News

USDA Confirms Case of Mad Cow Disease in California

Two South Korean retailers have discontinued selling U.S.-imported beef after a new case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States.

John Clifford, the chief veterinary officer for the U.S. Agriculture Department, announced the discovery Tuesday.


"The animal was a dairy cow from the state of California," said Clifford.  "Our laboratory confirmed the findings and also indicated that it was an atypical form of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) which is a rare form of the disease. It is not likely to be attributable to infected feed, which is the method in which normally BSE would be spread from from cow to cow."

South Korean agricultural officials say they will step up inspections of U.S. beef imports in light of Tuesday's announcement, but says it will not suspend customs clearance of U.S. beef, which would have effectively halted the imports.

Seoul imposed an import ban on U.S. beef after the initial discovery of mad cow disease.  It ended the ban in 2008 after reaching an agreement with Washington, an agreement which sparked several weeks of mass street protests.   South Korea imported 107,000 tons of beef in 2011.

The discovery could have an impact on current negotiations between the U.S. and Japan over a trans-Pacific trade deal.  Tokyo also banned U.S. beef imports in 2003, but agreed in 2005 to limit the imports to cattle 20 months old or younger.

Mad Cow Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease

  • Mad Cow Disease is scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.
  • It is a fatal degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of cattle.
  • Scientists believe it is spread by feeding animals BSE-contaminated meat and bone meal.
  • Humans do not get BSE.
  • Data links eating BSE-contaminated cattle products with variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease in humans.
  • Since variant CJD was first reported in 1996, 244 patients from 11 countries have been identified with the brain-degenerating disease.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimara told reporters Wednesday the discovery will have no bearing on the trade talks.

"Basing our information on the scientific facts, the matter in question is completely separate. The BSE (mad cow disease) situation, with regards to the discussion surrounding TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), has absolutely no relationship. Please clearly understand this point," said Fujimara.

Fujimara also said the government will not change its inspection process, since the infected cow was older than 30 months.  

Clifford said at no time was human health at risk.  He said the affected cow was never meant to be slaughtered for meat and that milk does not transmit the disease.

Clifford said longstanding safeguards by the United States and other countries to protect humans from mad cow disease are working.  He noted there were just 29 cases of the disease worldwide in 2011, dramatically down from the peak of more than 37,000 cases in 1992.

Mad cow disease attacks the brains of affected cattle.  It is always fatal.  Doctors believe people can come down with a human form of the disease by eating tainted meat.

Clifford said agriculture officials are sharing the laboratory results with the World Organization for Animal Health.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: William
April 25, 2012 12:04 PM
Hey Clem! Yes Clevis? Instead of throwing away all these here cow parts lets grind them up and add it to the cow feed so as we can maximize our profits.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs