The nation’s fourth confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infected a 10-year, 7-month-old dairy cow on a dairy farm in California’s Tulare County.  


USDA said the animal “was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent.”   In other words, the dairy cow was demonstrating “downer” cow behavior often associated with BSE.

“It is important to reiterate that this animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, did not enter food supply channels, and at no time presented any risk to human health,” USDA said in a news release Thursday.

USDA also acknowledged some timeline changes surrounding discovery of the BSE-infected dairy cow.

Most significantly, the department said there was a four-day span between the bovine brain sample arriving at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Iowa on April 20 and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announcing the BSE positive test on April 24.

The infected cow was killed and its carcass picked up on or about April 18 by Baker Commodities, a Los Angeles-based company that owns and operates a rendering transfer station at Hanford in neighboring Kings County, CA.   

Test results on a initial brain tissue sample sent to the University of California, Davis were inconclusive on April 19, and the sample was delivered to the Iowa lab the next day.

USDA has not said exactly when NVSL knew the California dairy cow was positive for BSE, but some traders blame mad cow rumors for roiling the cattle markets early in the week before the formal announcement settled things down.

The diseased carcass, along with all other dead cows that arrived with it on the same truck, are being held in cold storage by Baker.  The diseased cow, according to USDA, never came anywhere close to being used for human or pet food.

A USDA-led epidemiological investigation is continuing with a focus on Tulare County’s dairy herds.  The diseased cow’s calves and other cows born around the same time are coming in for attention.

On the same day it promised to make the findings of its investigation public in a 

“in a timely and transparent manner,” USDA also gave the new media a bit of a lecture.   Courtney Rowe, USDA’s press secretary, in a rare memo to news organizations, said there have been “an unfortunate amount of misleading articles” on the BSE incident.

“The fact is, a stringent feed ban, the removal of all central nervous tissues during slaughter, and our BSE surveillance tests all work in concert to protect Americans and our food,” Rowe said.  “And they do work—very well.”

“Yet, some have chosen to focus on the number of tests–a number which is 10 times greater than what is required under international standards–rather than the real story: That the United States has one of the most successful and effective BSE-prevention programs in the world, helping to ensure the safety of our food for millions of consumers every day, ” Rowe added.

John Clifford, USDA’s chief veterinary officer, has spent much of his week explaining the “interlocking” defenses the U.S. has erected against mad cow disease, including the way it risk-based testing program.

“We take samples from approximately 40,000 animals each year, focusing on groups where the disease is more likely to be found.  The targeted population for ongoing surveillance includes cattle exhibiting signs of central nervous disorders or signs associated with BSE, non-ambulatory animals, and dead cattle,” Clifford said.  “The samples come from locations like farms, veterinary diagnostic laboratories, public health laboratories, slaughter facilities, veterinary clinics, and livestock markets.”

Thus, the sample taken from a cow that had to be put down after showing “downer” symptoms and was then picked up by a rendering company was exactly what the program targets.

Milk does not transmit BSE, according to scientific research reviewed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Our investigation is ongoing,” Clifford said.  “But here are a few things we do know for a fact. It is perfectly safe to eat beef and drink milk without concern for BSE.”

  • OIE says the animal was sub-clinical ;
    also, officials have confirmed it was a atypical L-type BASE BSE.
    I am deeply disturbed about the false and terribly misleading information that is being handed out by the USDA FDA et al about this recent case of the atypical L-type BASE BSE case in California. these officials are terribly misinformed (I was told they are not lying), about the risk factor and transmissibility of the atypical L-type BASE BSE. these are very disturbing transmission studies that the CDC PUT OUT IN 2012. I urge officials to come forward with the rest of this story.
    It is important to reiterate here, even though this animal did not enter the food chain, the fact that the USA now finds mad cow disease in samplings of 1 in 40,000 is very disturbing, and to add the fact that it was an atypical L-type BASE BSE, well that is very disturbing in itself. 1 out of 40,000, would mean that there were around 25 mad cows in the USA annually going by a National herd of 100 million (which now I don’t think the USA herd is that big), but then you add all these disturbing factors together, the documented link of sporadic CJD cases to atypical L-type BASE BSE, the rise in sporadic CJD cases in the USA of a new strain of CJD called ‘classification pending Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease’ cpCJD, in young and old, with long duration of clinical symptoms until death. the USA has a mad cow problem and have consistently covered it up. it’s called the SSS policy. …see full text with updated transmission studies and science on the atypical L-type BASE BSE Jan. 2012 CDC. …
    ***Oral Transmission of L-type Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Primate Model
    ***Infectivity in skeletal muscle of BASE-infected cattle
    ***feedstuffs- It also suggests a similar cause or source for atypical BSE in these countries.
    ***Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
    Thursday, April 26, 2012
    Update from USDA Regarding a Detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States WASHINGTON bulletin at 04/26/2012 10:11 PM EDT
    i lost my Mother to the Heidenhain Variant of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease ‘confirmed’ DOD 12/14/97, and i knew the usda et al were not telling the truth back then. they still aren’t. …
    Terry S. Singeltary Sr. Bacliff, Texas USA 77518

  • The USDA is deceiving the public about the true risks from mad cow prion diseases.
    Out of about 35 million animals slaughtered, only 35,000 are tested for mad cow –1/10th of one percent. There are 1.9 million “Downers” – diseased, disabled, dead or dying cows each year. At least one million of the downers are rendered into pet and animal feeds. These downers are the animals most likely to have mad cow disease. But ONLY 5000 downers are BSE tested at the renderers – less than 0.005%: “Samples are collected from renderers and 3D/4D facilities, with a quota set at 5,000 samples.”
    {USDA has not disclosed what happens to the other 900,000 downers each year.}
    -Bovine Amyloidotic Spongiform Encephalopathy is a strain of mad cow disease which the USDA says
    presents no risk to humans or animals “because it is not transmissible”.
    Published, peer reviewed studies reveal otherwise:
    “Intraspecies Transmission of BASE Induces Clinical Dullness and Amyotrophic Changes”
    ‘Several lines of evidence suggest that BASE is highly virulent and easily transmissible to a wide host range. ”
    ( Lombardi, G, et al 2008)
    “Atypical BSE in Germany— Proof of transmissibility and biochemical characterization”
    (Buschman, A. et als – 2006)”
    ” Atypical BSE (BASE) transmitted from asymptomatic aging cattle to a primate”
    (Comoy, E.E. et als – 2008)”
    Dr. Claudio Soto, et al, have confirmed that Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a prion disease – 6 million US victims – new case every 69 seconds.
    The common neuropathy in both AD victims and BASE mad cows is the presence of amyloid plaques in the brains.
    Aging asymptomatic dairy cows infected with BASE mad cow, are ending up untested and undetected in huge industrial mixing vats of hamburger, each containing meat from 50 to 100 animals from multiple states and two to four countries
    Helane Shields, Alton, NH 03809