The nation's fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, has been confirmed by the USDA, and it's in California. Here a video press release of the agency's Chief Veterinary Officer discussing the case.
The agency says the animal was "never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE."
AP is reporting that "Baker Commodities says cow tested positive for mad cow disease at its Hanford, Calif., plant."
Cattle futures tumbled on news of the discovery, according to Dow Jones.
Update 1:55 p.m. From the California Dept of Public Health:
There is no public health threat due to the discovery of BSE in a dairy cow. The food supply in California has not been affected by this discovery, and residents do not need to take any specific precautions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has many procedures in place to keep this disease from entering the food chain, and the detection found is evidence that the system of safeguards is working. The cow in question was not slaughtered for food and BSE is not transmitted in milk.
CDPH will continue to monitor the situation and will advise Californians of any new information.
Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food nutrition and safety advocacy organization, concurs...with reservations...
WASHINGTON--A case of a single cow with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is not a reason for significant concern on the part of consumers, and there is no reason to believe the beef or milk supply is unsafe.
If the cow were exposed to the typical strain of BSE via animal feed—and the government says that’s not the case here—that would have represented a significant failure. The government’s ability to track down other cattle that may have been exposed via feed would have been hampered without an effective animal I.D. program.
The United States has first-world resources and technology but a third-world animal identification system. In fact, some third-world countries do a better job of tracking livestock than America does. Botswana, for one, uses RFID microchips to track its animals up and down the supply chain. If American cattlemen suffer economic losses at the news of this discovery of BSE, they should blame only themselves and other opponents of a mandatory animal identification system.
Here's a video press release of USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford discussing the outbreak...