A dairy cow has tested positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy on a California farm.

USDA testers found the infected cow while doing regular testing. The cow had died before the tests were done, but according to it’s owner it was not exhibiting symptoms of Mad Cow Disease beforehand. USDA testers have said that the cow was infected with an atypical form of Mad Cow Disease which was not obtained from eating infected cattle feed.

The infection was found while testing dead cows that were brought to the USDA’s Hanford, California testing facility. It is unclear if other cows from the dead cow’s herd were infected. The current theory is that this infection was a random mutation within the cow & did not infect others.

Currently the USDA is saying that the finding is nothing to be concerned about and are assuring people that dairy & meat are safe to eat. It does appear they are continuing to investigate the findings. The UK has not expressed concern over USA meat, while some South Korean stores have pulled USA beef temporarily.

Mad Cow Disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy(BSE) is known for the devastating effects it can have on both cow’s & human’s. Human’s that eat an infected animal can develop Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Both diseases cause deterioration in metal function & motor skills. The diseases are almost always fatal & do not have effective treatments. They can develop randomly from mutation or from eating an infected animal.

Most people know of Mad Cow Disease from the large outbreak that occurred in the UK during the 80s & 90s. While there was never a massive outbreak in the US, the outbreak did highlight the feeding practices of beef & dairy cattle in both countries. It was revealed that the cows were effectively cannibals due to feed manufacturers putting all sorts of cow parts into their products. Since then reforms have been made to avoid feeding cows to other cow, however some other animal proteins are still allowed such as milk & eggs along with gelatin & hydrolysed protein from non-ruminent animals.