The following excerpt is from Janeal Yancey’s blog, “Mom at the Meat Counter.” Yancey is a program technician and meat scientist at the University of Arkansas. She’s also a mom. Click here to visit her blog. As you may already know, a dairy cow in California was diagnosed with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as Mad Cow Disease. The 10-year-old cow died at an undisclosed dairy farm, and the disease was found when her body was sent to a rendering facility. Why am I not worried about this? First, the cow was not destined for our food supply. She was at a rendering facility. These are companies that dispose of dead animals and produce inedible products. There is a testing system set in place by the USDA to test the bodies of a certain number of the cows for BSE before they go through their process.

What about the milk she produced?
BSE is not transmitted through milk.

I heard on the radio last week that her offspring are going to be euthanized to keep them out of the food supply too.

What about the rest of the beef supply?
BSE is not transmitted through meat either. However, BSE is found in the nervous system. The USDA has very stringent rules in place to keep BSE out of our food supply.


What are those safeguards?
The molecule that causes BSE is only found in a few places in the body, including the nervous system, small intestine and tonsils. The small intestines and tonsils of all beef cattle are no longer used in the food supply. Also BSE is much, much more prevalent in older animals. The USDA requires that beef processors look at the teeth of every animal slaughtered to determine how old they are. If they are older than 30 months, then the spinal cord, brain, eyes and any parts that may contain nervous tissue are also removed from the food supply. They refer to those parts as Specified Risk Materials. PD

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