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BSE Case Confirmed in USA

April 25, 2012

Mad-Cow Case Confirmed in Central California,

The first U.S. case of mad cow disease in six years has been found in a dairy cow in central California, detected before it could enter the human food chain and pose any threat to consumers, officials said.

The cow was identified as part of routine testing for the brain-wasting disease, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, John Clifford, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinarian, told reporters yesterday at a briefing in Washington.

The animal arrived April 18 at a Baker Commodities Inc. facility in Hanford, California, where dead livestock are held before going to a rendering plant, Dennis Luckey, executive vice president of operations at Los Angeles-based Baker, said in a phone interview.

The carcass “was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health,” Clifford said in a statement. Mad cow disease cannot be transmitted through milk from dairy animals, he said. “USDA remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products.”

Cattle futures rebounded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after tumbling the most in 11 months. Feeder-cattle also rose after falling by the exchange limit. Brazil’s JBS SA (JBSS3), the world’s largest beef producer, fell by as much as 5.2 percent before closing 0.3 percent lower in Sao Paulo. Tyson Foods Inc., the second-biggest U.S. beef processor, pared earlier gains to close 1.5 percent higher in New York.

Random Sampling

This is the fourth BSE case found in the U.S. herd, and the first since March 2006. Clifford said the age and the source of the animal in the latest case were being investigated. Luckey said the animal was at least 30 months old and the disease was discovered as part of random testing conducted to meet USDA quotas. He said it’s possible that a diseased animal could be processed without being tested.

Scientists say the disease is spread through feed that contains brain or spinal-cord tissue from infected animals. People can get it from eating products containing such tissues, such as head cheese. Since 1997, feed made from mammals has been banned from cattle rations, and high-risk materials such as brains have been kept from the human food supply.

via Mad-Cow Case Confirmed in Central California, USDA Says – Bloomberg.

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