Wednesday, April 7


"Scientists have detected the first signs that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) may have crossed into sheep in a study that is likely to rekindle anxieties over the safety of lamb and mutton. One of three tests used to determine whether sheep that had seemingly died from scrapie were in fact infected with BSE (also known as "mad cow" disease) has produced positive results," reports the Independent. Oh no! But wait: "Scientific experts who carried out the tests have nevertheless concluded that the case "could not be considered to be" BSE, although they have not ruled out the possibility that this is the first case of BSE disease in sheep. 'Some characteristics [of the test] were similar to experimental BSE in sheep and also to [an] experimental strain of sheep scrapie.'" Phew! But wait: "Experiments suggest that BSE could be easily transmitted to sheep, and it could, like scrapie, be passed down the generations. This would mean that BSE could still be infecting the national flock today, more than a decade after meat and bonemeal was banned."

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