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Healthy Profits

With all those mad cows, vegetarian food looks a little better every day.

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This story appears in the October 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

While mad cow disease and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) currentlyappear confined to Europe, images of diseased animals and burningcarcasses have crept into the United States. Granted, we're allstill eating Big Macs and T-bones, but our collective consciousnesshas been pierced by the question: Could it happen here?

Not terribly likely, with all the safeguards put in place by theFDA and the USDA. But now is still an opportune time to talk aboutalternatives to meat. "There's been a widening [consumerdemand] for vegetarian-type dishes, particularly among youngerpeople," says Warren Belasco, a professor of American Studiesat the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who teaches aclass on American foods. "They're more aware of thegeneral health issues-not just contamination issues, but heartdisease, cholesterol and fat issues as well."

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