Today, the USDA confirmed that a form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known colloquially as Mad Cow Disease,  was discovered in a dairy cow in central California. It is the first case of BSE found in the state since 2006, and it is unlikely to spread since the strain is very rare and was not acquired through the cow's feed as in most severe cases.

In the statement the USDA gave about the incidence, they assured consumers that the diseased cow was uncovered during a standard detection sweep and poses little actual risk to people at large. "It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health." USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford goes on to say that scientific studies conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that humans aren't at risk of contracting the disease through milk consumption. As far as anyone can tell, milk is perfectly safe.

If what the USDA says is true, the biggest risks in regard to this case is a possible dip in the exportation of beef products internationally. After the last BSE outbreak in 2003, many countries banned the importation of US beef including Singapore, Malaysia, and China. It's possible that Japan and South Korea now might impose a new temporary ban on US meat, though it's less likely since, as mentioned earlier, the cow never entered the food supply.

The cow's carcass is being held under California State authority and will eventually be destroyed.

Photo Credits: WikipediaLannyland

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