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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs