Mad Cows in Cosmetics and Pig Food?

The New York Times has a letter today in which reader Martha Hubbart quotes a “bit of verse [that] was written in response to 'The Jungle,' the 1906 novel by Upton Sinclair that exposed the appalling practices in the meat-packing industry”. It goes,

Mary had a little lamb,
And when she saw it sicken,
She shipped it off to Packingtown,
And now it's labeled chicken.

This would have seemed a lot funnier had I not just read this other New York Times article which states,

the decision announced on Tuesday to ban downer cows from the food supply means that most such animals will be sent to rendering plants, which boil the carcasses to produce protein for poultry and swine feed, tallow, fat, oil and other products, including some used in cosmetics. As a result, much of the screening for mad cow disease will move away from slaughterhouses to rendering plants and farms.

(italics added).

If prions can cross species from cows to people, why can't they do it via pigs, whose bodies are so like us that they are studied as sources of possible heart transplants? And, is putting the prions into lipstick or face powder really such a great idea?

Update: But it does give a whole new cast to the phrase “driven mad by her perfume”!

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One Response to Mad Cows in Cosmetics and Pig Food?

  1. Pingback: Letters of Marque

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