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New Mad cow case confirmed in Canada

Canada's eighth case of mad-cow disease in a mature beef cow has been confirmed from Alberta by government officials on Wednesday.//

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has assured people that no part of the animal's carcass has entered human or animal food chains.

The CFI said, "Preliminary information provided by the owner and an examination conducted by a private veterinarian estimate the animal's age was between eight and ten years of age."

"Based on this range, exposure to the (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) agent likely occurred either before the feed ban's introduction or during its early implementation."

The government agency revealed that the age of the animal is consistent with those of previous Canadian cases as well as its probable exposure to a low level of BSE infectivity. Investigations are underway to find the farm where the animal was born.

According to the CFIA this information would help to confirm the animal's age and identify other cows of similar background, and also potential sources of contaminated feed. The newly identified cow in question was found through the national surveillance program, which mostly targets likely to be affected by BSE.

Since 2003, over 117,500 cattle from the highest risk populations have been tested through this program. In the meantime United States has announced that it would further delay lifting a ban on the import of older Canadian cattle last month.

The Agriculture Department said that Washington was poised to resume imports of older cattle and beef from older animals, but those plans were stopped to await completion of investigations into Canada's recent BSE cases.

Under new rules announced in June, risky cattle parts will be banned from all animal feed, not just feed destined for cows.

According to the CFIA regulations, are to be phased in over the next year, which would prevent "more than 99 per cent of any potential BSE infectivity from entering the Canadian feed system."

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