Japanese officials have confirmed that a Holstein cow from Hokkaido has tested positive for mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), bringing the number of cases to six since the disease was discovered in the country in September 2001.

Although nobody in Japan is believe to have died from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of the disease, the beef industry was hit hard as consumers rejected beef for fear they may become infected with vCJD. Beef consumption fell almost 70% in the aftermath of the outbreak, but has started to recover.

Industry officials have said that this latest case, the first since last August, would have little impact on the beef industry’s recovery. The Japanese government decided in October 2001 to introduce mandatory testing for BSE on all cattle slaughtered for food, reported the Saigon Times Daily.