Canada confirms mad cow disease

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OTTAWA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease in a 50-month-old dairy cow from Alberta.
The animal was first reported July 10 based on preliminary test results.
The entire carcass was incinerated and did not enter the human or animal feed systems.
Tracing cattle. The agency located the birth farm, and investigators are tracing other cattle born on the premises within 12 months before or after the birth of the affected animal.
Given its age, the affected animal was exposed to the disease after the 1997 implementation of Canada’s feed ban.
“The diagnosis of BSE in an animal born roughly four and half years after the implementation of the 1997 ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban does raise questions that must be answered,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said.
Prevention. The Canadian agency announced June 26 further enhancements to prevent specified risk material (SRM) from entering the animal feed system, pet food and fertilizers.
Specified risk material are tissues known to contain concentrated levels of the disease agent in infected cattle. These tissues have been removed from all cattle slaughtered for human consumption since 2003.
“We need a thorough understanding of all the circumstances involved in this case to assure our consumers that Canada’s regulatory system is effectively providing the utmost protections to consumers and livestock,” Johanns said.
Detection. This animal, along with all previous cases, was detected through the national surveillance program.
Canada has monitored its cattle for the disease since 1991.

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