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. Disbelief of media

    Once again the media doesn't ask the hard questions of the USDA. The food industrial complex MUST END and all feed lots disbanded. And at the very least it should be illegal to feed beef byproducts to cows. My understanding is that mad cow disease is only passed from one cow to another when they eat infected cow parts. The media must report the true facts to the American people so all of us can make informed decisions as to what we buy to feed our families and which lawmakers and government agencies have been corrupted to allow these horrible practices to continue!!

    April 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      If they reported the true facts, you would be faced with finding out you're wrong about a lot of things.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Dupper

      Too late. You can see the shaking stagering people walking around everywhere. They can't control what you see at your door step anymore.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Cows Taste Great

      I would like to inform you that it already is illegal to feed cow parts (and other animals with fours stomachs, called ruminants) to cows or sheep and has been for several years now.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  2. Crash

    You're eating me, you're drinking me, you're wearing my skin. But I'M the one whose mad.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  3. Dupper

    Well it is a milk cow. Lots of products have milk and butter in them. The infection wasn't found until the dead aminal got to a rendering plant. so.. it could have made alot or milk before it died. Kraft foods Deans foods and land O Lakes are all suspect as well as every thing made with milk products in calf.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Well, no. Prions aren't found in milk.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Shane

      And the disease is not spread via milk, therefore whether or not the cow's milk was used in products doesn't matter.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • MadMan

      Can't you read? "...milk does not transmit BSE."

      April 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • CaEd

      "The animal has been euthanized and the carcass is being being HELD under State authority at a rendering facility."

      BTW, do you know the difference between a processing and rendering plant?

      April 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  4. G$

    I still will eat beef. this is only a dairy cow not a field cow. so theirs no need to panic because only the meat will harm us and the cow will never be eaten its a dairy cow. also the cows milk is not affected so we shouldn't worry at all about mad cow disease!

    still by beef its good for u!

    April 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Dupper

      I don't know why you think mal-formed proteins arn't in milk. It is a body fluid and proteins move through the body fluids – that called eating.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        Animals aren't just big spongy bags that soak up food at one and and squirt out waste at the other. Prions have never been found in any tissue other than that of the central nervous system. Like so many other diseases, this one affects only a very particular type of cell.

        April 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Agscientist

      Actually dairy cows do enter the food system once their milk production falls below an economical point. The cheap stakes and other cheap types of milk come largely from dairy cows. Culled dairy cows (unless they do not pass inspection) END UP IN THE FOOD SYSTEM! It's unfortunate that some media houses and authority figures are falsely claiming that dairy cows don't enter the food system. This however does not mean that beef is not safe since the US has implemented a variety of changes including insuring body parts (brain, spine etc) that are carriers of the disease from entering the food system.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • What?

        What kind of "agscientist" are you? Your comments can't help but make one wonder. Last time I checked, unless it was goat milk or sheep milk – not likely to see too much buffalo milk here – all milk, cheap or not, came from dairy cows. And I have never seen a 'stake' that came from any bovine animal . . . although I guess one could sharpen a bone enough to make a 'stake' out of it. I don't think anyone ever claimed that cull or spent dairy cows don't enter the human food system. The statement was made that this particular animal was never intended for the human food system. There's a rather large difference between one specific animal not being used for food and an entire class of animals not being used.

        April 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  5. jj

    The cows probably caught it from Jerry Brown.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  6. Wit

    BSE is not in the milk. But it is in the blood, and there is frequently blood in the milk from udders that are chapped and rubbed and bleeding from over milking and rough milking. Commercially produced milk is not safe to drink, and eating the meat is definitely not safe. BSE symptoms don't manifest until cows are older, which is why they are killed young. A number of US cows have it but they don't show. But its still being passed into the food chain. Sorry... but its the truth.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Ashley

      Your a Twit, more people world wide have died from contaminated spinach than mad cow. Unfortunately fear mongering like what you are doing has cost billions of dollars. Many Canadian farmers lost entire herds and lost farms because of fear based hysteria. You have a better chance of getting hit crossing the street, maybe you should stop leaving your house...just in case!! Moron

      April 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • Alan S

        Ashley: I was impressed by the logic and clarity of your comment ... until you called the other writer a moron. Please allow me to suggest that not everyone who disagrees with you, or for that matter, not even everyone who is mistaken on a certain point, is a moron. Reasonable people can disagree.

        April 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
        • Ashley

          Moron by definition – Informal . a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment. I don't think that the comment was unjust. I come from a farming community that is hugely impacted by people that lack good judgement. My father-in-law is a butcher that suffered greatly due to low beef prices. People need to stop the misinformations about what is safe and what is not and learn the facts! Peoples livelyhood could very well depend on it.

          April 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
      • Wit

        Yup... that's what I expect from the cattle industry – name calling. I don't mind though, Ashley. And I'm sorry that your butcher relative suffered economic hardship. I grew up eating meat. Lots of it. But I eventually realized what many people are these days, and that is that eating meat is bad for your arteries and your waistline, and it is linked with all sorts of cancers. Read "The China Study". We do not need the cattle industry to thrive on this planet, or the pig industry or the chicken industry. And you're wrong about BSE being dangerous. Read Howard Lyman's book – he was the head of the cattleman's association in Montana.

        April 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Shane

      Its in the nervous system cells, not the blood cells.

      And even if you do eat contiminated beet, the chances of you catching it are almost non-existant. This is people blowing something that is barely a danger way out of proportion.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Mr Grumpy

      How do you know Wit does leave the house?

      April 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  7. Greenspam

    Republicans will start blaming Obama in 3.... 2... 1....

    April 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • G$

      haha... its true!

      April 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • everettreb

      I thought it was more like the dems. or Obama would blame Bush as he/them have for past three years.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  8. Jim

    I'm sure they're not mad, they're from California, they just have issues; like not enough people eating at Chick Fil A

    April 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  9. Mr Grumpy

    You shouldn't talk about Maxine Waters that way. Or is it Pelosi?

    April 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  10. i trust the veterinarians

    we have a pretty impressive veterinarian group in the US. rare that i trust many people, but they really are an impressive group. usually.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • i trust the veterinarians

      i appreciate very much that they told us.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  11. sarah

    Cows are not carnivores.. stop turning them into cannibals.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Ariel

      No doubt. I only eat grass fed cows grown in Colorado. Never eat meat not raised within 50 miles of your home!

      April 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Inge Rush

      Couldn't agree more, Sarah!

      April 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • What?

      It's been against the law to "turn them into cannibals" for several years now.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        Well, mostly. There has been a strict ban on feeding any central nervous system tissue from ruminants to other ruminants for several years, but several slaughter byproducts are still permitted in cattle feed.

        April 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
        • What?

          I don't know that I would call it "several". When it comes to ruminant by-products – all meat is banned, period. All offal is banned, period. All bone is banned, period. Blood and blood products are permitted, as is milk and milk products, but that's about the extent of the list.

          April 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
        • What?

          I'm not taking into account the twice-cooked stuff, so if we include that, then my comment is in error.

          April 25, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  12. NODAT1

    I thought only Happy cows come from Califorina

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

      Happy like a loon...

      April 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • runs with cows

      It's easy to tell the difference: happy cows have fields of grass to smoke; mad cows do not.

      April 25, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  13. asd

    Since I'm not a fear mongering liberal, I'm eating a hamburger right now.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • another1

      Fear mongering liberal?? You crazy... The republican party is the party of fear, which is why we ended up in Iraq without any WMDs found at all.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
      • asd

        We have to pass health care right now...

        April 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  14. enoch100

    Moo. Moo. Moooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Moooooooeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooo. Moo

    April 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • runs with cows

      Finally. A voice of reason.

      April 25, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  15. Pacaronni

    Alpaca...Yum. small farms and safe

    April 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  16. Aezel

    All of the comments on this page are strong evidence of why the government isn't forthcoming. You are all too stupid to interpret the data even if they gave it to you. Intstead you would all rather mindlessly overreact or decide that somehow this supports your idiotic agenda.

    Guess how much impact this will have on anyone's life or health anywhere? Zero.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • hawaiirules

      And your comment is evidence as to why government power needs to be limited. You read a comments page, assume you thereby know all there is to know about the American public, and government "Aha–government is the solution." That is truly scary.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • toadears

      The invention and anonymity of the Internet has allowed the world to see into the disgusting minds of adolescent boys. The two worst countries are Ireland and the United States. Violent, uncouth, and know it alls. But at least we are warned.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
      • Alan S

        Toadears: Although I am far from adolescent, I am American, and I found your comment rather odd. You wrote that the two worst countries are Ireland and the U.S. Worst in what exactly? In how people express themselves on the internet? And how would you know if a writer is from Ireland, or the U.S., rather than Canada or Scotland or England? Or from Nairobi, for that matter? And, if I may say, your comment paints with rather too broad a brush.

        April 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  17. SixDegrees

    FWIW, when Mad Cow disease first appear in Britain the response was pure panic. Nearly everyone in the nation was exposed, and predictions at the time claimed that bodies would start piling up in the streets in just a few years. With each passing year, the predictions were extended; still no body piles, and after almost 30 years the number of confirmed cases remains at the handful level.

    I'm not suggesting it isn't serious or that it isn't easily controlled simply by changing feed regulations, something I favor. But it doesn't seem worth getting all worked up over; apparently, it just isn't that transmissible.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • TheLimey

      Thank you, Six. Private Eye magazine in the UK has been saying the same for years.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  18. soupy

    wow, this is insane

    April 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  19. hawaiirules

    What–another Hillary Romer story?

    April 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  20. asd

    This is all being orchestrated so that Obama can come to the rescue.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Aezel

      Don't forget your tinfoil hat. I bet the government is reading your mind as we speak.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Josh

      I see a typo in your name...looks like you typed an "s" instead of a "d"....

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

        pretend I said a "d" instead of an "s"...carry on...

        April 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  21. Diane S.

    Grass-Fed pastured beef is never exposed to Mad Cow. It is time to demand better for yourself and your family!

    April 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • David

      Sorry to inform you, this is an incorrect statement. Prions have many different modes of transmittal. But if you really wanted to know that, you would have Googled huh? Or maybe, just read the story and found out that this was a rare variant. Wonder where it came from?

      April 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Prion diseases appear to arise spontaneously; deer and elk, for instance, get their own BSE variant without eating anything other than their natural diet.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  22. Whynot11

    I love the panic here. If you are panicking you are probably dense.

    Do some research yourself, what they are telling you is true: its not transferred from milk, the cow was not killed. This happens atypically too.

    FOR EXAMPLE: in the wild there are Deer (venison) that just *become downed* naturally while hunters are looking around for deer to hunt. That is because THEY TOO have a form of this disease. In fact, there is a HUMAN STRAIN of this prion disease found in cannibalistic cultures.

    If you want a simple answer: DO NOT EAT OVER PROCESSED THINGS. ITS BAD FOR YOU ANYWAYS. SUPPORT A SMALL BUSINESS, EAT LOCAL. You'll like the way that you eat, I guarantee it.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Whynot11

      *was not killed for meat.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • medschoolkid

      Deer do not have their own form of prion disease. To contract a prion disease an animal (or person) must eat brain matter from an infected individual. In fact I would argue that wild venison is much healthier than any kind of beef and you know its organic.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • What?

        Hey, "kid" (with emphasis on "kid") –

        Maybe it's 'semantics', or a mere technicality and you're correct, but it looks like you really ought to try to find out something about 'chronic wasting disease'.

        April 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        Look up CWD. There is no doubt that it is a prion disease, very similar to BSE, that occurs apparently spontaneously within the deer and elk population in North America.

        April 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  23. Chmee

    So... how do you tell the difference between someone with mad cow disease and anyone else in California??? They're all nut cases.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Notimer

      I'd really like to berate you for such a nasty and ignorant over-generalization, but your spelling and grammar are above reproach. I declare it a wash.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  24. Chmee

    It was Michelle Bachman.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      bahahahahahahahaha

      That made my day...

      April 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • BobbaFett

        Simple is as simple does, I guess..

        April 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  25. jon

    Given that liberals are so angry it makes sense their cows would be mad as well

    April 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      Social liberals or fiscal liberals?

      Social conservatives can lick my b@lls...

      April 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • SFC Mike

      Sorry to ruin your day, jon, but no mad liberals involved. The areas of California with commercial dairy and beef cattle operations are all pretty much solid red GOP base area. Guess it's becuase they're used to the smell, they can't detect the BS from the candidates they elect. :D

      April 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • ventg4fun

        LOL! Good one!

        April 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • another1

      Liberals angry? You are confused. Liberals are usually very level-headed, well informed and well educated people. Republicans are generally angry, gun-toting, racists. Hate is a big part of their agenda. But I can't really blame liberals if they were angry after all the damage that Republicans have done to this country.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Sharp

      Never saw or heard of or met a rancher who wasn't a RABID ultra right Republican. They all think Reagan was a secret Communist; way beyond looney.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  26. Betty

    I also personally know of a 61 year old woman from Omaha, Ne. who died of mad cow disease. It was kept quiet and
    certainly did not hit the news. I called the CDC about this, and guess what? They said they were not interested.
    I could not believe it. The family was asked if they preferred to keep this private and they said yes.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Buck

      Not saying I don't believe you....but how did you know the death was caused specifically by Mad Cow Disease?

      April 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Then I'll say it – I don't believe you.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • What?

      Betty – do you also "personally know" that there is an entire family of transmissible spongiform encephalopy (TSE) diseases, and that 'mad cow' is only one of them? Do you know that there is a recognized human TSE called Cerutzfeldt-Jakob disease that has been around for decades – long before the first ever case of "mad cow"? It's much more likely that she died of this than a BSE-induced disease.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
      • What?

        Edit for typo: encephalopathy

        April 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Cathy

      It's very possible she died of CJD which does affect 300 americans each year, but CJD is in no way related to mad cow disease which causes vCJD. Both diseases cause the same physical symptoms but show different neurological signs when you look at brainwave patterns and examine the spongiform tissue caused by the diseases.

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

      No, I know her too. It wasn't Mad Cow....she was truly nutz!

      April 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  27. johnn

    My Mother-in-law died of CJD two years ago. It ravaged her in a two month time period. It's an awful disease.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  28. West Wind Acres

    Mad cow disease.............doesn't happen when farmers care about their animals, and feed them what they are designed to eat. Cows are herbivores they are designed to eat grass, and weeds not grain, corn and cattle bone meal protein.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Well, no. That's how it spreads. But it can arise spontaneously. Note that other ruminants, notably deer, get a variant of BSE despite feeding on a natural, vegetarian diet.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • enoch100

      Hey Six, its been shown that all those deer had eaten at a McDonald's sometime within 6 months of their diagnosis.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  29. Dave

    Deer and elks get CWD, the deer form of BSE, without eating animal carcasses.

    Many beef have gotten BSE without having eaten animal carcasses.

    No one really knows if eating meat from an animal with BSE causes vCJD or not, it is just a theory.

    Bottom line is there is a heck of a lot we don't know about BSE, CWD, and vCJD. Most of what people think they know has never actually been proven.

    This is not unlike the early days of the AIDS/HIV epidemic when people incorrectly thought you could get it from shaking someone's hand or a mosquito.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  30. Natch

    Mad Cow Disease? Shoot, I thought that's what Nancy Pelosi's excuse was, all this time!!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  31. Stanley Pruisner

    WHICH FARM?
    WHERE DID/DOES BEEF FROM THIS FARM GO?
    DID THEY SHUT DOWN THE FARM OR NOT?
    THEY RECALL OTHER PRODUCTS THAT ARE CONTAMINATED WITH MICROORGANISMS YOU CAN KILL WITH PROPER COOKING, TELLING US THE LOT NUMBERS TO AVOID, WHERE IT WAS DISTRIBUTED AND WHAT PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO OTHER INFECTED PRODUCTS. THIS DISEASE CAN BE TRANSMITTED FROM ANIMAL TO ANIMAL (HENCE THE NAME OF THE RELATED DISEASE, SCRAPIE). SO THERE IS NO TELLING WHETHER THE REMAINING HERD OR NEIGHBORING HERD IS CONTAMINATED.
    UNTIL THIS INFORMATION/PROTECTION IS PROVIDED BY THE FDA, PEOPLE SHOULD NOT EAT BEEF! iF THE CATTLE INDUSTRY WANTS TO PROTECT ITSELF FROM CATASTROPHIC LOSSES DUE, THEN FESS UP AND BE TOTALLY TRANSPARENT.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • What?

      And where do you get your information, "Mr. BSE Expert?"

      This makes 4 confirmed cases in the USA, at least 1 or 2 of which were dairy cattle that had been imported from Canada. These cases also were several years ago. It's quite interesting that NO OTHER ANIMALS IN THOSE HERDS were found to have the disease, nor have been found to have the disease in the intervening 5+ years. So where is your "proof" that this is transmitted from beef animal to beef animal? or are you just spouting off to hear yourself spout?

      The vast majority of the BSE cases in Europe were traced to contaminated feed. This would – obviously – spread through a herd rather quickly, if they're all eating the same stuff. That is exactly why the restrictions on feed ingredients that are in place today were enacted.

      Did you miss the part about NONE OF THIS ANIMAL BEING IN THE HUMAN FOOD SUPPLY? It was never headed for the human food supply in the first place. Take your sensationalism and scare tactics somewhere else.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • STANLEY PRUISNER

        Hmmm!?! That would be from research conducted in my laboratory at UCSF, which has been published in the most highly respected, peer reviewed scientific and medical journals. I won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1997 for discovering PRIONS and elucidating the nature and mechanism of transmission.

        April 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
        • What?

          Congratulations on your Nobel Prize – I applaud you. However, I am still quite curious – and dubious – about the direct (which you insinuated) animal-to-animal transmission in cattle. I find it quite odd that, apparently, none of the other animals in the herds, or neighboring herds, of the affected individuals have been found to be BSE-positive. That would lead one to believe that direct transmission is "possible", but that it is highly "improbable", wouldn't you say? (Especially considering that the previous 3 cases were well over 5 years ago.)

          April 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  32. TexasHorseLady

    Some years ago when there was the case of the Canadian cow discovered to have this disease and there was panic in the land and the USDA was pushing a regulation that way overstepped its bounds and was using Mad Cow as the reason we should want them to do it, I decided to see what the risk actually was. I wanted to find out how many people died annually in the United of CJD acquired by eating tainted meat. Avoiding all sites that clearly had an agenda one way or the other, and sticking solely to sites of agencies that were charged with keeping that kind of data, I eventually discovered that, at that point in time, there had been 150 cases, worldwide, of deaths THOUGHT to have been caused by CJD acquired through consumption of tainted meat. Not annually, not in the US, but EVER – over the course of 20 years. Note that the article above states that the risk of acquiring CJD from tainted meat (there are other ways one can get the disease), EVEN IF YOU CONSUME TAINTED MEAT, is LESS THAN ONE IN ONE BILLION. I'd have more respect for CNN if they'd led with that little fact rather than burying it down in the article. But what fun would that be?

    April 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • max3333344445555

      3 people just hit the lottery at 760 million to 1... i dont buy the 1 in a billion odds. the numbers dont add up to that if you consider how many people have gotten it and how many reported contaminated cows supposedly made it to the table.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • toadears

      nobody would read a headline that read 'you have less than a 1 billion chance of contracting mad cow disease' except to make fun of it.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  33. Chad

    Real California Beef Comes from Real Mad Cows. Wait I have one more........
    Beef. It's what not's for dinner.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  34. JGallagher Average American

    Welcome to the Land Of Milk And Honey..... Are we allowed to know the dairy company name??? ... At the speed things evolve we may need to think about the milk & what side effects it may have ... Safety 1st & may i say how sad i am that we turn our cows carnel ... I eat cow meat but i'm a human... I just want reassurance that the milk is 100% safe ... If the farmers dont drink it i -I dont want the children of america to drink it !! Theres enough land for farmers to feed there cows off natural pasture just to many big house goverment regulations on the govermnt land... Heres to a safers source of milk.... The land of Milk N Honey

    April 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  35. cpc65

    "and cuts of beef that are sold on the bone" ~ Sooooo pretty much ALL steaks and ribs, right? Just f'n great! I can see that "pink slime" making a big comeback. I'm sure that ammonia hydroxide treatment can kill this type of bacteria and any other type.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • sciencenerd

      its actually caused by misfolded proteins that become infectious and cant be killed by antibacterials or any other treatments to the beef. this disease can be transmitted even with gross chemical treatments that have so many other negative effects on the body

      April 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Kevin

      MCD is a prion (a rogue protein), not a bacteria. There's nothing that can be done to remove it from contaminated meat.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Ash

      BSE is caused by a prion, which is a misfolded protein. I am pretty sure the only way to sterilize is to denature the protein. So I am not sure if the ammonia hydroxide would work.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  36. Maude Lebwoski

    You think mad cow is bad? Apparently inhaling pig brains is bad for your neurological system too: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/health/05pork.html?pagewanted=all

    April 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • across12

      not sure how many people eat the brains and suck on bones.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  37. Kingofthenet

    Once these mutated proteins get into you, your history it is as deadly as rabies, maybe even more.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Flatsguide

      Kinda like the California Democrats.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  38. Maude Lebwoski

    By eating free-range, grass fed beef, this is NEVER an issue. Cattle were not meant to consume meat or corn. They eat grass. Pay more. It's worth the expense.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Dave

      Yet wild deer and elk get CWD, the deer form of BSE.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • Ag man

        Amen Dave

        April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • What?

      You do realize – of course – that corn is "a grass", don't you?

      April 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
      • WhackyWaco

        I guess next you will say that a peach is a tree.

        April 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  39. keile green

    what do you expect? its obvious feeding carcasses of dead cows to live ones is ridiculous as wow look! you have transmitted a disease!!

    April 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  40. Ag man

    I bet most of you have never been on a ranch or been near a feedlot. Okay let's say you feed cattle only grass....do you know how many acres one animal takes??? Of course that varies due to the condition of the grass, but if you took corn and milo out of the picture we wouldn't have enough acres for the number of head we have in the US...guess we would have to dramatically reduce the number of cows and given the beef demand..I guess people would pay multiple times the dollars that they do now at the grocery stores or eating establishments...oh and since we would then have a huge glut of grain on the market (or do we just give it away), I guess we would find new markets for grain so our Farmers wouldn't go broke???? I suppose everyone of you work for free so I guess our farmers should too...huh? Think just a little bit, before you start telling everyone else how it should be. Farmers and Ranchers work for a living not just for exercise...ruin farming and ranching and you will see what it is like to go without...does North Korea ring a bell???

    April 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • EK

      Because it's better to feed cattle something that their systems were never designed to eat and that poses not just a threat of mad-cow disease, but breeds increasingly resistant strains of e-coli (due to higher acidity in the digestive tract of cattle), of course, you're not worried about health of cattle or humans, just about profit.

      Spare me the "we HAVE to do it or we'll all starve" nonsense. You and I both know that the reason for feeding corn and beef byproducts to cattle is to increase profit, nothing more.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
      • Ag man

        Okay EK, why not get your butt out here in farm country. Gee, cows weren't meant to eat corn??? Really??? They seem to like it just fine...I don't see them puking it up. And now the LIBERAL EK uses the old tactic of claiming that I don't care about the health of anyone....guess what buddy...I knew someone that died of BSE!!! That is the God's honest truth...how did he get it...we don't and won't ever know so don't make assumptions about whether I care. Ecoli is not a good thing and the packers try and they are inspected...does it get through?? Yes and you should know how to properly cook meat. There are risks in this world in just crossing the street, I guess we better not let anyone cross a street. We feed corn, because consumers also demand the flavor of our beef in comparison to grass fed cattle. We can produce more gain and keep everyone fed...is it profitable...trust me not all the time. I know cattlemen that have lossed their asses feeding cattle. If you want to dictate what our grain can be used for, you are basically setting up the entire US ag industry for failure and when I talk ag industry, I am mostly talking about the small family owned farms that are in my area. You want to regulate to the point that there is no risk in anything.....you have the choice...you can eat grass fed cattle...there is some out there, as for me, I'll choose to live my life in freedom and CHOOSE to eat grain feed beef, pork, and chicken...my bet...I'll outlive you, because people back here live to be very old, because we eat well and work hard.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
        • EK

          Quick, since you seem to know so much about cows . . . what is a cow's natural diet? I'll give you a hint, it's not corn. Their stomach and digestive tract is not adapted to it. Digesting corn requires a more acidic system. In order to digest corn products, cattle must produce more acid within their stomach(s). When they do so, the already existing e-coli in their system becomes more resistant. This is fact. Doubt me, Let's see what the experts (meaning not you) have to say: http://www.farmandranchguide.com/news/livestock/corn-processing-method-could-it-affect-e-coli-prevalence-in/article_ea03f0ce-9ac6-11e0-aa3d-001cc4c002e0.html

          "It has been found in a host of studies that there is a distinct link between corn processing method and E. coli O157:H7 prevalence in a beef cattle herd. Of the methods examined, a majority of studies found that feeding steam flaked corn resulted in a greater amount of E. coli O157:H7 fecal shedding by beef cattle than when feeding dry rolled corn."

          Cattle, left to eat their natural diet will eat grasses, not grains. That's a fact. You can't deny it, you can't disprove it. If you starve an animal long enough, it will eat whatever you feed it. Saying "they eat it" doesn't mean a thing if you offer no alternative. Offer a starving man dried whale intestines and he will eat it. It doesn't mean he likes it or that it's a normal part of his diet.

          You can try to deny scientific and agricultural fact all you like, it doesn't change reality.

          April 24, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
        • EK

          Also – knowing how to properly cook meat has little bearing on what happens to the run-off from cattle operations where resistant e-coli has been allowed to thrive, this run-off can contaminate neighboring crops, etc. We've already seen contaminated vegetable products traced to nearby pork farming operations, it's not exactly a stretch to see how the same could occur with cattle operations.

          April 24, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
        • What?

          @ EK –

          You should have quit while you were still at least fairly even . . .

          "Cattle, left to eat their natural diet will eat grasses, not grains. That's a fact. You can't deny it, you can't disprove it. If you starve an animal long enough, it will eat whatever you feed it. Saying "they eat it" doesn't mean a thing if you offer no alternative. Offer a starving man dried whale intestines and he will eat it. It doesn't mean he likes it or that it's a normal part of his diet. " – This is as blatantly false as anything I've ever read. You obviously know absolutely nothing about cattle. This statement can actually be "disproven" in about 5 minutes flat, in the right setting. You don't know what you are talking about.

          April 25, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • longtooth

      I'm a city boy, but I hear you loud and clear. It would be nice if we could all go back to mom and pop ranches and Lassie Come Home, but that's not the world we live in.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • John Anderson

      Ag man. Check out Polyface Farms in Virginia. There is an alternative to industrial farming which is only designed to make corporations like Monsanto and BPI rich. Incidentally, it is the same way your grandparents used to do it.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • What?

        I'm not familiar with this outfit, but I guarantee you that if they aren't finishing on grain, it's not the way my grandparents did it. It has been known for decades that finishing beef animals with a grain-rich diet changes the flavor of the meat – in what is almost universally perceived as a positive way. This is because the fatty acid make-up in the triglycerides is altered, with the inclusion of a higher percentage of fatty acids that are perceived to have a better taste. So, unlike what one of the previous genuises posted – no, it's not "all about the money".

        April 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • 45688ghg

      EXACTLY...as you can see, the best conclusion for the planet is not feed other cows to other cows or feed them what they weren't designed to eat, but for humans to eat what they're designed to eat – plant based foods

      April 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  41. Sarah

    I personally know two people in Central California who had CJD – and now both are dead. Neither traveled outside the US. The CDC confirmed the diagnosis – so why they keep saying there are no confirmed cases in CA is a mystery. There have been 2 deaths, and there are two more cases I have heard of, but can't confirm.

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

      MY WIFE IS A MAD COW.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
      • longtooth

        Wow! I used to date her ! Am I in danger?

        April 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
        • runs with cows

          Only if you ate her.

          April 25, 2012 at 7:11 am |
      • chicago7

        And married to someone totally full of bull.

        April 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • CT

      they will not admit it until they are forced, if they admit it then a chain reaction will start that will affect millions of people. the cdc and the fda would have to halt beef production until they source the problem this will alot of farmers and ranchers in dire straits and cause the demand for other food sources to sky rocket along with the price tag. to the government a few dead is not worth the cost of halt beef production.

      April 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • What?

      Sarah – CJD is a similar disease. It, too, is a TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy), but it is not the same disease as "mad cow". That's why the CDC would not 'confirm' mad cow in CA – it wasn't mad cow.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • gremlinus

      Probably because CJD and vCJD aren't caught the same way. The CDC and other agencies can gather evidence, but there are many causes of CJD and many related diseases. So that at least is why they say there have only been four confirmed mad cow cases. It's not the same as CJD.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • PinkCupcake

      CJD is inherited and is a death sentence. Variant CJD is caused by consuming the prions from a cow that has BSE. The CDC doesn't report hereditary CJD.

      April 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  42. Kingofthenet

    These Prion diseases are BAD, the malformed proteins can't be destroyed by cooking , very serious.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Dupper

      Kraf foods, Land O Lakes, and Deans foods are in the middleof that areawhere the outbreak is occuring. You might want to eat from other parts of thecountry for a while :)

      April 24, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
      • What?

        Idiot! There has never – ever – been a case of "human mad cow disease" associated with dairy products. It isn't transmitted through the milk, moron. It's interesting to know that one single case constitutes an "outbreak", too.

        April 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  43. WDinDallas

    So that's what is wrong with Pelosi....

    April 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Truthâ„¢@WDinDallas

      *Like*

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

      And a lot of others out there!

      April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  44. Barry G.

    Maybe de-regulation isn't such a good idea–even though the Republicans swear this will solve all of our problems.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  45. Avg GI

    Gee, I thought CA cows were happy cows because of the type of grass they ate – not because they were mad.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  46. Realist

    Many years ago the cattle industry and cattlemen in Canada were devastated by a cow contracting this disease in Alberta.

    The USA banned all imports of cattle from Canada and wiped out hundreds of farms and people in the process with this policy. People lost tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars thruout the whole cattle industry

    Was it a good policy/... Yes, I guess... to protect their/your cattle herds.

    Many years later I ran into a gentlemen who moved into our area and in my discussion with him I learned that he was one of those wiped out financially and lost millions and ultimately went broke.

    He told me the farm and more importantly the farmer whom this cattle was found in Alberta happened to be an American who moved there in this area many years previous.

    The irony here folks is the Canadian Government reimbursed this farmer for all his losses including buying out his farm and he moved back to the states.

    All the Canadian farmers were left out in the cold!! they never received a dime from our federal government to help them out in the interim. The reason our local and federal politicians stated for their reasons of not helping the local farmers were they didn't want to throw money down an empty pit and more importantly didn't know how long the USA ag dept were going to keep the ban in place.

    I feel no sympathy towards any hardships the industry down there have to go thru now because of this.

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

      Cool Story Bro

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

        I guess it depends on your point of view.

        Needless to say when I first spoke to this farmer/rancher I told him he was full of it.... until he showed me documentation/ correspondence from various sources/agencies he tried to deal with.

        Sad story indeed!! nobody wins!!

        April 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • WhackyWaco

      There are many people from the USA living in Canada because of the mass exodus during the Vietnam War.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Sharp

      The people use the brains the good Lord gave them & vote with their feet. These greedy big & small farmers will just have to take their lumps. This is the age of information & bought off government can no longer hide from the people.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  47. Ethan

    My grandma was diagnosed with CJD in 2001 but the diagnosis was then changed to a stroke. Because my uncle is an orthodox jew an autopsy was never performed. She exhibited symptoms of extreme delusion. She thought she had won millions of dollars playing bridge and was slurring speech regularly. It would have been funny had it not been so serious. The case never gained widespread publicity.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  48. CT

    whats worse is that i thought i was lactose intolerant, got tested and found out i was alergic to a hormone they feed dairy cattle to make them produce more milk. this hormone has been used for years and is known by our government to cause massive birth deffects in the cattle and in many cases prvents them from breeding at all. and they feed this @#$t to us. anyways i switched to organic dairy products and havent had a problem since. and people wonder why there are so many people with reproductive problems.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Really?

      CT,
      The added hormone to cows is called rBST, or Bovine Somatatropin. This is a hormone that is naturally produced in the brain of the cow and regulates milk production. Although it is falling out of favor due to public opinion, it was supplemented to cows on top of what they produce naturally to boost production at their peak of lactation. This hormone is found in ALL cow milk – organic or not, since it is a hormone that is normally produced by the cow. There is no test to differentiate whether it is the hormone produced by the cow, or the one produced by bacteria and given to the cow. There is no government conspiracy, and it does not cause birth defects. It is also in no way related to "mad cow disease."

      April 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  49. Jim C

    I ate a hamburger today. "I will gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today!" – Wimpy.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
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