U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Monday, Jan. 3, that a second case of
Mad Cow disease has been detected in Canada. However, the department will move
ahead with plans to allow new imports of Canadian beef into the United States.
The U.S. and Canadian cases of Mad Cow have had a serious
effect on some segments of the trucking industry.
cow in the province of Alberta that was slaughtered in January was diagnosed
with the illness. It led the U.S. government to cut off beef shipments across
the U.S.-Canadian border, severely impacting the beef industry – and the
truckers who haul the beef.
new case in Canada is raising concerns again, but officials are optimistic.
infected animal was born in 1996, prior to the implementation of Canada’s 1997
feed ban,” Ron DeHaven, administrator of the Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service, said in a statement. “No part of the animal entered the human food or animal feed
USDA announced new rules Dec. 29 under which beef from Canada could return.
that time, U.S. officials expressed confidence in protective measures the
Canadians had put into place.
is confident that the animal and public health measures that Canada has in
place to prevent BSE, combined with existing U.S. domestic safeguards and
additional safeguards provided in the final rule, provide the utmost
protections to U.S. consumers and livestock,” USDA officials said in a news
U.S. government banned the imports after Canada’s first-ever case of Mad Cow –
formally known as bovine
spongiform encephalopathy – was discovered more than a year and a half ago.
long after that – on Dec. 23, 2003 – the
United States announced its first case of the disease. In that case, the
infected cow was imported from Canada.
said that under the new regulations, Canada could detect as many as 11 cases of Mad Cow in its cattle
population and still be considered a “minimal-risk country” – allowing it to
continue sending cattle into the United States – as long as the nation’s
preventative measures stayed in effect.
an earlier statement, Agriculture
Secretary Ann M. Veneman, referring to the new rules, said. “Our approach is
consistent with guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal
Health and relies on appropriate, science-based risk-mitigation measures.
conducting an extensive review, we are confident that imports of certain
commodities from regions of minimal risk can occur with virtually no risk to
human or animal health.”
first U.S. case was detected in Washington state later that year. In response to
that announcement, eight nations in Asia banned American beef imports, and some – including Japan, the No. 1 importer of U.S. beef, South Korea, the No. 2 importer
and No. 3 U.S. beef customer Mexico – recalled what was already on the shelves.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a chronic, degenerative
disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle, according to the USDA
Web site. Worldwide, more than 180,000 cases have been reported since it was
first diagnosed in 1986 in Great Britain. More than 95 percent of all mad cow
cases have been in that country.
There is no treatment for Mad Cow disease, the USDA said,
and all affected cattle die.
The human form of the disease is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob
Disease. That illness is thought to be caused by people eating parts of an
affected cow such as brain and spinal cord.
More common in Europe, the illness has led to more than 100 deaths.