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BSE and milk

September 15, 2001 New Scientist by Adam Quantrill
I read with interest the news that BSE is detectable in cow's urine, and Bob Jasper's subsequent letter expressing concern that pastures could be contaminated by it and pass on the disease (18 August, p 52).

Urine is not usually a good source of protein, so finding BSE in it is quite worrying. Milk, however, is replete with proteins, so it stands to reason that the prion could be found more readily in it. This prospect is worrying for those of us who abstained from eating beef but not dairy produce, especially given that the very cows that would not be eligible for consumption if slaughtered - older cows - supply the most milk, and also given the pooling that happens with the milk supply, ensuring any infectious agents get spread far and wide. Obviously, the experiment has to be done. I, for one, will be crossing my fingers.

"Note that the concern over urine in pasture has been addressed in a letter from Gino Miele of the Roslin Institute Midlothian (1 September, p 55) - Ed"


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