Officials in Norway have announced that nation’s first-ever case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the neurological disease in cattle more commonly known as “mad cow disease,” according to Reuters. The disease was found in a 15-year-old cow that had been slaughtered for food, but no portion of the cow reached the consumer food system. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is telling citizens it is safe to eat beef and drink milk. Officials are also saying that the disease was not transmitted via the feed supply and there is no associated outbreak. The first known case of BSE occurred in the U.K. in 1986. Since then, more than 150 people in the U.K. have fallen ill and died from the human counterpart to BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). The disease originated with the practice of feeding cattle meat and bone meal to cattle herds as a substitute for soybeans, which can be difficult to grow in Europe. Humans can contract vCJD from eating meat contaminated with brain or spinal tissue from cattle infected with BSE, which is not destroyed when cooked. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced plans to ease regulations on beef imports in regard to BSE. The U.S. has banned beef imports from Europe since 1998 due to mad cow scares. The latest USDA move would align the U.S. with international policies on BSE, while potentially opening up U.S. beef exports to new markets. The U.S. was recently adjusted to the safest classification for BSE risk, according to international standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health. The most recent case of BSE in the U.S. occurred in 2012 in a California dairy cow which had developed the L-type BSE as in the latest German case. The other three U.S. cases occurred in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Another 19 BSE cases have occurred in Canada, the first being a 1993 case in a cow imported from the U.K. In the U.S. and other countries regulating BSE, cattle feed can no longer contain the meat of other ruminant animals. USDA runs a surveillance program for BSE, and slaughterhouses are required to remove the brains and spinal cords from all carcasses.