The disease in cows has relapsed after six years in the U.S. According to a news report by Reuters, Major markets for U.S. beef from Canada to Japan were stable and open to imports after assurance was given to importers that surveillance systems will ensure the safety of the food system.
The USDA on Wednesday confirmed that a case of mad cow disease was found in a California dairy cow. This particular case is the 4th case found in the US since 2003. A report by the Huffington Post stated that this particular diseased cow was found in Hanford, Calif. The case was spotted by local workers during a random sampling. So far there have been no reports about the origin of this cow. No one knows which farm it came from and that’s a pressing concern.
USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford has confirmed that this cow has not entered the human food chain and that all U.S. meat and dairy supplies are safe. He further said, “It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health,” according to the same report of Huff Post.
Upon further investigations, the USDA reported that the infected cow’s carcass was being held under the custody of the state authority at a California rendering facility.
Despite the risks and awareness about the mad cow disease, importers from various countries including Mexico, Korea, Japan, Canada and the European Union will continue to import beef from the US. There are only two major retailers from South Korea who have become risk averse and are going to temporarily halt the sales.
Korean retailer Lotte Mart, a unit of Lotte Shopping Co. released a statement saying it had suspended sales due to what it said was "customer concerns", as did Home Plus, a unit of Britain's Tesco PLC.
The USDA is taking preventive and precautionary measures to reduce the threat from this particular case. Samples of the infected cow are going to be tested at high tech laboratories in Canada and Britain for final confirmation. According to USDA statements, the steps taken so far are consistent with OIE standards.
Experts monitoring this case have said that this is an anomaly and a very rare occurrence. In such instances a cow catches the disease spontaneously instead of the feed.