Monday, July 20, 2009

Food Part 3: Mad Cow Disease and Radiation

Abe V Rotor

The Mad Cow Disease or Bovine Spongioform Encephalopathy (BSE) as early as in 1998 has stirred serious worldwide attention as to the transmissibility of the disease to humans. The cause is a rare infective particle, prion, a kind of protein heretofore unknown to affect humans. Its diagnosis shows similarity with the Cruetzgen-Jakobs Disease (CJD), a wasting disease of the central nervous system very much like Alzheimer’s disease. The new disease strikes both young and old, while the latter strikes only old people. The gestation of BSE-CJD is 10 to 30 years. Scientists believe that the fifty victims in England, the country where the new disease originated, must have contacted the disease through eating BSE-infected beef way back in the 1980s.

Now this is the paradox. In early 2001, a shipment of some 15 container-vans of beef from Ireland arrived in the Philippines through the country’s biggest meat processors. The Department of Agriculture ordered the immediate “re-exportation” of the whole shipment. The sale of beef, including local beef, declined drastically. The mad cow scare quickly spread worldwide as many countries began to impose strict quarantine requirements. Ironically, a simultaneous outbreak of foot-and-mouth epidemic swept across Europe, again originating in Britain and reaching France, Germany and the Netherlands within a short time.

Can we get the Mad Cow Disease? It is possible. The channels of the diseases are two folds. First is through the infected beef, and second, through animal feeds formulated from recycled carcass and parts of the animal, a common practice abroad. We import both products, so that the transmission of the mad cow disease to the consumer can be direct through the first channel, while the imported feeds may trigger infection of our local stocks. In short, we may be introducing the mad cow disease into our own cattle through infected imported feeds.

Modern living indeed has many drawbacks. Artificial food, additives and preservatives are common in the food content we take everyday. Those tempting preparations may be dyed. The cheap kind of vinegar may be diluted glacial acetic acid, the same kind of acid used in photography and other industrial processing. Cancer-causing aflatoxin is found in peanut butter. The common practice, and it is just being practical, is that the good nut is sold as whole peanut (seed), while those of inferior grade are ground into butter. And why is the incidence cirrhosis of the liver higher in the south than in the rice-eating regions? It is because corn, which is the southern staple, is more predisposed to the aflatoxin fungus than rice is.

Radiation is an invisible risk. We do not know when, where, and what level we are getting - and when it becomes harmful to the body. In the early 1980s, the Chernobyl nuclear plant incident in Russia, located not far from Western Europe, caused worldwide concern. After the meltdown incident, a milk brand from Holland tainted with the fallout found its way to the Philippines. The government, upon finding its level of radiation to be higher than the limit set by DOH, issued a ban against its use, especially for children. But where did the whole shipment go? Pulvoron, anyone?

Overeating and Malnutrition

"Vege-cue" does away with high colesterol and fatty grilled food.

There are two other aspects which are also raised in this paper. Someone who studied the eating habits of man said, “There are as many people dying of overeating as those who die because of lack of food." It is not only because of the direct causes of food in our body, it is also because of the fact that overweight condition increases death risk.

Here are some facts: If you are overweight by 10 percent (based principally on age and height) your life span is reduced by 10 to 15 percent. If you are 30 percent overweight, you have a lifetime reduced to one-half. And people, who are over¬weight by 40 percent and above, are virtually walking towards their grave.

On the other hand, not having sufficient food leads to malnutrition, which in turn leads to poor health. Among children malnutrition hinders growth of both body and mind, and many effects are irreversible.~

Reference: The Living with Nature Handbook AVR, UST Publishing House Manila



rachelsantos said...

sir!.. ung picture ko. post nyu na..hehehe!

KARMINA said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.