McD’s Wants Government to Tighten Up BSE Safeguards
By George Anderson
A group that includes McDonald’s is calling on the government to do more to protect animals and people from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.
According to the group, made up of seven scientists, McDonald’s and a pharmaceutical supplier, Serologicals Corp., new safeguards put into place by the government two months ago fall “woefully short” in keeping potentially infected animal feed away from cattle.
Saying it was not possible to “overstate the dangers from the insidious threat from these diseases,” McDonald’s company vice president Dick Crawford has asked the government to “take further action to reduce this risk.”
According to Reuters, the biggest concern of those critical of the government’s policy “is that tissue from dead animals would be allowed in the feed chain if brains and spinal cords have been removed.”
While brains and spinal cords are known to carry mad-cow disease, cattle found to be infected with BSE have had the disease spread to other tissues as well, say those seeking even stronger controls.
The American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation does not share McDonald’s concerns and is supportive of the new FDA rules.
“To take out the most potentially infected material, and that would be brains and spinal cords, that removes about 90% of the potential infectivity that is in an animal – if it’s infected,” said Jim Hodges, AMI Foundation president.
Moderator’s Comment: Do the FDA’s rules for safeguarding the meat supply from possible BSE infection go far enough? Do stories such as this and those
talking about the potential risks of the Avian flu, etc. undermine consumers’ confidence in the safety of the food supply? –
George Anderson – Moderator