The recently reported BSE case in Canada continues to impact beef exporters, with Australia, Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand, Russia and Singapore joining Japan, South Korea and the US in banning imports of Canadian beef.

Meanwhile, a Canadian official has acknowledged that samples from a cow infected with BSE were held onto for four months, possibly allowing any other potentially infected cows into the food chain.

Dr Claude Lavigne, an official at Canada’s animal products directorate, said officials were searching for any cows also infected with mad cow disease, as a precautionary measure.

Samples from the sick cow were taken by Canadian veterinarians on 31 January at a rendering plant. They suspected the cow had pneumonia, which led to a long delay in processing the samples. The Samples were sent to the Edmonton laboratory on 8 February.

“They sat there until we had time to process them,” Dr Gerald Ollis, Canada’s chief provincial veterinarian, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Canadian officials said none of the infected animal went into the food supply. Although it appears to be an isolated case, officials are still investigating where the eight year old cow was born and any other cattle it may have been into contact with. BSE has an incubation period in a cow of up to eight years.

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