OTTAWAŚCanada confirmed a new case of mad cow disease Tuesday, the 12th since 2003, and said the animal in question was a six-year-old dairy cow from Alberta which had not entered the human or animal food supply.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which vows to eradicate bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) within a decade, has consistently said it expects to find a few cases of the disease.
The cow was born after Canada and the United States introduced a ban in 1997 on cattle feed that contained ingredients made from rendered cattle and other ruminants. At least four other cases involved animals born after 1997.
Canada has generally blamed contaminated feed for its cases of mad cow disease.
Many trading partners shut their borders to Canadian cattle and beef products after the first home-grown case in 2003, dealing a massive blow to the industry, and Ottawa has fought hard to restore market confidence.
Last May the World Organization for Animal Health relaxed its security rating on both the United States and Canada, classifying both nations as controlled risk in a sign it was happy with their efforts to combat BSE.
"This case will not affect Canada's controlled risk country status," the CFIA said in a statement.
"Based on science, it is not expected that this case should impact access to any of Canada's current international markets for cattle and beef."
Mexico said last Friday that it would soon lift a ban on Canadian cattle imports that dated back to 2003.
Protein from the brains and spines of diseased animals can spread BSE. Canada has now also banned this risk material from all types of livestock feed.
"As Canada progresses toward the eradication of BSE, the periodic detection of a small number of cases is fully expected," the CFIA said.
Through Feb. 20, the U.S. Agriculture Department reported 231,942 head of Canadian cattle entered the United States, up about 25 percent from the 184,504 for the same time a year earlier.
There was no noticeable reaction to the news in Chicago cattle futures markets.
"Early in our mad cow reporting it would have been a big deal, but now we are getting used to it," said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities Inc.
Consumers have continued to eat beef after previous mad cow cases both in the United States and in Canada, he said.