US safeguards vastly cut BSE risk to people -study

US safeguards vastly cut BSE risk to people -study

Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health

Reuters Health Information

By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government virtually eliminated the threat of mad cow disease to consumers by requiring the removal of brains, spinal cords and other high risk items from older cattle, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis said on Tuesday.

Two consumer groups applauded the progress but said the Agriculture Department was unwilling to take the more stringent steps suggested by an international advisory panel, such as banning high-risk materials from cattle 12 months or older from food and feed use.

Mad cow disease is a fatal, brain-wasting disease believed to be spread by contaminated feed. People can contract a human version of the disease by eating tainted meats. With only three cases of mad cow found in the country, USDA says the risk of mad cow is very low.

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