FSU Researchers Making Strides With Mad Cow Study

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FSU professor Peggy Hsieh and her students study ruminant proteins, those found in animals like sheep, goats and cows.

A ruminant test kit Hsieh helped developed has gotten her attention worldwide and has placed her in the center of the mad cow controversy.

Hsieh says, "With the accurate ruminant test, you can assure the safety of the non-ruminant products, and that they don't contain the ruminant protein."

Hsieh says in many cases the feed given to livestock may contain a mixture of proteins, some good, some unknowingly infected with the abnormal protein that causes mad cow disease.

The ground beef you pick up at the market may be infected because of what that animal had for dinner.

"After you ground the beef, you can probably find that it's contaminated by chicken or pork. Actually, we could find anything," she says.

Hsieh's goal is to persuade the Chinese government to do away with its test, which she says cannot differentiate between banned proteins and ones that are not banned, like milk and blood.

China's ban on U.S. meat byproducts has cost the U.S. almost $30 million a year.