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BSE – Mad Cow Disease
Relieving Concerns about the “Mad Cow Disease”
By Richard H. Bennett, Ph.D.
Expert in Infectious Disease MicrobiologyAll 4Life Transfer Factor products are obtained from licensed Grade A dairies that are registered with and monitored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Most importantly, science has demonstrated that mad cow disease is not transferred through milk or milk products. Dr. William Hennen, Chief Scientific Officer of 4Life Research states, “We take great care to provide products that are safe and beneficial to our friends, customers and families. BSE or mad cow disease has been known for more than ten years and we have evaluated all potential risk factors thoroughly. There is no scientific evidence that milk or colostrum pose any risk for BSE transmission.”
Over the last year, medical professionals and customers alike have raised questions about the safety of Transfer Factor™ products. Many of the questions are about TSE’s. This concern arises from the events that have taken place in England over the last 14 years.
In 1986 over 160,000 cases of bovine neurological disease were confirmed in sick cattle. The disease is called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE. The common linkage of this disease outbreak was the practice of feeding rendered animal waste products back to beef cattle. The infective agent is likely a Prion or a viral-like particle. The agents that cause TSE’s have not been fully identified. Just the same the BSE agents withstand heat processing of normal cooking and pasteurization. Once ingested they have the ability to infect cells, especially neurological tissues, and reproduce themselves.
The BSE agent is highly species specific as it infects the bovine almost exclusively. The concern about BSE and human health arose from a statistical linkage that suggested that a variant of the BSE agent was able to cause the human equivalent of BSE called Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or CJD. CJD has a genetic predisposition component and occurs worldwide at a rate of 1 per million persons. CJD has been linked to the use of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) use and transplantation of neurological tissue.
In England a variant form of CJD was identified in 14 patients as of 1996. In contrast to typical CJD, this variant affected young patients. Rigorous scientific review concluded that no definite link between BSE and the CDJ variant could be established. Circumstantial evidence suggested that consumption of meat containing the BSE agent was the likely cause. Thousands of English and European consumers were likely exposed, yet only 14 human cases have been confirmed. Milk and dairy products did not appear to be a linkage to the disease and are considered safe by UK authorities.
There are TSE’s in other animals in the US, including cats, mink, deer, elk, sheep and goats. There is no evidence of horizontal transmission to humans from these species.
In August of 1997 the FDA instituted regulations that prohibit the refeeding of most animal proteins to cattle and other ruminants. Feeding animal protein to milk cows has never been recommended and has not been the practice of the dairy producer.
In summary, we should have great confidence that all colostrum and bovine sources of thymus protein are not contaminated with the BSE agent. The programs and regulations currently in place will work effectively to ensure product safety for 4Life™ products derived from animal sources.
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