The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Tuesday that California might be confronting with a new case of mad cow outburst, according to CNN. The virus was discovered after performing tests on a dairy cow at Baker Commodities Inc., a facility located in Hanford, California.
Baker Commodities Inc. took part in the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) surveillance program, which is why they decided to perform various tests on their animal products. For that, they randomly selected an animal last Wednesday and the samples were taken to UC Davis for initial testing. The results came out inconclusive, so the samples were sent to USDA’s laboratory in Ames, Iowa where scientists identified the first traces of the mad cow virus.
Authorities have identified four cases of mad cow disease in California, but public health officials claim that the risk to public was very low. They decided to keep the carcass in quarantine on Tuesday night. According to Dennis Luckey, Vice President at Baker Commodities Inc., the company is waiting for USDA to give the first directions on how to dispose the infested meat.
Dennis Luckey explained that the tests were performed because the company is removing dead animals from the dairies located in Central Valley. These were the only details that the vice president wanted to share with the press. He did not disclose where the infested animal was found, but added that he plans to perform more tests on animals from now on. The company is currently testing 1,000 to 2,000 animals and this is a “small percentage” as compared to the overall number of products that Baker renders.
Specialists stated that the carcass would have been transformed in various meat products if it hadn’t been tested. Despite this, there would have been very small chances for people to get the mad cow disease because USDA prohibits the use of high-risk parts of the cow. Thanks to their regulations, food chains cannot use brains and spinal cords in their products.
The bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a severe disease that is responsible for the fatal brain illness in humans called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. More than 150 people died because of this illness during an outbreak in Britain between the 80s and the 90s.