US health officials have detected an atypical case of “mad cow disease” in a beef cow at a slaughter plant in the state of South Carolina, they announced Friday (19th May 2023).
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the animal “never entered the slaughter channels and at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health in the United States.”
The agency stated that the United States has a “negligible risk status” for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), as the neurologic condition is officially called, and “we do not expect any trade impacts as a result of this finding.”
Eating contaminated meat is linked to the fatal human condition Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
BSE exists in two forms—atypical and classical. The atypical variant sporadically occurs in older cattle, while the classical form is spreads when fodder for the herds contains meat and bone from infected animals.
The classical form poses more danger to humans.
This is the seventh time BSE has been detected in the United States over the past 20 years, and all but one of them have been atypical, officials said.
Past BSE cases in the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe and Japan have caused disruptions to the global food trade worth billions of dollars.
But the US health agency was confident that the fresh finding “will not change the negligible risk status of the United States, and should not lead to any trade issues.”