The first meeting of The National Health and Medical Research Council committee on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies will convene today (30 January) in Melbourne, and mad cow disease is firmly on the agenda. Since the scope of BSE was uncovered in Europe last year, Australia has been acting  to prevent the spread of the disease to its domestic cattle, and lower risks of vCJD; the human brain wasting disease linked to the consumption BSE infected beef.