Friday, May 2, 2008

Don't Eat Cow Tonsils!

This story is a bit dated, but irresistible nonetheless. If you click the link to the story (above) check out the home page of the parent site: Health -it's a keeper! Lots of fascinating news about dirty restaurants, salmonella outbreaks, disgusting food preparation practices. A real side-slapper!

Frozen Cow Heads Recalled For Risk Of Mad Cow Disease
A Kansas company is recalling 400,000 pounds of frozen cattle heads because the tonsils were not removed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the recall saying that federal guidelines require the tonsils to be removed because of mad cow disease. If a cow is infected with the disease, tonsil tissue would contain the infection. So the government does not allow a cow's tonsils to be used as human food.


Tags said...

Is that why we never seem to hear from the Cowsills anymore?

melkorka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulla said...

There has never been a case of Mad Cow disease in the USA. I did not know that is was the tonsils--i thought it was in the brain and nervous system. I know they serve brain sandwiches in Indiana. I have never had beef brain, but bone marrow is one of my favorite things in the world. Espicailly lamb marrow. GOODNESS, i say it is worth risk. The thing is that if you go to a dairy farm, a lot of older milk cows get the shakes at the end of their life. Is it mad cow? No, but those cows are put into our food supply--so eating bone marrow from cows might not be that safe. But with this all said, we life longer happier lives then we did only 70 years ago.

JunkyPOS said...

..."Espicailly lamb marrow. GOODNESS, i say it is worth risk."

...why is it I hear a sucking sound???

Linda said...

I beg to differ on no Mad Cow Disease in the US. Check out the following links (and there are more):

At least nine cases have occurred in southern Idaho, deep in the heart of Idaho cow country.

Ulla said...

I thought they were cows that were born in Canada. I will look at the links, thanks:)

Ulla said...

First I want to say I love this blog and am so excited people like to debate these issues.

I went to those links, and I do not totally believe them. I am a news nerd and do not recall seeing this in the news. Do you have another source? From what I understand the ONLY cases of mad cow disease(in the US) was from cows that had been born in Canada and had eaten feed that included animal matter when they were young. Thankfully here in the states we do feed that to our cows to the extent they do in Europe and Canada. Cows get the disease from eating infected brain matter in their feed. We rarely feed that to our cows, we have so much soybeans, grass and corn. I am not big into conspiracy theories either, maybe I am too trusting but I feel like the mad cow scare is somewhat hysterical and am wary of it. PETA people exploit it etc.

sfchin said...

There have actually been 3 cases of mad cow in the US:

The first was a cow that came from Canada, the second was a cow from Texas, and the third was a cow in Alabama that they couldn't trace to a farm of origin (I think most people would assume it was a US cow).

Mad cow does primarily reside in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It is also carried in the distal ileum (part of the small intestine), which sort of leads me to believe that it can be found anywhere that has nerves (muscles and organs).

The scary thing is that the US government is basically not even trying to look for mad cow anymore. They test 0.1% of the cows they slaughter. Compare that to, say, Japan where they test every single cow. That's probably overkill, since most of those cows are probably too young to test positive even if they have it (18-24 months). Still, 0.1% makes you wonder whether the USDA is finding anywhere near the true number of cases in the US.

I actually stopped eating beef for a while because of all this mad cow craziness. But, despite the fact that the USDA has done nothing to allay my suspicions that they aren't even trying to find it, I decided that I like beef more than my own life. I'm sure I will be eating a hamburger as I die my spongy-brained death.

ntsc said...

3 cases ever in a population of 300,000,000+. I think you have a bigger chance of being hit by lightning twice.

I understand, but can't document, that the USDA will not allow full testing even if the producer is willing to do it.

Eat4Fun said...

When cow's have their tonsils taken out, do they eat ice cream?

Seriously, I've read online (source I don't remember) that there is a concern with mad cow and pork products too.

Is that true or some sort of PETA misinformation?


Bob del Grosso said...

If humans can contract it I suppose pigs ought to be able to contact "mad cow" but I don't know of any cases of it.

I think this might be a quarion for sfchin.

Any part of the newrvous system can harbor the prions responsible for mad cow. I suppose that the tonsil as part of the lympatic system where infections are battled is suspect too.

sfchin said...

I have never heard of a pig getting mad cow (or any transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, for that matter). Part of the problem is that the inciting cause of these diseases (prions) is not well understood.

There are several known prion-associated TSEs in mammals, including cows, dogs, sheep/goats, elk/deer, and several in people. I'm sure that in theory there could be one in pigs as well.

I think the more reasonable (though still remote) concern is if dead cows (with BSE) are fed to pigs, and then those pigs are fed back to cows, can those cows get BSE?

One thing is for sure -- if the cows eat grass like they're supposed to instead of dead animals, they won't get mad cow disease.

Linda said...

Mad Cow Disease, as officially reported by the US government, does not mean it doesn't exist and that isn't a conspiracy theory. It is a known fact that BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) comes from eating the remains of other animals, brains in particular. It is very similar neurologically to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and its variants, in humans.

One of the most well-known, and, for a long time mysterious examples of a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob related diseases, kuru, occurred with the Fore people of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Also called laughing disease because of the neurologically damaging effects, the symptoms resemble in a number of ways Mad Cow disease.

Amongst the Fore, the only members to get the disease were women and children. The Fore were, at one time, cannibals, who ate the remains of their dead members. It turns out, that in this particular culture, the only members of the group who ate the brains of dead people were women, who also gave it to their children. This group only contracted and died from kuru.

Although disputed by people with no anthropological background who never even visited the Eastern Highlands nor the Fore nor even spoke the language, kuru was "cured" when the Fore learned not to eat the brains fo dead humans.

The medical condition is very similar neurologically to BSE as well as to scrapies (in sheep). It is a fact that in the US we seem to think there is nothing wrong with feeding our factory farm cattle dead or sickened animal remains. From the WHO to Worldwatch to "The Omnivore's Dilemma" to the EWG to "Fast Food Nation", we can read of the dire conditions of our factory farms.

I love a good steak and lamb marrow and all things pork, but, like Bob, who now works at Hendricks Farm and has access to organically farmed animals, I only eat what my neighbors raise. And I consider myself very lucky to have that option.