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Mad Cow Disease now in the U.S.


alacarte
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Yeah, I see that I'm one of the few people on eGullet who will admit to giving up beef for the time being (my parents seem set to give it up for an extended period, and perhaps for good).

For regular beef, the highest risk is with hamburger, which we now know may contain downers and brain and spinal material. For steaks and roasts, the risk is vanishingly small.

Each to their own comfort level. I'm sure you'll come back to beef when you are ready.

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I've been awake for over 14 hours under the influence of narcotics (hydrocodone cough syrup).

That explains alot. :wink:

In all seriousness, you seem to be arguing that refraining from eating beef because of BSE is an irrational fear, yet you are abstaining from eating beef. Why? Wouldn't coming down with BSE fit in to the realm of freak accident?

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It's a risk/benefit analysis. The risk is really small but horrific, but so far, I've done just fine without beef products. The likelihood, though, is that it will eventually become clear that the risk really remains extremely low at this point, and I'll start eating beef products again. I want new procedures in place though, as soon as possible. Right now, there's no way of knowing how many infected cows have gotten into the food distribution system.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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This just in:

Agriculture Department Announces New Restrictions on Beef

Seems it's not a good idea to eat cows that are already sick. :blink:

Ya know, I'm sitting here behind a desk at my day job, and I could've probably figured that one out.

By the way, I'm still eating beef. It freakin' tastes good. We tend to buy the grass-fed organic stuff anyway (and Sam, of course, grinds his own when ground is called for).

K

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For a reporter friend:

Looking for a meat-eating person who is considering becoming a vegetarian due to Mad Cow. Anybody will do, would help if this person had contacted PETA for info, but not necessary. Thanks much.

Contact Reilly Capps at cappsr@washpost.com 202 334 4686.

...

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Just checked back in and the down arrow that's supposed to get to the first unread post doesn't seem to be working. It took me to the end - and I haven't read all the posts since yesterday - in case someone's already gotten into this.

Anyhow, a customer from PA called me today to add to an order and we got to talking and talking turned at one point to mad cow. Turns out he was working in labs in the 60's and knew something about this, including a little gossip. At first "Creutzfeldt-Jacob" was known as "Jacob-Creutzfeldt", but it emeged that Creuzfeldt had done most of the work so his name came to be placed ahead of Jacob's.

But, the most interesting thing is that quite a few people had died from this disease in the '60's, it was being analyzed, and it was found that most of the people that came down with it had been into eating cattle brains and sweetbreads.

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I think I remember some folks getting it a few years ago and it was traced to eating squirrel brains. Tennessee? Kentucky?

Interesting report, Nick. For all we know, this bugger has been around a long time at a low level and only showed up when people ate enough brains to crank up the exposure level. Sort of like the prevalence of kuru in... uh... Borneo?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Kuru was discovered in the highlands of New Guinea. Cannibalism wasn't traditional in Borneo as far as I know. The Dayak/Iban in Borneo were known for headhunting, which is simply keeping the heads of enemies killed in battle.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I think I remember some folks getting it a few years ago and it was traced to eating squirrel brains. Tennessee? Kentucky?

Interesting report, Nick. For all we know, this bugger has been around a long time at a low level and only showed up when people ate enough brains to crank up the exposure level. Sort of like the prevalence of kuru in... uh... Borneo?

Wasn't there a piece somewhere--New Yorker perhaps--which investigated and completely debunked the squirrel brain disease hysteria?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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A U.S. scientist said on Tuesday a simple treatment combining high pressure with heat could neutralize the proteins that cause mad cow disease, but federal officials had shown little interest in it. 

Dr. Paul Brown of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke said his process, developed with European researchers, would inactivate the prion proteins that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy without damaging the meat. Normal cooking does not affect prions.

"For the past two years I have been looking at a method of inactivating prions in meat," Brown, a top expert on BSE (news - web sites) and related diseases, said in a telephone interview.

"It uses high pressure and it works, but to this date no one seems interested in using it."

For the rest of the story, click here.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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...

Interesting report, Nick. For all we know, this bugger has been around a long time at a low level and only showed up when people ate enough brains to crank up the exposure level. Sort of like the prevalence of kuru in... uh... Borneo?

Or only showed up when medical science, electro-microscopy and other sophisticated techniques allowed us to detect and diagnose it in both cattle and people!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I think I remember some folks getting it a few years ago and it was traced to eating squirrel brains. Tennessee? Kentucky?

Interesting report, Nick. For all we know, this bugger has been around a long time at a low level and only showed up when people ate enough brains to crank up the exposure level. Sort of like the prevalence of kuru in... uh... Borneo?

Wasn't there a piece somewhere--New Yorker perhaps--which investigated and completely debunked the squirrel brain disease hysteria?

Yeah, Pan. You are correct. It was New Guinea. I am having a bad geography day.

I only remember hearing about the squirrel brains. I didn't follow up because I am very unlikely to eat squirrel brains. :laugh: Given that the brain proteins are essentially the same in warm blooded animals, I can see that it would be possible for some mechanism to start folding the proteins funny in any animal. There was some concern about elk, according to a family acquaintance that hunts elk in Montana on a regular basis. What ever happened to that?

And... I may have asked this on the other thread... What about using neck bones for stock? Do they remove the spinal cord?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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fifi, I don't think I'd be wanting to use neckbones. Assuming there's no spinal cord left in there,what's to say that the spinal cord was cleanly removed, like John Whiting said.

The deal with the elk was brucellosis found in some game farm animals. The people who had them gave up on raising them (the elk)-they were from Texas- I think from the Castle, but don't quote me. Anyway, the ones who were clean were put up as a big open hunt, till they were all shot. Now they are back to raising cattle. Dorks!

Ok, my edit was worse than the original; the elk came from Texas

Edited by Mabelline (log)
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You know, that's weird you say that, because I was wondering about them, but then thought well, since they're not present in an adult, maybe okay. But perhaps it was actually just the Brains?

Mabelline, I'm a little on the slow side. Could you translate that for me?

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There was some concern about elk, according to a family acquaintance that hunts elk in Montana on a regular basis. What ever happened to that?

Oh shit! Another customer, this one from Montana, does a lot (I mean A LOT) of hunting and he's going to send me some elk... and buffalo and whatever. Should I worry? Probably not, because I'm 62 and, as John Whilting brought up, there's a long incubation period. :biggrin:

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I was sure that the concern with elk was BSE, or its relative. This guy is some big whoop-de-doo in some big hunting organization (my, isn't THAT informative?) and I think he said that they changed the way they finally dress them out.

Mabelline, I remember the brucellosis hoo-ha and this isn't that.

OK... It is probably prudent to ditch the neck bones for stock. Now what do we use that is affordable? And... What about oxtail? Does the spinal cord extend into the tail?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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