The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa confirmed that a routine surveillance sample obtained from a Holstein cow carcass at a rendering plant in the Central Valley of California was positive for the atypical strain of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). No part of this carcass entered the human or animal food chain.
BSE is a Foreign Animal Disease to the United States caused by an infectious protein particle called a prion. There are two strains of BSE. The typical strain, which was linked to outbreaks in the United Kingdom and Canada, is known to be preventable through the elimination of BSE-contaminated feed. Food and Drug Administration regulations have prohibited the inclusion of mammalian protein in feed for cattle and other ruminants since 1997 and have also prohibited high risk tissue materials in all animal feed since 2009. The typical strain of BSE has never been identified in U.S. born cattle. The atypical strain of BSE appears to represent a sporadic disease that is different from what is usually seen.
A Joint USDA/CDFA Incident Command is being established to manage the trace back investigation of this case for identification and removal of other at-risk cattle.