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Mad Cow Disease is Back — Should You Hold the Beef?

A new case of Mad Cow is discovered in the United States

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Just when you thought it was safe to order up a big juicy burger and settle in to watch the NFL draft, officials released the news Tuesday that a new round of mad cow disease has been discovered in California. Mad cow disease—aka bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)—manifests itself in the brains of people who eat meat tainted with it (it would also be deadly to the cow, if he hadn't already become ground chuck). This particular cow was infected with an atypical case of BSE, authorities say, which meant that the disease arose from a random mutation of cells in the animal, and wasn't caused by tainted cattle feed. After the first mad cow was discovered, additional testing began and as of Wednesday, a total of four cases of BSE were found in the US. Countries like Indonesia are already cutting off any imports of beef until the issue is under control. Does that mean you too need to hold off on ordering red meat? It's probably too early to say. While Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack insisted to Reuters, "I am confident of the safety of American beef," you may want to order up a plate of hot wings tonight instead.

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