USDA Places Two California Dairies under Quarantine as BSE Investigation Continues

May 3, 2012 12:12 PM

One identified offspring of BSE cow has tested negative for the disease; Calf ranch is also under investigation

USDA has placed two California dairies under quarantine in the wake of its April 24 announcement that a California cow had been detected with atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

In addition, one offspring of the BSE-positive cow has tested negative for the disease. A calf ranch where the initial positive cow was raised 10 years ago also is being investigated.

Through its continuing epidemiological investigation, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has identified two offspring of the positive cow. One progeny born in the last two years was stillborn, and another has been located on a site in another state.

"That animal has been appraised, humanely euthanized, and sampled for BSE at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa," USDA said May 2. "Test results for that animal are negative for BSE. No birth cohort cattle have been located through the investigation."

A hold order has been placed on all cattle at a second dairy ("dairy 2") that is associated with the Tulare County dairy of the initial positive cow (also called the "index dairy"), USDA-APHIS said. Both dairies remain under quarantine. Inventories of both the index dairy and dairy 2 have been completed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which is collaborating with USDA on the investigation.

Records are still being matched and validated to determine if any at-risk cattle may be present.

The Food and Drug Administration and CDFA are continuing their investigation of feed records at the index dairy, rendering facility and calf ranch. To date, 10 feed firms have been identified as suppliers for the index dairy during the time period of interest. At the rendering facility, feed investigators confirmed that all domestic distribution of meat and bone meal meets federal labeling requirements.

The disease was detected after the animal’s carcass was tested during a routine random sampling at a Central California rendering plant. It was the fourth confirmed case of BSE in the U.S. The animal was 10 years and 7 months old and came from a dairy farm in Tulare County. The animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent.

USDA has stressed that the animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, and never presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the U.S.

USDA said it will continue to work closely with CDFA and FDA to provide additional information as it is available.

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