Restaurant owner not concerned about disease

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

The outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in Washington has not sent local restaurant owners into a frenzy.

A disease that was first diagnosis in 1986 and has since devastated the beef industries of some of the most important countries in the world such as England, Canada, and Germany has finally come to America. On December 23, the United States of America confirmed its first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, BSE or Mad Cow Disease in the state of Washington. A mutated protein or a prion that attacks the cow’s brain by eating holes in it causes Mad Cow Disease.

Norbert Perret, owner of La Fiesta and Ellis V restaurants in Demopolis is well aware of the Washington case, but doesn’t think it will affect his business.

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The USDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture sent the meat to be tested at the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory on December 22 and the result came back positive for BSE. More importantly, BSE has been linked to the human disease CJD, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that has killed over 30 people worldwide and infected another 153 people.

What does this finding mean for the Alabama beef industry? What does this finding mean for the people of Alabama? Also, What does this mean for the beef that is consumed in the local restaurants of Demopolis?

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks talked about the presumptive positive case of BSE in America and said "First of all the public should not panic."

It didn’t take long for other countries to put on ban on U.S. imported beef, but government officials said there wasn’t a threat to the food supply because the cow’s brain, spinal cord, and the lower part of the small intestine were already removed.

Perret, like most restaurant owners, has done his share of checking on the issue.

Perret mentioned that from what he understood about the disease, your whole meats like roasts and steaks should not be affected.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries is has been actively testing the cows for the past 13 years to make sure if there ever was a case of BSE in Alabama, they could stop it.