BSE Surveillance Program Is Working, California Ag Official Says

April 24, 2012 10:29 AM

Numerous safeguards prevent BSE from entering the food chain; Detection shows California dairy cow had atypical and rare form of the disease.

California’s top agriculture official said today the detection of BSE in a dairy cow shows the surveillance program in place to detect the disease is working. 

Referring to USDA announcement today of the detection of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a California dairy cow, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross emphasized that "milk and beef remain safe to consume."

"The disease is not transmitted through milk," Ross said. "Because of the strength of the food protection system, the cow did not enter the food or feed supply. There are numerous safeguards in place to prevent BSE from entering the food chain."

The atypical BSE designation is important because this is a very rare form of BSE not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed. CDFA veterinarians are working with the USDA to investigate this case and to identify whether additional cows are at risk.

"Feed restrictions in place in California and around the country for the last 15 years minimize that risk to the greatest degree possible," said Ross, just returned from a trade mission to South Korea. "We will provide additional information about this case as it becomes available." 

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