Alberta dairy cow found with mad cow disease

Fri Mar 4, 2011 10:05am EST
 
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canadian government officials have found a dairy cow in Alberta with mad cow disease, but the finding is not surprising and shouldn't affect beef exports, a spokesman for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Friday.

The agency confirmed the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE as the disease is also known, on February 18 in a 77-month-old dairy cow, spokesman Guy Gravelle said.

In 2003, the first discovery of a cow in Canada with the disease led to closures of numerous export markets to Canadian beef. Most have reopened, other than South Korea and China, and importers are no longer as sensitive to new cases as countries such as Canada now have monitoring systems in place.

Canada continues to be rated a "controlled risk" for the disease by the World Organization for Animal Health, Gravelle said. The newest case may delay any upgrade to Canada's international risk status as a country cannot apply for negligible status sooner than 11 years after the latest-born case.

The cow has been destroyed and no part of its carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems, Gravelle said.

The case, which is believed to be Canada's 18th, should not affect exports of Canadian cattle or beef, he said, as a small number of BSE cases are expected as Canada monitors for the disease.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; Editing by Walter Bagley)