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By Johnmw

Dorset, United Kingdom Gb

Hi everybody - anyone have any idea about the likelihood of BSE in ground-up bones (as in fish, blood and bone). As far as I know the disease is carried by prions which are objects like electrons so unlike with viruses and bacteria sterilisation is irrelavent.
There are probably no regulations about which animals or which parts are used for things like garden fertiliser - unlike those for food.
Just a thought.



Oh yes there are, John. The bones used for bonemeal etc are rigorously regulated to ensure that BSE is not passed on. (Unless the Government has just axed the quango responsible!)

2 Mar, 2011


As I understand it, the prions are found in the brains and a few other tissues of the very small number of affected cattle (thymus, I seem to remember was suspect). I don't recall bones being a risky tissue. (Though why were bone-in cuts of meat banned for several years?) Those cuts, e.g. oxtail and bone-in rib of beef have been back on sale for a few years now.
I take your point that prions are thought not to be denatured by heat, but I don't think there's a risk of contracting BSE in using bonemeal.
We continued to eat beef during the BSE scare and I don't see any reason not to continue to use bonemeal as fertiliser.

2 Mar, 2011


I usually wear gloves mostly because all sorts of things including compost affect my skin but why not wear gloves anyway if you're concerned.. I continued to eat beef even though there was 'reportedly an outbreak nearby' ---

2 Mar, 2011


as BA says there were strict guidelines re what could be used for FBB. The 'bone in cuts' of meat were banned as there is usually some spinal cord/nervous tissue material in the oxtail etc.

If in doubt wear gloves and dont breathe in the dust.

2 Mar, 2011


I think it would be sterilised in some way before the could sell it - they couldn't sell stuff like that if it had the potential to pass on diseases.

3 Mar, 2011


I remember now you've said Donna that they sterelise it i think

3 Mar, 2011


Unfortunately the prion (abnormal protein) that causes BSE isn't destroyed by sterilisation procedures that would get rid of bacteria and viruses, I think there's a need to avoid it.

3 Mar, 2011


Thanks for all the thoughts - Donna, I admire your trusting nature; I am not so sure the "powers-that-be" really know what they are doing.

4 Mar, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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