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Science policy studies - Was there a BSE crisis - Essay Example

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Confidence crisis surfaced among consumers in the market as a result, with the critical issues revolving around food governance and…
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Download file to see previous pages This disease is characterized by a 4 – 5 years incubation period and its effects are adverse; after a few weeks of its onset, it often leads to the death of cattle. Researchers have indicated that as BSE gets into the brain of cattle; the spinal cord and the brain itself get affected, resulting to lesions that have alterations that are sponge-like. These lesions can be seen under the normal microscope. Some researchers have also indicated that the BSE agent is very stable, with the capability of resisting heat, drying and freezing, and more critically, resisting heat applicable in the processes of sterilization and pasteurization. This property has raised a controversy over BSE agent’s nature, as several theories have sought to explain such nature.
It has been generally assumed that the BSE was derived from the disease scrapie, which occurs in sheep (Millstone and van Zwanenberg, 32), though there is no any evidence from experiments to show that this assumption is true. Further, there lacks a proof to show that BSE agent would behave like scrapie agent, which does not find its way into the human beings, when they consume the meat products that are from infected animals.
Generally, the roots of the BSE crisis dates back to the traditional food policy-making and UK Agriculture. The scientists in the UK first unravelled the disease in 1986 and by the year 2002, cases preceding 181, 376 had been confirmed. After the initial discovery, the disease had also been confirmed out of the UK from 1989. This led to an alarming call that initiated the introduction of programmes for monitoring the spread of the BSE in cattle that were slaughtered or found dead. 12 countries unveiled the presence of the disease in their territories including Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Japan, Italy, Israel, Greece, Germany, Finland, Czech Republic and Austria (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, 4).
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