Health Supplements May Carry Mad Cow Disease

PHOENIX, Ariz-People in the desert, thousands of miles away from Britain and a growing Mad Cow scare, may also be at risk of the fatal degenerative neurological disease.

The government is putting up new barriers to prevent the importation of meat and meat products from Europe; however, some products are slipping through the cracks.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that some dietary supplements contain bovine pituitary extract. This cow brain ingredient may contain bovine spongiform encephalopathy-or Mad Cow disease.

Although the federal agency is looking at a potential problem currently, Fortune magazine said the FDA solicited advice from a group of scientists about considering barring blood donations from people taking nutritional supplements that contain cow tissues of uncertain origin.

Blood exchange is not considered a way to get the disease.

Humans in Britain, France, and the Republic of Ireland have died from eating products from infected cattle. Cruetzfeld-Jakob Disease leads to progressive dementia and coma.

The FDA has not commented on which supplements may contain bovine pituitary gland.

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