Tuesday, February 17


Scientists in Italy have discovered a new form of Mad Cow disease which could explain a lot of current irregularities, and spell Big Trouble for the head-in-the-sand crowd.

    The brains of cattle with the new variation look different from cows with the classic form of mad cow disease, called bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the researchers said. They look much more like the brains of people with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or CJD -- not the kind that people catch from eating infected beef, but the kind that arises mysteriously in about one in a million people worldwide. More worrying, although the cattle were old, they had no visible symptoms of BSE and were only diagnosed after routine slaughter.
OK, so already here, we're talking about the fact that there may well be Mad Cow in our food supply that wouldn't even be detected if we were testing all animals and could count on the testing lab. But note this, from the UPI version: "The new finding increases the possibility some cases of sporadic CJD also could be due to mad cow-infected meat, said Salvatore Monaco, a co-author of the study." Jeez, don't tell this woman! UPI (i.e. Steve Mitchell) dutifully reports, along with everyone else, Paul Brown's breezy dismissal of the possbility that people are getting sporadic CJD from Mad Cow meat, but then hits back with CU's Michael Hansen: "Hansen disputed the assessment and pointed out there actually have been increases in sporadic CJD in both the United Kingdom and Switzerland in recent years." Mitchell is, of course, also the only reporter I've found who matches up this bombshell to the CJD clusters in the US.
ALSO: The AP version of the story concludes with this little gem: "An investigation seeking other cattle from the same herd ended last week with Agriculture officials saying they had located all but 11 suspect animals and concluding the rest could not be found." All but 11, huh? Nice that we've reclassified that other 41 after the fact. We were looking for them, but since we didn't find them, turns out we weren't really looking for them after all!

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