Nebraska Cattlemen ease concerns over Mad Cow Disease

By: Megan Palera

Just hearing “Mad Cow” can spark panic, but we learned today this isn't your typical case. Local cattlemen say the food that reaches your dinner table is safe.

A dairy cow at a rendering plant in California tested positive Tuesday for Mad Cow Disease. The USDA says it's a rare form that spontaneously developed in this one cow. It didn't come from infected cattle feed.

So what does it mean for the food you eat? The Nebraska Cattlemen say all beef is safe.

“What's important to remember is that our testing and surveillance program found this cow and she was removed, never presented into the food chain. Again, another reason consumers can be confident,” said Michael Kelsey, Executive VP with Nebraska Cattlemen.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture also trying to ease concerns, saying in a statement, “The United States has in place a number of science-based protocols to assure the production of safe, wholesome beef and dairy products. Consumers worldwide can continue to enjoy beef and dairy products from Nebraska.”

This latest case of Mad Cow is now the fourth one discovered in the United States, the first since 2006.

The disease can be fatal to people who eat tainted beef. It's linked to a rare and deadly nerve disease. But the USDA says the rare form of Mad Cow found in the California dairy cow is not known to be transmissible to other animals or humans. The USDA says, your dairy and beef supply is still safe.

“This particular animal did not enter the food supply so there is not concern about that,” said John Clifford, Chief Veterinary Officer with the USDA.

While the Government does inspect for Mad Cow Disease on a daily basis, some critics say more cows need to be tested.