The mad cow disease scare that destroyed Britain’s beef industry and cost the country £3.5 billion may not have been caused by tainted beef after all.

According to the London Daily Telegraph, England’s Ministry of Agriculture has awarded a quarter of a million pounds to two scientists who claim the theory that people contract mad cow disease by eating beef tainted with the prion protein is incorrect.

Their new research shows that mad cow disease in humans and in cows is caused by a type of bacteria which is widespread in contaminated water. If they’re right, British junk science (and activist hysteria) triggered the most costly peacetime crisis in that nation’s history. Oops.