Canada's eighth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in a press release Wednesday.
The infected animal was a mature beef cow from Alberta and no part of the animal's carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems, according to the CFIA.
Information provided by the owner and an examination conducted by a private veterinarian estimate the animal was between eight and ten years of age. Based on this range, the animal's exposure to the BSE agent likely occurred either before the introduction of Canada's feed ban in 1997 or early in its implementation.
A CFIA investigation is working to locate the farm from which the positive animal originated. This information, if determined, will serve to definitively verify the animal's age as well as help identify herdmates of interest and potential sources of contaminated feed. As has been done in the past, the CFIA said it will conduct a complete epidemiological review of this case, the results of which will be made public.
In a statement released Wednesday, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns said, "With the information currently available we do not anticipate a change in the status of beef imports from Canada. While our risk assessment anticipated multiple cases of BSE, we are confident that the interlocking safeguards in place in both Canada and the U.S. are providing effective consumer protection."