BSE cow was found on Spruce Grove farm

The animal recently found to have mad cow disease was from a farm near Spruce Grove, outside of Edmonton, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed.

Cow was born in 2009, two years after introduction of stricter feed rules

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the cow was born on another farm in Alberta, but have not released the exact location. (CBC)

The animal recently found to have mad cow disease was from a farm near Spruce Grove, outside of Edmonton, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed.

The cow, which was born on a different farm in the province, tested positive earlier this month for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The CFIA has not released the location of the farm where the cow was born.

Paul Meyers, the CFIA's vice-president of policy and program, said the cow was born in March 2009, two years after an enhanced feed ban was introduced in response to previous cases of BSE in the province.

"No system is perfect," he said. "The feed ban served it purpose to intercept and minimized the potential for infection in Canada’s cattle population.”

He noted that several counties in the European Union had infected animals born after similar feed bans. While the cause of the infection isn't known, the feed the cow ate is considered the most likely source. 

He said the Spruce Grove farm has been quarantined. He called this an isolated incident and said the agency is still investigating, and is now looking for animals of "equivalent risk" that may have eaten the same feed as the infected cow. 

The CFIA said no part of the animal's body entered the food system, although it is unable to determine where the animal would have ended up if the infection had not been detected. 

The discovery of the BSE cow earlier this month prompted South Korea to suspend imports of Canadian beef. Indonesia has also suspended imports of bone meal from Canada. However, Meyers said the CFIA is working with both countries to re-establish trade. 

"We are very much considering this business as usual," he said. 

The CFIA said the discovery of the animal would push back Canada's application to have its beef industry listed as a "negligible" BSE risk, which requires a country to go 11 years without an confirmed case of an infected animal being born within its borders.

Without any future cases, Canada will be able to apply for the status in 2020. 


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