Can farmed fish give you Mad Cow disease?

July 28, 2009
Volume 06    |   Issue 32

Neurologist Robert P. Friedland has a frightening theory that could change the foods you choose to eat. He believes that eating fish could be dangerous to your health. As if mercury toxicity wasn’t bad enough, he found another reason to be wary of eating fish. It could give you mad cow disease.

Mad cow disease is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease that affects cattle. It causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. While there’s a debate about the disease’s ability to infect humans, it is frighteningly similar to a disease found in humans — Creutzfeldt Jacob disease.

Friedland and his team found that fish, thought of by many to be one of the most healthful foods you can eat, can contract mad cow disease. They also found that farmed fish can transmit the disease to humans causing Creutzfeldt Jacob disease.

Even if the chances are slim, we should all take his theory seriously. That’s because mad cow disease is a 100% fatal brain disease that has no treatment. Wild fish would not cause any problems, but farmed fish could. Here’s why. Some fish farmers feed their fish bone meal or meat from cows. There’s currently no proof that fish can transmit mad cow disease to people, but this is one situation where it’s smart to err on the side of caution.

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England and many other countries in Europe have outlawed feeding cow parts to cattle. This came when researchers said an outbreak of mad cow disease came from infected cows. The U.S. has since adopted this ruling as well. But it doesn’t apply to feeding cow parts to farmed fish.

Friedland’s research team says that it’s possible that eating diseased parts of cows could cause a mutation within fish, making it possible to pass on an infection. Bottom line: they’re suggesting caution. I am, too.

I realize that there have been no cases of mad cow disease linked to eating farmed fish. Yet. But consider this: the incubation period for this deadly disease could last for decades.

Why take a chance? Fish farmers usually keep their tanks crowded and give antibiotics to keep the fish from getting sick. If you want to eat fish, choose those that come from the wild. They may still contain some mercury, but they won’t kill you. Better yet, get your fish oil from certified pure fish oil capsules, like those in Women’s Vitality.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Farmed Fish May Pose Risk For Mad Cow Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from /releases/2009/06/090616080143.htm

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