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BSE case confirmed in Canada

Jeff Caldwell 03/07/2011 @ 9:49am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

A 6 1/2-year-old dairy cow in Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for BSE, Canada's first case in around a year and its 19th since 2003, food safety officials said late last week.

Officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said the 77-month-old cow tested positive for BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), also known as mad cow disease, on February 18. The discovery is "consistent with previous cases detected in Canada," CFIA officials said, reports indicate. As such, the case shouldn't alter Canada's "controlled-risk" status for BSE, according to CFIA.

Officials say the discovery is "fully expected" as Canada works to rid the nation's herd of BSE. But, south of the border, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard says the news of the latest case illustrates the need for stricter import rules.

"This case is the 12th BSE-positive animal to meet USDA’s age-eligibility requirement for export to the United States under the November 2007 OTM (over-30-month) rule that allows the U.S. to import cattle from Canada that are over 30 months of age, as long as such cattle were born after March 1, 1999,” Bullard says.

But, don't look for the discovery to cause much extra movement in the cattle market, one trader told Agriculture.com Markets Editor Mike McGinnis Monday morning.

"Don't think it will cause too many ripples," the trader said. "Maybe a bit of pressure on a kneejerk reaction, but I don't expect a big backlash or selloff."

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