The infection of a single cow with BSE had massive ramifications across already jittery financial markets.
Fears of an outbreak of BSE rocked US financial, grain and livestock markets. The dollar tumbled to an all-time low against the euro, and the stock market fell as shares in restaurants and food companies sank.
"Mad cow[disease] really put a bad taste in everyone's mouth," said Peter Dunay, chief market and options strategist at Wall St Access. The euro rose to $1.2470 against the dollar as confidence in the greenback was knocked by the BSE developments as well as mounting fears of an imminent terrorist attack and unexpectedly grim news on the economy.
McDonald's shares were among the hardest hit by the BSE scare, losing 5.2 per cent. In the UK, however, shares in Protherics rose 6 per cent. It receives royalties from the sale of BSE kits.