After 31 years in the United States, I find myself more American than I ever expected to be, yet not so American in many ways.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I'm not allowed to give blood here in the United States because, despite being resident in the US for so long, I have spent long enough in the UK since 1980 that the health authorities worry that I may be carrying Mad Cow disease. A sensible precaution really, given that it is not something that they can test for.
I suppose I should be reassured by the fact that there is a far lower incidence of CJD in the USA than in the UK, but today's news of a beef recall makes me wonder. How can they be sure that the beef supply in the United States really is free of mad cow disease when quite clearly there are meatpackers who ignore potential symptoms of BSE in the animals they are slaughtering? I know there are supposedly 'other safeguards' in place - but who knows if those are being ignored too? I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but this will certainly strengthen the argument of those who think BSE is more prevalent in the US than the USDA would like us to think. I'm just glad that I only eat beef once or twice a year, when our friend Theo makes his wonderfully yummy teriyaki beef.