The Infectious Myth

A Book Project by David Crowe

Mad Cow Timeline

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Mad Cow disease is the most famous of the so-called spongiform encephalopathies, named after the erosion of the brain that is characteristic. Why did a large number of cows die just in England and why did it not spread to humans despite the widespread consumption of English beef?

Year(s)Event
1978British and Welsh cattle farmers were required to use Phosmet, Famphur or Fenthion (pour-on) or Derris to kill warble flies on every cow. Phosmet was most widely used.
1980Change in UK rendering practice believed to allow infectious prions into the food chain
1981Proportion of Meat & Bone Meal (MBM) produced using solvents drops from almost 50% to about 10%
1982Use of Derris discontinued. Ivomec allowed but little used by dairy farmers
1984Proportion of Meat & Bone Meal (MBM) produced by a continuous process reaches 75%
1985The cow with the first documented case of BSE died, although some believe that cases occurred as early as the 1970s. A number of cows in the same herd had come down with symptoms that would now be called BSE. This cow was diagnosed with a toxic condition due to the condition of the kidneys.
1985Dairy farmers limited to use of Phosmet for mandatory warble fly treatments due to changes in licensing for other previously allowed treatments.
1986First verified case of Mad Cow (BSE)
1986 NovemberBSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) defined. Also known as Mad Cow Disease
1988 JulyBan on ruminant (e.g. cow) protein in ruminant feed
1990 SeptemberBan on specified bovine offal for use in animal nutrition
1992Peak of UK Mad Cow epidemic (about 3500 new cases in peak months)
1994 NovemberBan on mammalian MBM (meat and bone meal) in ruminant feed
1996 AprilMammalian MBM prohibited from all animal feed and fertilizer
1996 JuneMammalian MBM and MBM-containing feed recalled
2000UK Mad Cow cases down to negligible numbers
1978British and Welsh cattle farmers were required to use Phosmet, Famphur or Fenthion (pour-on) or Derris to kill warble flies on every cow. Phosmet was most widely used.
1980Change in UK rendering practice believed to allow infectious prions into the food chain
1981Proportion of Meat & Bone Meal (MBM) produced using solvents drops from almost 50% to about 10%
1982Use of Derris discontinued. Ivomec allowed but little used by dairy farmers
1984Proportion of Meat & Bone Meal (MBM) produced by a continuous process reaches 75%
1985The cow with the first documented case of BSE died, although some believe that cases occurred as early as the 1970s. A number of cows in the same herd had come down with symptoms that would now be called BSE. This cow was diagnosed with a toxic condition due to the condition of the kidneys.
1985Dairy farmers limited to use of Phosmet for mandatory warble fly treatments due to changes in licensing for other previously allowed treatments.
1986First verified case of Mad Cow (BSE)
1986 NovemberBSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) defined. Also known as Mad Cow Disease
1988 JulyBan on ruminant (e.g. cow) protein in ruminant feed
1990 SeptemberBan on specified bovine offal for use in animal nutrition
1992Peak of UK Mad Cow epidemic (about 3500 new cases in peak months)
1994 NovemberBan on mammalian MBM (meat and bone meal) in ruminant feed
1996 AprilMammalian MBM prohibited from all animal feed and fertilizer
1996 JuneMammalian MBM and MBM-containing feed recalled
2000UK Mad Cow cases down to negligible numbers

Copyright April, 2010 by David Crowe.