CBC.CA News reports that federal inspectors are testing an animal that is suspected of having mad cow disease, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.
Mark Van Dusen, a spokesperson for the federal agency, told the Canadian Press on Sunday that inspectors should know within two days whether they’ve discovered the country’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
The animal was to undergo testing at a lab in Winnipeg.
“We have an ongoing testing program for BSE and that means from time to time we undertake confirmatory tests when we come up with a suspicious sample,” Van Dusen told the news agency.
“We are undergoing such testing on a suspicious sample.”
The animal did not enter the human or animal food chains, said Van Dusen.
He said the animal was older than 30 months, but gave few other details.
When the first Canadian case of BSE was discovered in Alberta in 2003, the United States and a number of other countries closed their borders to Canadian beef and cattle. Two other cases were confirmed in January 2005, and a fourth case detected in the United States was linked to Canada because the cow had been born on an Alberta farm.
American officials reopened the border to live Canadian cattle under the age of 30 months in July 2005.
In December 2005, Japan partially lifted a ban on U.S. and Canadian beef imports, allowing meat only from cattle younger than 21 months.
A few days ago, it closed its border again to American beef after inspectors found banned high-risk materials – cattle backbone – in a shipment from the United States.