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Will “Mad Cow” Case Affect Idaho?

The first confirmed case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in six years has shown up in California.  Officials are still investigating how the dairy cow contracted the disease. The government is stressing there is no threat to human health because no meat from the animal was ever headed for the food supply. The cow was already dead and since it was a dairy cow, the infected animal does not pose a health hazard according to the government.  Scientists say milk does not transmit the disease. It only hurts humans when an infected animal’s meat is eaten.  So the next question is – could beef cattle be in any danger of contracting the disease? Idaho cattlemen say they aren’t too concerned. In fact, they say Idaho meat is completely safe. Wyatt Prescott with the Idaho Cattle Association says thousands of cows are tested routinely all over the country, and he thinks it’s impossible for any infected cows to have gotten into the food supply at this point. He says it’s the vigorous safety tests set in place by the USDA that caught the cow in California.  Prescott is optimistic that this will not hurt Idaho’s cattle industry.

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