Monday, January 05, 2004

mo' meat:
"At least 2,000 containers of U.S. beef and beef products are stranded in foreign ports or at sea." [LA Times]

"But even as they announced a voluntary recall by Maxim Market... health officials said they are barred under federal rules from publicly identifying six restaurants in Santa Clara County that also purchased beef products from the same source." [Merc News]

"At least 150,000 downer cattle � those who because of injury or illness cannot walk � were sold annually for human consumption for as much as a few hundred dollars apiece, extra money for cattlemen struggling with low prices." [NYT] -- plus, advanced meat recovery.

Stanley B. Prusiner, the scientist who won a Nobel Prize in 1997 for describing how prions work, did an experiment in which he took muscle from the hindquarters of mice infected with scrapie, the sheep disease. He injected muscle extract into the brains of healthy mice. They became infected.

A second study, published in November in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined tissue from people who had died of spontaneous CJD. A team of Swiss researchers found that PrP prions were detectable in the muscle tissue of one-third of them.

[Post]
As Al Krebs, an activist who edits the Ag Biz Examiner, told the Voice, "If dairy farmers were getting a fair price for what they produce, they probably wouldn't feel it necessary to squeeze every last penny out of their herd, such as sending 'downers' off to the marketplace." Dairy farmers in the Seattle-Tacoma area are getting as little as $1 per gallon for their milk when it probably costs about $1.40 to produce that gallon, says Krebs, and the farmers may have to carry a debt of anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 per cow. But, he points out, consumers in the Seattle-Tacoma area were paying, as of last July, $3.52 per gallon for whole milk, the highest prices anywhere in the nation.
[Voice]
Local coverage: Tri-City Herald

and speaking of prions:

Now a team led by Eric Kandel at Columbia University in New York has found that a prion-like protein called CPEB may help nerve cells store memories. A transient electrical signal in the brain might flip CPEB into its prion form, the researchers suggest, helping to create a permanent memory trace.
[nsu | press release (the paper is in Cell)]

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