WASHINGTON – Three days after announcing the detection of the country’s fourth case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in a dairy cow in central California, the US Department of Agriculture issued a press release providing some of the findings of the investigation into the case. The details are prefaced by the reiteration of the points that the cow was never presented for slaughter and never intended for human consumption and therefore, not a threat to human health or the food supply.

Thus far, the epidemiological probe has determined that the cow came from a dairy farm in Tulane County and was approximately 10 years and seven months old.

“The animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent. The animal’s carcass will be destroyed,” the USDA release stated.

As part of standard BSE surveillance conducted at rendering operations, samples taken at the facility were sent to a state lab for testing and then forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories on April 20 to confirm the results. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the positive test and announced the announced the finding on April 24.

In its release, USDA pointed out that safeguards are in place to detect BSE in the food supply chain, including enforcement of a feed ban, requiring the removal of specified risk material from animals intended to be used for food, and the ongoing BSE testing and surveillance program.