Remember mad cow disease? It's that infection cattle can get that basically eats holes in their brains. And there's a horrible human version (Creutzfeldt-Jako). And if you eat infected beef, you can get the infection. Oh yes, and it's fatal and there's no cure. We've had four cases in the U.S. since 2003.
Welp, mad cow is back! An infected cow was found in Central California yesterday. What does this mean for our beef? Is it safe? Should we be worried?
The good news is that it was a dairy cow, so there's no contaminated meat out there. The cow's meat never entered the food chain and you can't get infected from drinking the milk. Phew! The USDA "remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products."
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Bottom line: Your meat is safe.
Here's the weird part, though. This was a rare spontaneous infection -- the cow didn't catch it from eating an infected cow. Oh, you didn't know cows were cannibals? They're not, naturally. But for a while there cows were fed beef byproducts to help fatten them up. Supposedly we're not doing that anymore. Oh wait, no we still do that, we just make sure none of the brain or spinal cord gets in there.
So I'm thrilled for yet another reminder that we're still forcing cows to live as cannibals. I'm sure it's "perfectly safe" just like pink slime, but ew. (One more reason to choose organic, just sayin'.)
Also, this spontaneous case means ... ZOMG, this thing can just "happen!" But hey, only four cases in the past nine years is almost zero. Right? Heheh, yeah, it's fine. It's all perfectly fine.
Do you think our meat and dairy are generally pretty safe most of the time?
Image via JelleS/Flickr