milk? WHAT are they?
    C. total downplay of symptoms. This KILLS you, turns your brain to Swiss Cheese, better to be shot like if you got rabies.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  35. UHOH

    If one cow has been infected most likely more will be popping up. "The USDA says it remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products". Sure..... Prion disease is not stoppable. If a cow with prion disease is incinerated then buried and 10k years from now a cow happens to graze upon the uncovered incinerated remains, it could actually be susceptible. The cattle industry practices that have led to the spread of this plague are abhorrent.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • reasonablebe

      yupd– unless all the others likely infected are slaughtered too young or too soon to show symptoms– which is what has been going on here for awhile. Just because the symptoms aren't evident, doesn't mean the disease isn't present and contageous– prions are worse than viruses.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • 4F

      Boycott all cattle products – do it today, the life you save may be your own...

      April 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • A scientist

      Prions are pretty tough to inactivate, but your description is a little over-the-top. It is true that cooking or boiling will not inactivate prions, and that they can persist in the environment for years. However, burning (as well as a handful of other treatments) does destroy the prion.

      (I have run a lab studying prion diseases for about a decade.)

      April 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
      • UHOH

        I'm sorry to be over the top. I am not an expert. I have only learned what I know of prion disease in classes. Thanks for the correction.

        April 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  36. tf

    No need to worry......said the vegetarian USDA agent attempting to prevent nationwide panic.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Whatever

      LOL -except their all total vegans now!

      April 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  37. Bonnie

    Where there's smoke, there's fire. We are given strict instructions by our Almighty God in the Bilble, not to cross breed animals or vegetation seeds; we now know why: it distorts the DNA and the food we eat is no longer in its original perfect design. I advise all to visit the USDA website and look up the "repeat violators" list of who is injecting these poor animals with a myriad of drugs and hormones and exactly what drugs are being injected in vast quantities. You will never eat any animal again, and you will save yourself from many costly diseases.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  38. J

    I'd be a pretty mad cow too if you fed me ground up bits of the cow next to me.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      I eat people all the time and I'm fine. Myth.

      April 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • AS1234

      I second that! If they know that THIS is what causes it... why don't they stop this practice... Just a thought

      April 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  39. Excitizen

    "The USDA says it remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products..."

    This does not make me feel secure at all. If they were really worried about our safety, they wouldn't be feeding recycled beef to our beef stocks! It's, as usual, all about the money.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Pat

      In 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE (none in the U.S.), a dramatic decline and 99% reduction since the peak in 1992 when there were 37,311 cases. The systems put in place work.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  40. Eric of Reseda

    "BSE is transmitted between cows through the practice of recycling bovine carcasses for meat and bone meal protein, which is fed back to other cattle." This is disgusting. The beef and dairy industry is despicable! Spend the extra money! Buy free range, no hormones, etc. "Old fashioned" is best here!

    April 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • PinkCupcake

      It's is sick. Over seas many cows get sick from eating sheep that have scrapie, which is another prion disease that sheep get then those cows get BSE. Cows are herbivores stop feeding them meat and there wouldn't be any problems. I guess happy cows don't come from California!

      April 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Pat

      Such feeding practices have been illegal since 2004.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  41. ladyfon

    Right on Taylor!

    April 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  42. Abe

    Do you trust the government enough to continue risking eating contaminated bovine meat?

    April 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Whatever

      What a logical -and actually hilarious -question!

      April 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
      • scallions1

        I think it is a valid comment. It seems kind of incredible that just one cow would come down with the disease if they're all fed the same food. The whole food industry needs stricter regulations and more inspections. It is sickening to hear these scary stories from pink slime to brain disease, e.coli found almost monthly in something or other and salmonella due to crowded conditions at chicken farms. Profit chasing makes the heads of companies turn the other way when problems surface.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • RobbW

      Would you trust private for-profit corporations enough to inspect and regulate themselves and conduct themselves in a manner that is best for public health and safety? Because we all know that for-profit corporations *ONLY* do what is best for the public good! (**sarcasm**)

      April 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • scallions1

        And there are rumors galore about government inspectors who are paid to not report "accidents" in the food industry. I trust government inspectors over for-profit companies' inspectors, but I think there needs to be more attention to regulations and somehow monitoring of the inspectors.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
        • RobbW

          Totally agree with you, scallions. Undoubtedly, there are unscrupulous inspectors taking payoffs to look the other way. However, I'd still trust the government inspectors more than the beef industry to self-police. It is the inspectors' JOB to inspect and maintain food safety. It is the beef industry's JOB to make money from selling cow meat. Which is MORE likely to cut corners to increase profit?

          April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  43. Excitizen

    Wow – Sarah Palin must be in California!

    April 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  44. Dusty


    April 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  45. Taylor

    Perhaps we shouldn't be turning herbivores into cannibals...

    April 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Anlass

      Exactly...that's what happens when cows are forced to eat cows.

      April 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • wjmknight

        So, no more fat lesbians?

        April 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • mb


      April 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • drp1270

      I couldn't agree more! It seems wrong on every level... ethically, morally, ....
      I have an aunt who died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. I fail to understand why are fed in this way.

      April 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • Anlass

        It's the agri-corporations....treating humanity for cows. They don't give a sh** about us. That's why!

        April 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
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