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Dairy Facts 2016

APHIS Confirms BSE Detection, Reaffirms Safety of Dairy Products

Apr 25, 2012

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed yesterday the detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow from central California, marking the nation's fourth case of BSE. The cow was not presented for slaughter for human consumption, and at no time did it present a risk to the food supply or human health.

USDA stressed that scientific research indicates BSE cannot be transmitted in cow's milk, even if the milk comes from a cow with BSE. 

In its press release, USDA said strong interlocking safeguards protect human and animal health, as well as food safety, in the United States. These safeguards include the removal of specified risk materials, which are the tissues that may contain the BSE agent in an infected animal, from the human food chain.

BSE is a fatal neurological disease among cattle. USDA is always monitoring for BSE to make sure that if a case is detected, the source can be identified and eliminated. Dairy farmers also are vigilant about what they feed cows and strictly follow the Food and Drug Administration measures put in place to prevent the spread of BSE in the United States.

"We are pleased that USDA's and FDA's system of safeguards has kept the U.S. food supply safe," said Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs. "It's also important to reiterate that the U.S. dairy supply remains safe because milk and milk products cannot contain or transmit BSE."

For more information, contact Detlefsen at



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