Canada, a major exporter of beef whose markets include the United States, Japan, and China, has confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in Alberta, reports Reuters.
It is the country’s first case of the disease since 2011.
When contaminated meat is consumed, humans can contract a variation of the fatal, degenerative neurological disorder known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking to confirm the age of the animal, its history and how it became infected.
The investigation will focus in on the feed supplied to this animal during the first year of its life,” the agency announced.
The CFIA also said that no part of the cow had reached any human or animal feed systems, and that exports of beef and cattle should not be affected.
“Overall we are not too concerned there will be much impact,” said John Masswohl, director of government and international relations at the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.