A confirmed case of mad cow disease in a California dairy cow should not be a cause for alarm in Kansas, according to Gov. Sam Brownback. He joined the Kansas Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman in asking Kansans to continue buying beef and dairy products.
“Consumers should remain confident that beef and milk in Kansas is safe,” the Governor wrote in a statement. “This case does not present a risk to the food supply or public health.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, early this week. The neurodegenerative brain disease can be passed to humans who eat infected beef. It can not be transmitted through milk.
The discovery isn’t keeping the Governor from eating beef, however.
“I had beef for lunch today,” Brownback said.
The infected bovine did not enter the food supply.
“The surveillance system worked,” Rodman said.
As part of the U.S.’s food safety program, the USDA bans specific materials from the food supply, including parts of an infected animal that are most likely to contain mad cow disease. Bovine muscle tissue, for example, even that of an infected animal does not carry the BSE. Nonambulatory cattle are also prevented from entering the human food chain.
According to the USDA, there were only 29 cases of BSE worldwide in 2011. The number marked a 99 percent reduction in mad cow disease since its peak of 37,311 cases in 1992. The infected California dairy cow was the fourth confirmed case of BSE in the U.S. Previous cases were in Washington state in 2004, Texas in 2005 and Alabama in 2006.
— Danedri Thompson