There is a new case of Mad Cow Disease in the US, but we're told it does not threaten our food supply, because the affected cow died on the farm where it was raised and its meat never entered the human food chain. The cow was burned and then buried, and the farm's location is being kept secret.
The Agriculture Department's John Clifford says that they are testing the cow's brain tissue at its laboratory in Ames, Iowa, and they are sending out more of the tissue to be tested to a laboratory in Weybridge, England. While the animal died in April, the veterinarian who removed the brain says he "forgot" to send in the sample until last week. The most recent Mad Cow was born before 1997, when the US banned the adding ground-up cattle remains to cattle feed.
Two other cases of Mad Cow have recently been discovered in the US. A Texas cow with the disease died in November and a Canadian-born steer infected with Mad Cow was discovered in December 2003 in Washington state.
It's hoped that the discovery of a third Mad Cow won't stop the Japanese from lifting their ban on importing US beef. Japan bought $1.5 billion worth of beef in 2003. In Japan, all beef is tested for Mad Cow, not just the tissue of cows that show symptoms of the disease, as is done in the US. There are 96 million cattle in the US, but only around 400,000 have been tested for Mad Cow Disease.
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