Mad Cow Rumours Contagious on the Net

SOUTH KOREA - Ever since Korea agreed to open its doors to US beef the internet has been rife with exaggerated, confused and often, entirely fictional, rumours over mad cow disease. The scaremongering attack has brought about a sense of great concern over US beef.
calendar icon 2 May 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

According to Chosun, this was not helped by the airing of an edition of “PD Diary”, the famous MBC current affairs program, on Tuesday, which claimed that 94 percent of Koreans have genes that make them more susceptible than Americans or Britons to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), writes the news agency. CJD is the human variant of mad cow disease, and this physical trait makes Koreans two to three times more likely than Americans or Britons to contract the disease.

A tepid and delayed response from the government is only fueling fears. The personal blog of President Lee Myung-bak, who promised that resuming import of U.S. beef will bring high-quality and low-priced beef to the table, has been virtually shut down by Internet users who bombarded it with messages protesting against the decision.

Even madly unscientific rumors like, “Jelly, cookies, a broiled dish of sliced rice pasta and pizza will cause mad cow disease,” or, “Cosmetic products, sanitary napkins, and diapers are also risky because parts of cattle are used in production,” exhorting consumers to hoard such items before the imports, are spreading on the Internet.

  • View the Chosun story by clicking here.

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