Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge is serving beef to her family tonight, and she says there’s no cause for alarm given the discovery that a slaughtered dairy cow in Washington state had Mad Cow disease. Judge says it’s an isolated case in a spot that’s closer to Canada than to Iowa. She says U-S-D-A is handling things appropriately. Judge was on an hour-long conference call this morning with U-S-D-A officials. Judge says the herd’s been isolated and everything’s “under control.” Judge says the U-S-D-A is recalling all the meat from that Washington state packer that was processed on the day the suspect animal was slaughtered. Joel Brinkmeyer of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is urging consumers to stick to their beef-buying habits. Brinkmeyer says U-S beef is the safest in the world, and he says there’s no evidence Mad Cow — also known as “B-S-E” — can be passed to humans through the “muscle-cuts” from cattle. Brinkmeyer says researchers have been unable to find any evidence the disease is transferred through the meat cuts. So how did the folks in Great Britian who’ve died from the disease contract it? Brinkmeyer says meat processors in Great Britian do not completely remove the brains, spinal cord and entire nervous system. He says if that isn’t completely removed, the disease may be transmitted in that fashion. The nervous system of cattle is removed when beef is processed in the U-S. An Iowa State University animal medicine expert says the discovery of Mad Cow Disease in a dairy cow that was slaughtered in Washington state should not affect the way Iowa farmers operate. Nolan Hartwig says if a farmer sees any signs of a central nervous system disorder in their cattle, they should call a veterinarian, but Hartwig says he would have offered that same advice yesterday morning, before the news that Mad Cow had been found in the U-S. Hartwig says vets believe the disease is transferred animal-to-animal, through contaminated feed that contains the ground up bone and meat from cattle. Hartwig says that’s why there’s a ban in the U-S on that kind of feed for sheep and cattle. As for the dairy cow in question, Hartwig says there are just a few ways it could have contracted Mad Cow. Hartwig says it could have been an old cow that ate some of that suspect feed before the ban went into effect in 1997, or he says there’s a slim possibility it was a “spontaneous mutation” in a single animal.
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