Madfish?: scientist warns that farmed fish could be a source of mad cow disease

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
June 17, 2009





In a paper that shows just how strange our modern world has become, Robert P. Friedland, neurologist from the University of Louisville, warns that farmed fish could be at risk of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, or mad cow disease.

Currently, farmed fish are fed cow byproducts—a food source they would never find natural environment (unless society started dumping cow carcasses in oceans or lakes).

Friedland and co-authors raise the issue in the Journal of Alzhemier’s Disease and call on food regulators to ban feeding cow bone or meat to farmed fish until it can be determined if the practice of feeding fish cow-parts is safe.

“We have not proven that it’s possible for fish to transmit the disease to humans. Still, we believe that out of reasonable caution for public health, the practice of feeding rendered cows to fish should be prohibited,” Friedland said. “Fish do very well in the seas without eating cows.”

Mad cow disease is a fatal disease that can be contracted by eating parts of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). After an outbreak in Britain due to infected beef, 163 people died.

“The fact that no cases of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease have been linked to eating farmed fish does not assure that feeding rendered cow parts to fish is safe,” warns Friedland. “The incubation period of these diseases may last for decades, which makes the association between feeding practices and infection difficult. Enhanced safeguards need to be put in place to protect the public.”

Along with cow, farmed fish are also fed significant amounts of antibiotics to keep them disease-and-parasite free. Farmed fish pose additional health hazards due to the possibility of mercury contamination.







Related articles

Marine scientist calls for abstaining from seafood to save oceans

(06/08/2009) In April marine scientist Jennifer Jacquet made the case on her blog Guilty Planet that people should abstain from eating seafood to help save life in the ocean. With fish populations collapsing worldwide and scientists sounding warnings that ocean ecosystems—as edible resources—have only decades left, it is perhaps surprising that Jacquet’s call to abstain from consuming seafood is a lone voice in the wilderness, but thus far few have called for seafood lovers to abstain.


Shortsighted recommendations to eat more fish ignore large-scale environmental impact

(03/16/2009) Recommendations by international health agencies, doctors, nutritionists, and the media to consume more fish for better health ignore the fact that fish stock are collapsing worldwide, reports a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. “Even at current levels of fish consumption, fisheries globally have reached a state of severe crisis. Already, the demand from affluent and developing economies, particularly newly affluent China, cannot be met by the world’s fisheries,” states the new report.


Risk/benefit analysis of farmed versus wild salmon

(12/23/2005) A new study shows that the net benefits of eating wild Pacific salmon outweigh those of eating farmed Atlantic salmon, when the risks of chemical contaminants are considered.




CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (June 17, 2009).

Madfish?: scientist warns that farmed fish could be a source of mad cow disease.

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0617-hance_madfish.html