The USDA has issued its final report on the investigation into bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), popularly known as Mad Cow disease, on a California dairy cow in April 2012. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked with the FDA, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and local officials on the investigation.
The investigation included on-the-ground investigations, records review from the rendering facility, the farm and associated premises, and traceback for progeny of the affected cow. The agencies have concluded that “at no time was the U.S. food supply or human health at risk, and that the United States’ longstanding system of interlocking safeguards against BSE continues to be effective.” The animal was never slaughtered for human consumption so did not present a risk to the food supply.
The animal was a 10 year, 7 month-old Holstein cow from a dairy in central California. After the cow lost the ability to walk, it was euthanized and sampled as part of the USDA’s BSE surveillance program. Results confirmed the positive test for atypical BSE. Samples were sent to the World Health ORganization for Animal Health labs in CAnada and England.
The cow had one live offspring, which was euthanized and tested. It was negative for BSE. No “birth cohorts” of the animal were found alive.
A feed investigation found that twelve feed suppliers provided feed to the farm. One was no longer in business. The other eleven were in compliance with FDA and CDFA regulations. You can see a full report on the feed investigation at the FDA web site. None of the facilities had used prohibited material in their feed, although one had distributed prohibited material but didn’t use it to manufacture feed.
Six facilities used only vegetable protein sources. Five used blood meal (one used only porcine origin blood meal). Two facilities used feather meal protein, two used fish meal, and one used porcine origin MBM.