host Oprah Winfrey has taken on the beef industry, saying she
would stop eating hamburgers because of fears over mad cow disease.
Winfrey said on her show she was shocked after a guest said meat and bone meal made from cattle was routinely fed to other cattle to boost their meat and milk production.
``It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger,''
The camera showed members of the studio audience gasping in surprise as
vegetarian activist Howard Lyman explained how cattle parts were rendered and fed to other cattle.
Scientists have said the practice likely helped spread Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, to thousands of cows in Britain until it was outlawed in 1989.
The European Union executive imposed a ban on British beef last month after that government said it was possible people could develop the brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) after eating meat from animals infected with BSE.
Other guests on ABC's Oprah Winfrey Show included Briton Beryl Rimmer, who
said her granddaughter
contracted CJD from eating beef. American Linda Marker said her
mother-in-law died recently of CJD after
eating beef in Britain in 1986.
News of the popular show's content swept through the cattle futures markets,
contributing to major
declines in all the beef contracts as traders feared it would turn Americans
away from beef.
``Some people are concerned because of the number of homemakers who are at home and listening and watching Oprah,'' said Chuck Levitt, an analyst with Alaron Trading Corp in Chicago.
Live cattle futures for April delivery fell 1.50 cents, the daily limit
allowed under exchange rules, to $58.925
per pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Gary Weber, a cattle industry lobbyist who was also a guest on the show, accused Winfrey of editing out his statements giving the industry's position.
``Every possible effort has been taken to make sure (a BSE outbreak) never
happens here,'' said Weber, an
animal health expert at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
No cases of BSE have been discovered in the United States. The U.S. cattle industry last month called for a voluntary ban on the feeding of ruminant protein to other ruminants.
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