July 19, 2000
Avoid This Cheese!
BURLINGTON, VT (SafetyAlerts) - On
Friday, July 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is acquiring
376 sheep from three Vermont flocks after four sheep were confirmed positive on July 10
for a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Jan K. Carney has consulted with the Centers for Disease
Control & Prevention in Atlanta. CDC recommends that, as a precaution, people not eat
cheese made from the milk of these sheep.
According to the Vermont Department of Agriculture, the cheese can be identified by either
the brand name or the plant number on the label:
Three Shepherds of the Mad River Valley, Plant # 50-53
Northeast Kingdom Sheep Milk Cheese, Plant # 50-45
TSE is a class of degenerative neurological diseases that are characterized by a very long
incubation period and a one hundred percent mortality rate. Two of the better known
varieties of TSE are bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle (also known as mad
cow disease) and scrapie in sheep. According to USDA, further testing, which will take
several years, is required to determine which type of TSE has infected these sheep.
For consumer health questions, call the Vermont Department of Health at 802-863-7240 or
800-640-4374 (Vermont only).
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