Is U.S. beef safe from "mad cow disease"?

Is U.S. milk safe from "mad cow disease"?

Is organic or natural beef safer from "mad cow disease"?

Can humans get "mad cow disease"?

Has anyone contracted the "human form of mad cow disease" in the United States?

 

Is U.S. beef safe from "mad cow disease"?
Yes. Providing the safest beef in the world has always been the No. 1 priority of America’s beef producers. That is why the beef industry has worked with the government and top scientists for more than two decades to build, maintain and expand the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, commonly referred to as “mad cow disease”) safeguards that protect cattle health and beef safety. Actions such as removal of materials that would most likely carry BSE and banning from the food supply all animals that show signs of potential central nervous system disorders ensure beef safety from BSE in the United States.

Is U.S. milk safe from "mad cow disease"?
Yes. The U.S. food supply, including milk and beef, is safe. There is no evidence of transmission of BSE through milk, and a substantial body of scientific research shows that milk does not carry the BSE disease agent. Bovine milk is safe, both for humans and for calves.

Is organic or natural beef safer from "mad cow disease"?
The strong BSE measures in place in the United States apply to all beef produced. Preventive steps – such as the 1997 ban prohibiting from all cattle feed the ingredients that could spread BSE – ensure that every type of beef is safe regardless of whether it is organically, naturally or conventionally raised. Visit ExploreBeef.org for more information on organic, natural and conventional beef or see the Beef Choices Fact Sheet.

Can humans get "mad cow disease"?
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a rare, degenerative, fatal brain disorder that has been linked to consumption of beef products contaminated with neural tissue from BSE-infected cattle. Most cases have occurred in the United Kingdom. No cases of vCJD have been connected to beef consumed in the United States. Importantly, vCJD is a very different disease than classic CJD, often referred to simply as CJD.

Has anyone contracted the "human form of mad cow disease" in the United States?
No cases of vCJD have been connected to beef consumed in the United States. Classic CJD, or simply CJD, often is confused with vCJD because of similarities in the names for the different illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Classic CJD is not related to ‘mad cow disease.’” And, “Classic CJD also is distinct from variant CJD.”

Classic CJD is a rare human illness and about 85 percent of cases occur sporadically, appearing even though the person has no known environmental source for the disease. The annual incidence rate for CJD is approximately one case per 1 million population. In contrast, there have only been about 200 cases of vCJD in the world (most in the United Kingdom) and zero cases associated with beef consumption in the United States.

Classic CJD and vCJD are distinctly separate neurological diseases, each with unique clinical and pathological features. For example, the median age at death for vCJD patients is 28 years, compared with 68 years for patients with classic CJD. The median duration of illness for vCJD is 13-14 months, compared to 4-5 months for classic CJD.



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