The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been detected in an approximately six-year-old cross-bred cow born and raised in Alberta. No part of the cow entered the animal feed or human food systems, the agency said.

The location of the case and the age of the cow are consistent with the three previous cases of mad cow disease found in Canadian cattle since 2003. The finding, detected through the national BSE surveillance programme, is consistent with a low-level of the disease and does not represent an increased risk of BSE infection.

The agency said that the discovery does not represent a risk to public health: “Canada has a suite of safeguards that work together to systematically limit the risks to animal and public health associated with BSE. These measures include import controls, surveillance of the national cattle herd and the removal of potentially harmful tissues from all animals slaughtered for human consumption. Of principal importance from an animal health perspective is Canada’s feed ban, which is designed to limit BSE spread and eradicate the disease over time.”