April 24, 2012
A new case of mad cow disease has surfaced in a dairy cow in California. The animal was not released for the nation’s food supply and posed no danger, the Agriculture Department said Tuesday. The USDA department has begun notifying trading partners and international health officials. The organization did not release explicit information about the cow other than that it died on the farm.
John Clifford, the chief veterinary officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the cow from central California did not enter the human food chain and that U.S. meat and dairy supplies are safe. “There is really no cause for alarm here with regard to this animal,” Clifford told reporters at an assembled press conference.
Clifford did not mention when the disease was found or where the cow was raised. He said the cow was at a rendering plant in Central California when the disease was discovered through standard USDA sample testing.
There had only been three confirmed cases of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) or mad cow disease in the United States since the government began examining for the disease to keep the food supply safe. This cow is the fourth one to be discovered. Mad cow disease can be fatal to humans who eat the infected beef. However, humans cannot be infected by drinking milk from BSE-infected animals. The disease is always fatal in cattle though.
In people, eating the BSE contaminated meat is linked to Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease, an uncommon and deadly nerve disease. An enormous outbreak of mad cow disease in the United Kingdom that peaked in 1993 was responsible for the deaths of 180,000 cattle and more than 150 people.
There have been a small amount of cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease confirmed in people living in the United States. But those cases were linked to meat products in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Is it possible that the cows that were raised with that specific cow also be infected? How accurate is the standard USDA sample testing?
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