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Canada confirms fifth case of Mad Cow Disease

Monday, April 17, 2006

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Canada's Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that a cow in British Columbia, Canada, tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or "mad cow disease". Officials announced on Friday that initial tests done on the purebred six-year-old dairy Holstein had come back inconclusive. The cow was found in Fraser Valley, a farming community near Vancouver, British Columbia.

Officials also say that the beef supply is safe because none of the infected cows had made it to the human food chain. "This finding does not affect the safety of Canadian beef. Tissues in which BSE is known to concentrate in infected animals are removed from all cattle slaughtered in Canada for domestic and international human consumption. No part of this animal entered the human food or animal feed systems," said agency officials in a statement on Sunday.

"This animal, a six-year-old dairy cow, developed BSE after the implementation of Canada's feed ban. Investigators will pay particular attention to the feed to which the animal may have been exposed early in its life, when cattle are most susceptible to BSE. The CFIA is collecting records of feed purchased by and used on the animal's birth farm," the statement continued.

However, the United States does not believe a ban on Canadian beef will come immediately. "Information gathered through this investigation will help us to determine what, if any, impact this should have on our beef and live cattle trade with Canada. Based on the information currently available, I do not anticipate a change in the status of our trade," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

This is Canada's fifth confirmed case of the disease since May 2003, and officials have tested more than 100,000 cows since the first case of the disease turned up in Alberta. This is the second cow to test positive for the disease this year.

At least 150 people worldwide have died from eating beef contaminated with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a nerve disease that is usually fatal. Most of the deaths occurred in the United Kingdom.

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External links

Final Testing Confirms BSE Case in B.C. - Canadian Food Inspection Agency press release.