Mad Cow Disease: Know the Basics. Here's what you need to know about mad cow disease
What is mad cow disease? continued...
Is it possible to get vCJD from eating food purchased in the
It is extremely unlikely that this would happen. To prevent mad cow disease
from entering the country, since 1989 the federal government has prohibited the
importation of certain types of live animals from countries where mad cow
disease is known to exist. This ban includes meat products used in human,
animal, and pet foods.
Can you get vCJD from drinking milk from an infected cow?
Milk and milk products are not believed to pose any risk for transmitting
mad cow disease to humans. Experiments have shown that milk from mad
cow-infected cows has not caused infections.
What about other products produced from cow by-products?
The FDA stops the importation of cosmetic and dietary
supplement ingredients containing bovine materials from animals originating in
the 33 countries where mad cow disease has been found or from animals at risk
of being infected.
What is the current risk to American consumers
traveling to foreign countries?
According to the CDC, the current risk of acquiring vCJD
from any specific country appears to be extremely small. But that cannot be
precisely determined because cattle products from one country might be
distributed and consumed in others.
How long have health officials been concerned about
mad cow disease?
Mad cow disease has been of great concern since 1986,
when it was first reported among cattle in the U.K. At its peak in January
1993, almost 1,000 new cases per week were identified.
What other countries have reported cases of mad cow
The disease also has been confirmed in native-born
cattle in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Italy, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern
Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.
Canada has also been added to the list of countries from
which imports are restricted, although that ban has been lifted recently.
Importation of minimal-risk meat products is now allowed from