How 6 months ago
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How to Avoid Mad Cow Disease

Avoid feeding your cattle feed made from the central nervous tissue of other cattle, sheep, and deer—often called ruminant. Whenever possible avoid food made in rendering plants, which often process both ruminant and non-ruminant parts.



Feed your cattle non-ruminant feed.

Avoid feeding your cattle feed made from the central nervous tissue of other cattle, sheep, and deer—often called ruminant. Whenever possible avoid food made in rendering plants, which often process both ruminant and non-ruminant parts.



Keep ruminant parts and meat separate when butchering your cattle.

Use separate equipment to process and break down nervous tissue and muscle during butchering. Label any meat for consumption after slaughter and keep it completely separate from any nervous tissue you discard.



Contact the USDA with any questions about slaughtering your cattle.

Call the USDA information hotline at (202) 720-2791 if you are unsure about how to discard nervous tissue properly or butchering best practices. They also have a searchable database of agricultural information online.



Look for symptoms of BSE in your cattle.

Keep an eye on your cattle and call your veterinarian if you notice an abrupt change in temperament, a lack of coordination, decreased milk production, or a loss of muscle tone despite normal eating habits. The condition of a cow affected by BSE will typically deteriorate rapidly over a period of weeks to months once these symptoms surface.



Get any animals of concern tested by a veterinarian after death.

Talk to your veterinarian about BSE testing if you have fears that your cow was infected. The only test available requires a sample of brain tissue to test for the disease and can therefore only be conducted in deceased animals.



Put the low risk in perspective.

Understand that the risk of your cattle contracting BSE is very low. As of 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE. This low figure is due to increased worldwide safety measures regarding feed and slaughter practices.



Avoid eating the central-nervous-system tissue of cows.

Focus your beef consumption on normal muscle meat rather than organ meats, such as offal. In particular, avoid eating parts of the central nervous system, such as the brain, spinal cord, retinas, and tonsils.



Minimize or avoid beef consumption.

Cut back on your consumption of beef if you find yourself very worried about vCJD. Know that you are much more likely to get vCJD through a random (and rare) genetic mutation than you are from eating contaminated beef.



Look for symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Consult your doctor if you notice troubling personality changes, anxiety, temporary blindness, difficulty speaking, or jerky movements. These symptoms can be caused by many more common ailments that should be considered before vCJD.



Consult a mental health professional if you can’t shake your fears.

Talk to a therapist or mental health professional if you find yourself consumed with anxiety about contracting vCJD from eating contaminated beef. The practical risks are exceptionally low, and a professional can create strategies for you to manage your fears.

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