Uh oh. Looks what’s back. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed this afternoon that it found a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as mad cow disease.
The disease was found in a dairy cow in central California, but fortunately no parts of the animal entered the food supply.
The USDA has alerted authorities at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as its U.S. trading partners, but the finding shouldn’t affect the nation’s exports of beef, according to John Clifford, chief veterinary officer for the USDA.
U.S. cattle markets plunged once word of the mad cow disease find began to spread.
This newest case marks the fourth time mad cow disease, which is believed to cause a deadly brain disease in humans who eat infected parts, has been discovered in the U.S.
The carcass of the cow, which the USDA says was infected by an “atypical” form of mad cow disease, has been destroyed.
The cow was not believed to have contracted the disease by eating contaminated food.
“There is really no concern for alarm here with regards to this animal. Both human health and animal health are protected with regards to this issue,” Clifford told reporters.
The California cow was found at a rendering plant, the USDA said, adding that the organization was still trying to trace the exact life of the infected animal.
Rendering plants turn sick animals into non-edible products like soap, solvents, glue, anti-freeze, and shoe polish.
The first outbreak of mad cow disease in the United States occurred in late 2003, roiling global trade in beef.
“The impact should not affect exports. Now, I’m not saying it may or may not, but it should not,” Clifford said.
Learn more about mad cow disease in the video below.