USA - BSE Case An Issue Of Animal Health, Not Food Safety

05 May 2012

The USDA announced a case of BSE in California on April 24, but reassures public this is an issue of animal health, not food safety.


On April 24, USDA confirmed a positive test result of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow in California.


USDA has confirmed this animal did not enter the human food or animal feed supply. USDA is conducting an investigation to confirm the origin and age of this animal.


In a media conference held on Tuesday evening, Guy Loneragan, epidemiologist and professor of food safety and public health and at Texas Tech University, provided an update on the case.


“Worldwide, there have been 180,000 classical cases of BSE, mostly in the UK, with 60 cases of the atypical. In the U.S., there have been four cases, with three of the four being an atypical strain of BSE -- a rare form.


The controls that help safeguard us from classical cases are also effective in protecting us from the atypical cases.


What we do know is the firewall that protects us from classical BSE worked to protect the food supply from BSE,” Loneragan said.


“The next step will be identifying the animal, the age of that animal and the herd of origin.


Investigations will be done on where the animal was born and raised and the herd will be studied to see if there are any other animals exhibiting symptoms of BSE.


Of course, we are very early in our investigation, and we will continue to update the public as it unfolds. It’s important to note that BSE isn’t contagious.


It can’t be passed from animal to animal or animal to person. It is transmitted from contaminated feed.


However, there is a possibility that it’s not from the feed; it’s a spontaneous, sporadic event that might occur in older animals.


Regardless of whether we completely understand this atypical strain of BSE, it’s important to know that we have the controls needed to protect the human and animal populations against BSE,” he added.


For questions and inquiries on BSE, direct consumers and media to


Follow @BSEInfo on Twitter and utilize the hashtag #madcow and #BSEInfo in tweets.


The beef checkoff has also developed a set of talking points for producers to use in conversations about BSE. Keep current on the latest BSE news at


Click on "BSE Information and News" in the "Hot Topics" section of the opening page.


Here are a few key messages you can use in your Facebook status updates or tweets, courtesy of the beef checkoff:

by Amanda Radke in BEEF Daily






Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.

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