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Don't Ask Officials About New "Mad Cow" and Chronic Wasting Disease Cases

By       Message Martha Rosenberg       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Don't worry, eat your hamburger. That's what the CDC is saying as another "mad cow" was found in Alabama in July. The cow suffered from an "atypical" version of Mad Cow (BSE) says the CDC which occurs spontaneously and can not harm humans. Sounds good until you read that the atypical assertion is merely a CDC "theory" and the agency admits"transmission through feed or the environment cannot be ruled out."

There is a reason government officials are quick to defend the safety of the U.S. beef supply. Within hours of the first mad cow discovered in the U.S. in 2003, China, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea and ninety other countries banned U.S. beef. Ninety-eight percent of the $3 billion overseas beef market vanished. It has taken 14 years for the U.S. to re-establish its beef exports and o ther beef exporting countries have had similar woes. If an atypical version of BSE that threatened no one didn't exist, governments might want to invent one. In fact the research behind the atypical theory is primarily floated by government ag departments.


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In addition to losing exports, before "atypical" BSE was described, beef producers were forced to quarantine their ranches, search for tainted food sources and detain herdmates and offspring in a BSE outbreak. They lost huge amounts of money. The debut of "atypical" BSE means they can just say "these things happen" and keep doing business.

Mainstream media sources are cooperatively repeating the government statement that "the Alabama cow was not slaughtered, never entered the food supply and presents no risk to human health in the United States or anywhere else." But food reporters who have covered BSE since 2003 remember the that same thing was said about the first U.S. BSE cow until both the San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Times reported otherwise.

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"In an interview, Alameda County health officer Dr. Anthony Iton recalled that in early January 2004 almost a month after the initial discovery [of a BSE cow], state health officials informed him that five restaurants in the Oakland area had received soup bones from the lot of tainted beef," reported the Times. "It immediately dispatched inspectors to the restaurants. But it was too late; soup made from the bones had been eaten. He was particularly disturbed to learn that none of the restaurant owners had received written notice of the recall and that federal inspectors did not visit them until 10 days after the recall."

And there was more government BSE bumbling. A cow, born and bred in Texas, found less than a year after the first one (born in Canada) was suspected of having BSE but ruled "negative" by government testers for seven months. Phyllis Fong, the inspector general at the time, ordered the more precise "Western blot" over the head of then Ag Secretary Mike Johanns and the cow was diagnosed with BSE.

After the Texas BSE cow, a BSE cow born and bred in Alabama was found. Extensive government investigations were conducted on both to find the source of the deadly disease and there was no mention of the current "atypical" BSE. Disturbingly, the government protected the identities of the ranches that produced the BSE cows from food consumers. It literally placed the interests of meat producers above the endangered public.

Government Prion Research Is Not to Be Trusted

BSE is transmitted by prions, invisible infectious particles that are not viruses or bacteria, but proteins. Though prions are not technically "alive" because they lack a nucleus, they are almost impossible to "kill" because they are not inactivated by cooking, heat, ammonia, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, alcohol, phenol, lye, formaldehyde or radiation. Yet government research into prion diseases--which include Chronic Wasting Disease found in deer and elk--is extremely inept.

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In 2006, BSE research had to be delayed at the National Animal Disease Laboratory in Ames, Iowa because lab workers there accused the facility of failing to properly treat infectious wastes before they were sent to the city's treatment plant which empties into the Skunk River. [1] The lab, in charge of confirming BSE cases, was also charged with keeping rather than incinerating dead animals for months in containers. [2]

Nor do government protocols for human victims inspire confidence. When neurologist Ron Bailey's patient Patrick Hicks apparently came down with the human form of Mad Cow disease caused by eating infected meat, variant Creutzfeldt--Jakob Disease (vCJD), he was told by the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center the tissue samples he had sent for confirmation could not be tested because they were obtained from1-800-Autopsy and not kept properly. Creutzfeldt--Jakob Disease can exist in forms not caused from eating meat including one that "just happens" also called "atypical."

When a possible vCJD case occurred in Amarillo in 2008 threatening beef markets, the Amarillo office of Texas AgriLife Extension reassured the public that the woman's case was not caused from eating beef before tests on the woman had been conducted and a conclusion drawn. Since then, other prematurely-dismissed cases have occurred as have CJD clusters which seldom can be random and usually suggest a food source.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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