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Mad Cow Disease Discovered In California

Mad cow disease has been found in California. Officials insist there's no cause for alarm.

cow

Photo: Stuart Alldred (Flickr)

About 40,000 cows are randomly tested by the USDA each year for mad cow disease.

Mad cow disease has been found in a California cow — the first documented case the United States has seen since 2006.

Not To Worry?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture insists the food supply is safe and that the discovery of the sick animal shows randomized testing procedures are working.

The cow in question was headed for a rendering plant, which turns carcasses into pet food or inedible industrial products.

Always Fatal

Mad cow disease is caused by deformed proteins called prions that induce devastating mutations in healthy brain and spinal tissues.

The human version of mad cow, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), is thought to be contracted through eating contaminated meat. According to the Centers for Disease Control, CJD is rapidly progressive and always fatal.

Indonesia has suspended the importation of U.S. beef indefinitely.

Read More:

  • Mad Cow Disease: What You Need To Know Now (NPR)
  • Mad cow case confirmed in California (CNN)
  • Mad cow disease finding shows that food inspection system is working (Washington Post)
  • When Good Proteins Go Bad (A Moment Of Science)
  • Indonesia halts US beef imports amid mad cow case (The Boston Globe)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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