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Tuesday 23rd June 2009
A Fishy Mad Cow Disease Scare

American neurologist Dr Robert P. Friedland has sparked fresh concerns today for the nations food supplies after he suggested a link between farm raised fish and Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD). He made the claims in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, and attributes the link to fish that are fed pellets containing bovine products. This is a practice currently in wide use throughout the world.

The concern is that if the pellets contain by-products from cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) it may trigger a change in the fish and allow the disease to be spread between the two species.

CJD is currently untreatable and is always fatal. It is contracted by eating parts of an animal infected with BSE. The incubation period for the disease can run to decades.

There have been no cases whereby humans became infected from eating fish to date, but Dr Friedland and his co-authors are urging a review or fish farming operations and are calling for a ban on feeding fish bovine by-products until the safety of this practice can be confirmed.

"We have not proven that it's possible for fish to transmit the disease to humans," says Friedland. "Still, we believe that out of reasonable caution for public health, the practice of feeding rendered cows to fish should be prohibited. Fish do very well in the seas without eating cows," said Dr Friedland.

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