DUBLIN – Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine reported a suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, nearly six months after the United States dropped a 15-year-old ban on beef produced in the European Union.

The agency said the case was found in County Louth, which borders Northern Ireland. The animal was not presented for slaughter and did not enter the food chain, DAFM said. A full investigation into the case is underway.

“If, as expected, the tests confirm this to be a classical case of BSE, this may impact Ireland’s recently awarded “negligible risk status” from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),” the DAFM said in a statement. “In this case Ireland will revert to “controlled risk status” which applied up to last week and which facilitated trade to a wide range of international markets. It will also result in the continuation of the existing range of controls for a further number of years.”

The US ended its ban on beef produced in the European Union following a successful inspection by US authorities of Ireland’s beef production systems in July 2014.