[Letters] American beef is clearly safe for consumption

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[Letters] American beef is clearly safe for consumption

In response to your April 26 editorial “Prudent approach to mad cow,” I am shocked at the level of misunderstanding exhibited by the author. The case of mad cow disease that recently appeared in California was atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). This is a rare genetic abnormality that can occur spontaneously in cattle anywhere in the world - even in Korea. It has no connection whatsoever to the mad cow epidemic of years past that resulted from feeding beef protein to cattle. Atypical BSE is a natural disease that cannot be predicted or prevented. Further, the infected cow was at a dairy farm and was over 30 months old. This cow was never destined for consumption, and as such, there was never a “threat” to the Korean food supply.

At this moment it is key to recall that the mad cow scare in Korea in 2008 was not scientifically merited, but rather it began due to proven lies broadcast on MBC’s “PD Notebook” that were perpetuated throughout the Korean media. There were only three cows previously identified with mad cow disease in America, contrasted to more than 180,000 in the U.K. Of the three sick cows in America, one came from Canada and another is believed to have had the atypical strain, leaving just one confirmed case of BSE. As for deaths in America due to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the illness caused in humans connected to BSE, there have been only three. Two of the people were U.K. citizens and were believed to have been infected by beef from their homeland and the third was likely infected before coming to the U.S. This means that not one American citizen has ever died from eating American beef.

Given the evidence, American beef is clearly safe for consumption.

by Max Watson, assistant professor at Dongguk University
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