The British Farming Ministry admits to selling meat from cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and distributing it to catering companies and some supermarkets. Meat from these diseased cows, which number 28,000 per year, could wind up in prison food, hospital meals, or even school lunches.
It is believed that the Department for Food and Rural Affairs makes £10 million a year off the sale of bTB diseased cattle. Farmers are compensated a total of £1,700 per infected cow slaughtered.
Ministry officials say that the chances of the bTB virus being transmitted to humans, even through uncooked meat, are low. Despite this, companies like McDonald's, Burger King, and Sainsbury’s have chosen to ban the meat, though large catering distributors like Aramark and Compass could not deny having served it.
Bovine tuberculosis infects approximately 70 British citizens every year. The symptoms are similar to the human form, and include loss of appetite, severe cough, and weight loss.