USDA emphasizes American beef safe after third cow with BSE
U.S. Agriculture Department officials have confirmed that a cow in Alabama tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow” disease.
“The animal was buried on the farm and it did not enter the animal or human food chains,” said John Clifford, USDA chief veterinary officer, in a statement Monday. “We will be working to locate animals from this cow’s birth cohort and any offspring.”
The cow was about 10 years old, making it born prior to the Food and Drug Administration’s 1997 ban on animal byproducts in cattle feed. Older cows are more likely to have been exposed to contaminated feed circulating before the FDA ban, Clifford said.
The USDA emphasized that U.S. beef is safe. Since the first confirmed case of mad cow disease in December 2003, the USDA has increased its surveillance of the U.S. beef herd. According to the USDA, about 1,000 cattle of the 95 million head herd are tested daily.