I know what I won’t be serving at my dinner table

Dear Editor:

The US Department of Agriculture assures us that “Mad Cow” disease, or BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) never has and never will happen here. But isn’t this exactly what the British government was telling its citizens between 1985 and 1996, when it had to acknowledge BSE’s link with the deadly human dementia known as CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease)? And didn’t the French, German and other west European governments suffer similar embarrassment beginning last fall?

USDA assures us that no cases of BSE or CJD have been recorded here. But the only way we could record such cases is by examining the brain tissues of thousands of people who die each year of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia with CJD-like symptoms.

USDA assures us that BSE won’t happen here because we have banned imports of British beef and beef products in 1989 and all European beef and beef products in 1997.And, because a couple of months ago, the Food and Drug Administration finally banned the use of animal body parts in cattle feed. But the FDA admits that hundreds of feed manufacturers violate the ban.

Yes, it’s getting harder to trust the judgment of USDA officials and to tell fact from fiction. But, I do know what my family won’t be eating.

Alison Gottlieb


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group