What you need to know about the latest case of BSE

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A dairy cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been detected in California, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture announcement on Tuesday.

The cow was found in a rendering facility in central California. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the cow tested positive at a transfer facility in Hanford, 15 miles west of Visalia in Kings County, operated by Baker Commodities.

Although details about the age and origins of the animal are being withheld pending further investigation, the National Milk Producers Federation offered the following points on the issue:

  • Milk and dairy products do not contain or transmit BSE, and animals do not transmit the disease through cattle-to-human contact. The infectious prions that transmit BSE are found in neurological tissues, such as brains and spinal cords.
  • The United States put regulations in place in 1997 to prohibit ruminant protein from being used in animal feed. This applies to all cattle, dairy and beef alike.
  • Non-ambulatory animals ― those that cannot walk ― are not allowed to be processed at facilities where meat animals are handled. This regulation helps ensure that animals that are unwell are not entered into the food supply.

However, the current case in California may not fit the typical mold.

“Our laboratory confirmed the findings and also indicated it was an atypical form of BSE, which is a rare form of the disease,” said USDA chief veterinarian John Clifford on Tuesday. “It is not likely to be attributable to infected feed, which is the method in which normally BSE is spread from cow to cow,” he said.

"This particular animal did not enter the food supply at any time," Clifford added.

For more background on BSE and the dairy sector, visit the NMPF web site.

The USDA also has a frequently-asked-questions section on BSE. Click here.

 



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Chris    
Buffalo  |  April, 25, 2012 at 08:54 AM

Is this cow 15 years old or older ( I dought it) if not someone is putting animal protein in feed. I belive Canada has had the same requirments in place also. It looks like the dairy and amimal industry are up to their old tricks, smoke and mirriors to explain this.

Chris    
buffalo  |  April, 25, 2012 at 09:11 AM

Another thing, what about her herd mates that ate the same feed? How many of them were sent for beef and made it into the food chain. This cow just didn't eat animal protein a few days ago and contract BSE yesterday, this was something that has happened over a period of time with many other cows being exposed to the same feed. So if there is one that has been detected there have been many cows from this herd that have not been detected and who knows were they are.

Chris    
buffalo  |  April, 25, 2012 at 08:57 AM

If the consumer is smart they will buy their beef from a local producer who they know and pay a little more to know it's safe.

Mitch    
NY  |  April, 25, 2012 at 01:28 PM

"If the consumer is smart they will buy their beef from a local producer who they know and pay a little more to know it's safe" Just don't think that your "local" producer isn't getting their feed from the same sources.

Chris    
fredonia  |  April, 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM

If ti did not come from feed what was their expaihation of were it came from? IT comes from feeding animal portein that is infected with the prions that cause BSE, so guess wha t someone was feeding animal protein.....

Chris    
buffalo  |  April, 25, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Who tests the feed and when is this done. Do you know how many thousand ton of feed are sold each day. They only test 10% of cows killed for BSE and you are telling me they test all that feed. HA

Chris    
buffalo  |  April, 25, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Who tests the feed and when is this done. Do you know how many thousand ton of feed are sold each day. They only test 10% of cows killed for BSE and you are telling me they test all that feed. HA

ben    
April, 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM

If you read the article they said it tested to be an atypical form of bse. I think your jumping a bit Chris

chris    
buffalo  |  April, 25, 2012 at 03:22 PM

In the artical they state atypical, so were doese it come from? You would think they would have some answers before releasing this infofmation. If it is atypical and they can't tell you were it came from than it could have come from FEED.

Ria    
Sacramento  |  April, 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM

The cow in California was never sent for slaughter for human consumption so at no time was it a risk to the food supply or human health. The government has interlocking safeguards in place to protect food safety; for example, the Food and Drug Administration bans Specified Risk Materials from the food supply (SRMs are parts of the animal--such as brain and spinal cord--most likely to contain the BSE agent if it were present). "Atypical" means that it is not the "typical" or "classic" form of BSE. It is the type that can occur spontaneously (and hasn't been associated with eating contaminated feed). In humans, CJD can occur spontaneously, which is different from variant CJD (the human form of the disease attibuted to consuming infected animals years ago in the UK). The typical/classic form of BSE arises from feed contamination. Science does not (yet) know what "causes" atypical cases of BSE. USDA says, "In 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE, a dramatic decline and 99 percent reduction since the peak in 1992 of 37,311 cases." See http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=BSE_FAQs.xml&contentidonly=true and http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/content/printable_version/fs_BSE_ongoing_vs.pdf.

Ria    
Sacramento  |  April, 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM

The cow in California was never sent for slaughter for human consumption so at no time was it a risk to the food supply or human health. The government has interlocking safeguards in place to protect food safety; for example, the Food and Drug Administration bans Specified Risk Materials from the food supply (SRMs are parts of the animal--such as brain and spinal cord--most likely to contain the BSE agent if it were present). "Atypical" means that it is not the "typical" or "classic" form of BSE. It is the type that can occur spontaneously (and hasn't been associated with eating contaminated feed). In humans, CJD can occur spontaneously, which is different from variant CJD (the human form of the disease attibuted to consuming infected animals years ago in the UK). The typical/classic form of BSE arises from feed contamination. Science does not (yet) know what "causes" atypical cases of BSE. USDA says, "In 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE, a dramatic decline and 99 percent reduction since the peak in 1992 of 37,311 cases." See http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=BSE_FAQs.xml&contentidonly=true and http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/content/printable_version/fs_BSE_ongoing_vs.pdf.

Chris    
buffalo  |  April, 27, 2012 at 06:56 AM

So they can not tell what causes atypical BSE that means it can come from any thing including feeding contaminated feed. As far as testing they only test 1/10 of 1% of all cows killed sounds like the USDA is really not looking to hard for this problem. If you find 29 in 1/10 of 1% guess what you had more than you think that went to slauter. Keep pretenting that there is not aproblem and maybe it will go away.

Laura    
United states  |  April, 27, 2012 at 04:39 PM

So how is this atypical form of BSE contracted if not thru feed?!

Laura    
United states  |  April, 27, 2012 at 04:43 PM

Saying it occurred "spontaneously" seems like an easy out.... I suppose it's not impossible but, really??!


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