Search OCA
Get Local!
Study: Gelatin Process Cuts Mad Cow Infectiousness

Study: Gelatin Process Cuts Mad Cow Infectiousness

June 29, 2001 Reuters by Lisa Richwine
BETHESDA, Md. (Reuters) - The typical process for making cattle-derived gelatin significantly reduces the infectivity of agents that cause mad cow and similar diseases, early findings from a U.S. study released on Friday show.

Adding other steps could further minimize any chances that gelatin, if made from infected animals, might transmit the deadly illness, said Robert Rohwer, director of molecular neurovirology at a Veterans' Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore.

Rohwer presented his preliminary results to a panel that advises the U.S. government on how to keep mad cow and its human variation out of the country.

Now, regulators permit bovine gelatin in some food and pharmaceuticals as long as producers avoid using cattle from risky areas and take other safeguards. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) officials said they would consider whether to update the policy after Rohwer completes his studies later this year or next year.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has been found in many European countries but not in the United States. About 100 people have died from a human form that experts believe came from eating infected European meat.

Most gelatin that enters the United States from Europe is used to make capsules for pharmaceuticals, according to the Gelatin Manufacturers of Europe, which represents 11 companies. The group said all bovine gelatin from its firms made for the United States comes from cattle outside of Europe and is safe.

Gelatin can be made from cow bones or hides. Rohwer said early tests in animals showed the multi-step process used by most European makers ``inactivated a significant amount of infectivity'' in gelatin made from infected material.

Adding other steps, such as treating the bones with sodium hydroxide, reduced infections even further, he said.

Dr. Michael Schoentjes, vice president for the Gelatin Makers of Europe, said companies would consider incorporating that step into their manufacturing processes.


Home | News | Organics | GE Food | Health | Environment | Food Safety | Fair Trade | Peace | Farm Issues | Politics
Forum | Español | Campaigns | Buying Guide | Press | Search | Volunteer | Donate | About Us | Contact Us | Email This Page

Organic Consumers Association - 6771 South Silver Hill Drive, Finland MN 55603
E-mail: Staff · Activist or Media Inquiries: 218-226-4164 · Fax: 218-353-7652
Please support our work. Send a tax-deductible donation to the OCA

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.
Please Support Our Sponsors!

Organic Valley

Organic
Valley

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

Dr. Bronner's
Magic Soaps

Botani Organic

Botani
Organic

Aloha Bay

Aloha Bay

Eden Organics

Eden Foods

Frey Vineyards

Frey
Vineyards

Intelligent Nutrients

Intelligent
Nutrients