In a recent article published in the Creighton Lawyer Magazine, I have laid out the trade implications of BSE on US beef exports. The results are rather striking: the US went from the number one exporter to number 11 between 2000-2004. (When you consider that India is at number 14, you will see how far we have fallen.) Since Japan reopened trade, there have been some shipments, but it appears to be taking time to rebuild demand.
You have probably heard the saying that someone is "all hat, no cattle." My take on BSE (or "mad cow disease", if you prefer) is that it was all politics, no cattle. My colleagues in medical disciplines here, who are doing research in prion diseases (prions are the sources of BSE), have some interesting research that shows how disease may be transmitted. The article explains some of that research as well. If you are interested, you can find the full article here:
The recent reports of all the problems with e-coli in spinach supports another point found in this article: one must take a proper perspective of risk. All things considered, it is a lot riskier to eat that spinach than it is to eat American beef. So, enjoy a steak this weekend and skip the spinach salad. Best regards.