Some Mexican Beef Dishes Off the Menu

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New beef regulations are now in effect as a result of Mad Cow Disease. The federal guidelines will stop traditional Mexican restaurants from serving certain ethnic favorites.

The new rules affect very few entrees. It's Mexican delicacies made from beef brain and intestine, which will be hard to come by. Deep-fried chunks of small intestines are a specialty at Mi Pueblito Mexican Grill in Pueblo. Tripas are wrapped in tortillas and served with onions, cilantro and lime. In fact, it’s a big seller.

But tripas and other ethnic specialty dishes will soon be hard to find on menus, now that the United States Agriculture Department has banned the use of high-risk body parts of beef cattle. That includes the brain, skull, nervous system and eyes of cattle 30 months and older, and the tonsils and lower portion of the small intestine of cattle of all ages.

The changes come following the discovery last month of Mad Cow Disease in Washington. "Regulation is good because I think there is some feed that is not used properly in cattle and pork," says Mi Pueblito owner Walter Terrones.

Another dish that's off limits is tacos de sesos, which is made out of cow brain. Terrones says his family grew up eating it, but it's not on the menu. "Brain, at one time, the reason we do not serve it---It's hard to keep refrigerated properly. But there is a demand for scrambled eggs and omelettes," he says.