Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed an Alabama mad cow case. Officials discovered bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an 11-year-old cow not connected with the human food chain.
Health officials with the agriculture department in Alabama confirmed the cow suffered from the “atypical” form of the disease which is considered to be of much less concern. “Classical BSE” is the form contracted by animals eating contaminated feed, according to a report by Harvest Public Media.
Atypical BSE generally occurs in older cattle and “seems to arise rarely and spontaneously in all cattle populations,” according to the USDA.
“We’re always cautious because we don’t want classical BSE to start being transmitted and spread in the U.S., (as) happened in Europe,” Iowa State University veterinarian Grant Dewell told Harvest Public Media.
The Alabama cow is only the fifth case of BSE confirmed in the U.S. No cases have been confirmed in the Midwest, officials stated. The last American case of BSE was discovered in California in 2012, according to information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The timing for cattle producers is not good. A little more than one month ago, China lifted its 14-year ban on American beef. Several countries banned U.S. beef imports following the detection of a beef cow with BSE in 2003. Some countries have lifted the ban. It is not known if this discovery will impact their policies.
Officials with the USDA cautioned against overreaction to the news of the Alabama cow stating that the cow “at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States.”