Mad cow disease is a threat |

Mad cow disease is a threat

Remember last year’s headlines about a deadly disease with a funny name that killed scores of European beef eaters and devastated the beef industry? The “mad cow” disease. Remember how the government assured us that no cases have been reported here and none would, because the U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned beef imports from infected countries and the Food and Drug Administration has banned the feeding of potentially infect cow body parts to other cows?

Well, guess what. The Congressional General Accounting Office just published a scathing report with some very interesting (and very alarming) findings:

— One reason USDA hasn’t found any cases of mad cow disease in the U.S. is because … it hasn’t looked, at least not very well. The department tests 5,000 cows annually out of 40 million killed – that’s 1 in 10,000. (If we applied such a standard to the human population, we could declare ourselves free of all diseases.)

— Despite the alleged beef import ban, the U.S. imported 125 million pounds of beef from countries with reported cases of mad cow disease.

— Fully a hundred feed plants have consistently violated the ban on feeding cows to cows.

The human version of mad cow disease is acquired by consuming infected beef, takes up to 20 years to exhibit symptoms, and is always fatal. Consumers who continue to purchase hamburger and other beef products in light of these findings are playing Russian roulette with their families’ lives.

Gary Ulrich

Grass Valle

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