The first suspected case of mad cow disease in the U.S. was detected in Washington state on Tuesday, but officials assured Americans that their food is safe to consume.“Safe to consume”? Yeah, right. I’ve heard that before somewhere in relation to BSE. Now, where was it?
Ah yes, England 1996. The British government had just spent ten years denying that BSE in UK cattle presented a health hazard to consumers, when the commission it set up to look into the matter reported that BSE in cattle was most likely responsible for the rise in UK deaths from new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
As the BBC reported in 1998, successive agriculture ministers embarrassed themselves trying to reassure consumers that British beef was safe. Since 1995, there have been 137 deaths in the UK attributed to new variant CJD.
How safe is that?