Not with a mad cow in California.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. authorities reported the first U.S. case of mad cow disease in six years on Tuesday and quickly assured consumers and global importers that meat from the California dairy cow did not enter the food chain.
John Clifford, the USDA’s chief veterinary officer, said the case was “atypical” and that there was “no cause for alarm” from the animal. Cows can contract the disease spontaneously in rare cases and that it cannot be transmitted unless the brain or spinal tissue is consumed by humans or another animal, according to scientists.
Mad cow, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, is believed to cause the deadly brain disease variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob in humans who eat infected parts from animals with the disease. The first mad cow case in the United States was in late 2003 and caused the nation’s beef exports to drop by nearly $3 billion the following year.
There is no evidence that humans can catch it from drinking the milk of an infected cow. However, fears of a potential backlash among consumers and big importers of U.S. beef caused Chicago live cattle futures to drop sharply.
The USDA has begun notifying authorities at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as U.S. trading partners, but the finding should not affect the nation’s beef exports, Clifford said. The USDA is still tracing the exact life of the infected animal.
The carcass of the cow, which the USDA said was infected by an “atypical” form of the disease, is under quarantine and would be destroyed. The cow, which was found at a rendering plant that processes diseased or sick animals into non-edible products for use in things like soap or glue, was not believed to have contracted the disease by eating contaminated feed, the USDA said.
I was already turned off to eating beef and drinking dairy before reading the article, but that last part – about the poor cow being re-purposed into soap and glue – made me gag.
It’s veggies from here on out…or until I get a craving for this again.