Possible case of mad cow found in United States

Saturday, June 11, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The government is checking a possible case of mad cow disease in the United States in an animal previously cleared of being infected, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said more tests were needed to confirm the disease, but emphasized that the animal did not enter the food supply.

"It's going to require additional testing before we can confirm one way or another whether this is BSE (mad cow disease)," said Dr. John Clifford, chief veterinary officer of the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

A sample from the animal is being sent to a laboratory in Weybridge, England, which provided independent confirmation of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease. The Agriculture Department will also conduct further tests.

Johanns said the new test result should not interfere with efforts to persuade foreign beef customers to reopen their markets. Dozens of countries banned U.S. beef imports after a Washington state case. Japan has not yet lifted its ban despite agreeing to do so last fall.

"I don't anticipate problems with our trading partners," Johanns said.

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