Mad cow case in Calif. found in USDA testing
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Updated 08:39 a.m., Wednesday, April 25, 2012
(AP) — The discovery of mad cow disease in a dead dairy cow came soon after it arrived at a non-descript building in the heart of California's dairy country. By April 19, markers indicated the cow could have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a disease that is fatal to cows and can cause a deadly human brain disease in people who eat tainted meat. The building where the cow was selected to be tested sends animals to a rendering plants, which process animal parts for products not going into the human food chain, such as animal food, soap, chemicals or other household products. The infected cow was identified through an Agriculture Department surveillance program that tests about 40,000 cows a year for the fatal brain disease. The mad cow cases that plagued England in the early 1990s were caused when livestock routinely were fed protein supplements that included ground cow spinal columns and brain tissue, which can harbor the disease. The Agriculture Department is sharing its lab results with international animal health officials in Canada and England who will review the test results, Clifford said. State and federal agriculture officials plan to test other cows that lived in the same feeding herd as the infected bovine, said Michael Marsh, chief executive of Western United Dairymen, who was briefed on the plan.