The US Agriculture Department said today that a test of anAmerican cow has come back positive for bovine spongiformencephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that the animalhad been removed from the food chain in November of 2004 andthat its meat had not been consumed.

Unlike other countries, that use simple and quick testingprotocols, the US uses a slow and elaborate system preferredby the beef industry in order to minimize false positives.As a result, a test that could have been concluded in amatter of weeks took over half a year. The original test onthe animal was inconclusive.

“We are currently testing nearly 1,000 animals per day aspart of our BSE enhanced surveillance program, more than388,000 total tests, and this is the first confirmed caseresulting from our surveillance,” Johanns said. Hecontinued, “Americans have every reason to continue to beconfident in the safety of our beef.”

Effective immediately, if another BSE rapid screening testresults in inconclusive findings, USDA will run both an IHCand Western blot confirmatory test. If results from eitherconfirmatory test are positive, the sample will beconsidered positive for BSE. This will speed up theidentification process somewhat.

USDA has initiated an epidemiological investigation todetermine the animal’s herd of origin. Despite the passageof nearly eight months, that investigation is not yet complete.

The animal was born before the United States instituted aruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in August 1997, whichsupposedly prevents the use of most mammalian protein incattle feed. According to internationally accepted research,feed containing meat-and-bone meal is the primary way BSE istransferred to the cattle population.

In fact, as was reported by a few daysago, cattle are still being fed the remains of other cattlein the United States.Click here forthat story.

To read USDA’s announcement about this discovery,clickhere.

Subscribers can listen to mad cow whistleblower DaveLouthan’s searing indictment of the beef industry and the USDepartment of Agriculture in our subscriber section–andvirtually nowhere else in the world. They can also hear ColmKelleher, the author of Brain Trust, about the mad cowscandal–again, elsewhere he has disappeared beneath the radar.

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