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Fresh mad cow case in Canada

world Updated: Aug 16, 2008 11:19 IST
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Mad cow disease has struck Canada once again, with the country's food authorities reporting yet another case on Friday.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that a six-year-old cow was found to be afflicted with the disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on a farm in Alberta province.

It assured the Canadians that no meat from the animal has entered the food chain or the animal feed system. This is the 14th case of mad cow disease in Canada which has been declared ``safe'' by the World Health Organization after the last case two years ago.

The food agency said it is tracking other animals of the herd which came in contact the diseased cow to know whether they have been infected. Since the disease is caused by the consumption of feed which contains traces of brains and spines of infected animals, the agency is also tracing the source of the feed.

Though Canada banned the use of brains and spines in animal feed in 1997 after BSE outbreak in Europe, the new case is a bad news for the economy.

Earlier, when many countries banned beef imports from Canada after a number of cases reported after 2003, the government provided millions of dollars as compensation to cattle farms.

There are more than 13 million cows and calves in Canada, with Alberta province accounting for more than 42 per cent of the total bovine population. The province also accounts for about 40 per cent of beef exports each year.

Canada earns more than $2 billion annually from beef exports, which have seen a five-fold increase since 1990.