Originally Posted by mugsy27
someone please correct me if im wrong...but i was told that you cannot get mad cow disease by eating steaks..just ground beef?!? please o please tell me this is correct. i can live without burgers, but no merciful god would ever take away my rib-eyes!!!
Well, the truth is no-one really knows for certain - it can take 20 years for symptoms of the disease to show in humans and so we can't link it to victims eating a certain cut of beef. The disease is caused by a 'prion' which is a weird infectious agent that is composed only of protein, and of which we know very little about. Prions are highly resistant to heat, radiation and disinfectants and there is no treatment for the disease at present. To give an example of how difficult these things are to kill, laboratories have to autoclave them in a highly concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide - so normal cooking techniques (even pressure cooking) will have no effect on them.
Even if you gave up eating beef now, you could have been infected many years ago and still not be showing any symptoms....and no-one seems to be concerned about eating lamb, which is known to be the transmission agent for the disease in cows (cows are fed foodstuffs containing sheep brain etc., and 'scrapie' in sheep is caused by the same prion as mad cow disease in cows and Creutzfeld Jacob disease in humans).
The good news is that it is very, very rare, less than 1 in a million chance of contracting the disease from eating contaminated meat.
At the moment, Microbiologists are really just making 'most likely' hypotheses about what meat might be unsafe to eat.