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Mad Cow Disease

February 14, 2001 | JEREMY SMITH, REUTERS
The Brazilian beef industry and port workers are boycotting Canadian imports in a deepening dispute over Ottawa's decision to ban Brazilian beef on concerns about "mad cow" disease, cattle ranchers said Tuesday. The Brazilian Rural Society, representing hundreds of thousands of small farmers including 70,000 cattle ranchers, said it was suspending imports of potassium chloride, used in fertilizers and one of Canada's chief exports to Brazil.
May 22, 2003 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
"Mad cow" disease is one of a small family of diseases that are like no others. The vast majority of infectious illnesses are caused by a virus or bacteria -- living organisms, or in the case of viruses, quasi-living organisms -- with their own genetic blueprint that allows them to invade the body and reproduce. Mad cow disease apparently is not.
July 20, 2000 | From Times Wire Services
Disgruntled Vermont farmers went to court Wednesday in an attempt to prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture from destroying their sheep because they may carry an ailment similar to "mad cow" disease in cattle. The USDA, which has been closely monitoring all American livestock since the 1996 outbreak of mad cow disease in Europe, wants to destroy sheep on three Vermont farms as a precaution.
February 10, 2004 | From Associated Press
The Agriculture Department is ending its search for additional cases of mad cow disease even though officials have not found several animals suspected of having eaten the potentially infectious feed believed to have caused the only known U.S. case. "Our investigation is now complete," W. Ron DeHaven, the department's chief veterinarian, said Monday. "We feel very confident the remaining animals, the ones we have not been able to positively identify, represent little risk."
Health and agriculture officials disclosed Friday that selective testing of beef cattle for so-called mad cow disease has turned up two infected animals from Germany, shocking this nation of food purists into action to demand an immediate ban on cattle feed containing animal parts and mandatory testing of older cows before slaughter.
February 25, 2004 | Frank Ackerman and Lisa Heinzerling, Frank Ackerman, an economist at Tufts University, and Lisa Heinzerling, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, are the authors of "Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing" (The New Press, 2004).
The recent outbreak of mad cow disease led to immediate, soothing reassurances from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, resting on what sounded like hard, scientific facts. Don't worry, the official story went, we have a rigorous inspection program designed to ensure with 95% certainty that fewer than one in a million cattle have the disease. Doing more than that would be unnecessarily expensive because we are already, it seems, safe enough.
March 15, 2001 | From Times Wire Services
McDonald's Corp. said Wednesday that its first-quarter earnings will decline more than forecast because European consumers afraid of "mad-cow" disease are shunning its hamburgers. The fast-food giant, which gets more than a third of its sales from Europe, said profit probably will fall to 29 cents to 30 cents a share from 33 cents a year ago. Analysts were expecting 32 cents, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. Sales in January and February were unchanged from a year earlier at $6.
January 1, 2004 | Johanna Neuman and Evelyn Iritani, Times Staff Writer
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials on Wednesday continued to defend their campaign against the spread of "mad cow" disease -- even as some meat producers worried that newly imposed safety measures did not go far enough to appease foreign buyers. "I think the export market will dictate to us to do more," said Ken Conway, who heads GeneNet, an alliance of beef producers. "We're going to have to make some compromises to make them happy."
Amid fears of a nationwide outbreak of "mad cow" disease, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced Tuesday that feeding bone meal to cattle is now against the law. The decision followed the revelation late last week that a Japanese meat-processing plant had ground up the carcass of the first cow in the country suspected of having the bovine disease and begun selling it as fertilizer and feed for chicken and pigs.
"Mad cow disease" has killed 10,000 cattle, restricted the export market for Britain's cattle industry and raised fears about the safety of eating beef. The government insists that the disease poses only a remote risk to human health, but scientists still aren't certain what causes the disease or how it is transmitted. "I think everyone agrees that the risks are low," says Martin Raff, a neurobiologist at University College, London. "But they certainly are not zero.
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