Ahh alas the phrase that donned every eatery from Donegal to Dingle has now taken on a different meaning; to me at least. During the mad cow disease outbreak in the UK a few years ago every restaurant, bar, cafe and takeaway in Ireland assured us that the dead cow portions they were serving were 100% Irish. Some went even further, announcing that their beef can be traced right back to the farm it came from. That kept us all happy for a while.

Happy indeed munching down steaks, burgers and other cow related munchies until the news broke that a case of variant CJD, the human form of mad cow disease, has appeared in an Irish hospital. The first totally Irish case of vCJD too I might add. The patient, who isn’t going to be named by the media apparently, hasn’t given or received blood. That means only one thing, he must have ingested infected beef.

In some effort to stop the meat eating public from completely freaking out and turning vegetarian, it’s been pointed out that recent cow products (after 1996 to be more accurate) are ‘perfectly safe’. That means Mr. Unluckly vCJD victim must have eaten something pumped full of steroids, hormones and seemingly quite mad prior to the 1996 cleanup. With an incubation period of anything from 10 to 15 years, it kinda makes one wonder; how many more of us have vCJD? I guess if by the end of 2011 I’m still alive and healthy, I can presume I don’t have it. Like many others, I think I’ll be following the paranoid masses and staying temporarily away from beef… Just for the moment anyway. It’s not like I’m going vegan or anything.

A couple of related links from major news sources

RTE – Irish beef controls adequate says Ahern
UTV – What is vCJD?