US mad cow disease: Calls for government to protect consumers
08 May 2012
Following a recent outbreak of mad cow disease in
California, CI member organisation
Consumer Reports has called on the US Secretary of Agriculture
and the Food and Drug Administration to take new measures to detect
and prevent the disease in US beef and dairy cows.
Consumer Reports cited
studies that suggest L-type bovine spongiform encephalopathy or
BSE can be transmitted to humans, possibly even more easily than
classic BSE, the type of mad cow disease that resulted in more than
a hundred deaths in the United Kingdom.
Experimental transmission studies (eg, injecting material from
the infected cow into the brain of another animal) show that L-type
BSE is more virulent.
"The fact that this is an L-type atypical mad cow strain means
that this case is not necessarily a spontaneous case, but rather
could have been acquired through infected feed," said senior
scientist at Consumer Reports Michael Hansen.
Consumers Reports is calling for the following measures to
protect food safety:
- Prohibiting poultry litter, cattle blood, and brain in cattle
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- Conducting a thorough investigation of the current case,
including increasing the BSE test program from the current 40,000
annual level and allowing private companies to test at their own
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