Mad Cow Disease FAQ - Food & Water Watch | Food & Water Watch
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Mad Cow Disease FAQ

What is mad cow disease or BSE?

Mostresearchers believe that Mad Cow Disease(formal name , bovinespongiform encephalopathy or BSE)is transmitted by an infectious agentcalled a prion. Prions are mis-formed proteins which concentrate innervous system tissues such as the brain,eyes,and spinal cord,although some recent research on similar diseases in other animals havefound prions in blood and muscle tissue. The disease is spread amongcattle when their feed contains infectious material from other cattle(or sheep,which get a similar disease called scrapie.)The human formof the disease is called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease(vCJD). Itcauses the brain and nervous system to waste away and get a spongyappearance.

Is there any way to cook or prepare meat so I can prevent eating meat contaminated with mad cow or BSE?

Unlikebacteria or viruses,prions cannot be killed with heat ordisinfection. So there is nothing that consumers can do at home todeal with meat contaminated with BSE.