The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of Mad Cow disease in a dairy cow in Fresno, California. The dead animal tested positive for the disease and experts are now completing an investigation to ensure no other cows have been infected. Thus far, no sign of the disease has been detected in the cow feed, which is a positive sign.
Mad Cow, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE – is a fatal disintegration of the brain and nervous system. Although it’s most commonly found in cows, it can also infect humans if they ingest the meat of a cow with the disease.
One such instance occurred in the U.K. close to 30 years ago, when nearly 200 hundred people were infected with the disease after an outbreak. One extreme case left one man blind, deaf and immobile from 2001 until his death in 2011.
More than 4.4 million cows were slaughtered in the 1980s to control this outbreak after close to 180,000 cows were found to have the disease.
I will preface what I am about to say with this: I know next to nothing about genetic engineering. Let me rephrase that; I know nothing about genetic engineering. So, when I say that I think that genetically engineered food seems like a very bad idea to me, it’s just a hunch.
Messing with Mother Nature rarely seems like a good idea to me. So, when I hear the news that the Food and Drug Administration is considering the approval of the first genetically engineered animal-based food for consumption, it worries me a little.