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His audiences range from scientists to local Cub Scout troops, but Jan Novakofski's message about the threat of mad cow disease is the same. "If you live in the United States or Canada, there is no reason to be afraid of eating beef," said Novakofski, an animal-science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "There are no cases [of mad cow disease] here in the U.S. You have to have the disease present to have the risk."
Novakofski and his wife, a nutrition professor at U. of I., have two children in grade school. They "don't worry" about feeding them ground beef or steaks on the bone.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, is a brain-wasting disease that leaves the cow's brain spongy and full of holes. …