OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada confirmed its 15th case of mad cow disease since 2003 on Monday and identified the animal as a seven-year-old dairy cow born well after Ottawa banned feed practices thought to spread the disease.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said no part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed supply. The cow was discovered on a farm in the Pacific province of British Columbia.
“The age and location of the infected animal are consistent with previous cases detected in Canada,” said the CFIA, which has blamed infected feed for most of the earlier cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.
Mad cow disease is believed to be spread when cattle eat protein rendered from the brains and spines of infected cattle or sheep. Canada banned that practice in 1997.
The CFIA tightened feed rules further in 2007 and said this should help eliminate the disease nationally within a decade, although it cautioned that it still expected to discover the occasional new case.
Canada has been deemed a “controlled risk” country for mad cow disease by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) because of its surveillance and control measures. The CFIA said the new case should not affect that classification.
The initial case of BSE in 2003 caused havoc in the beef industry after major buyers, including the United States, banned Canadian beef and cattle. In August, Mexico imposed a two-month ban on live cattle imports from Canada after the CFIA revealed the 14th case of mad cow disease.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson