The US authorities and farmers have moved quickly to reassure consumers and global importers in the wake of the country’s first case of mad cow disease in six years.
The message being broadcast is there is no danger of the meat entering the food chain.
“One of the things we want to let the consumer know is that the milk and meat they consume is safe,” said local dairy farmer John Draxler.
The infected carcass was discovered at a local rendering plant in the Californian town of Hanford.
Much of the community there relies on farming for employment.
Experts are hoping the case is ‘atypical’, meaning it is a rare occurrence in which the cow contracts the disease spontaneously. However consumer organisations have questioned testing procedures in the US.
“We don’t know how many other animals could be positive because they were testing 40.000 cows a year, and yet we slaughter tens of millions, over 30 millions cows get slaughtered every year. So we are testing less than one per cent,” said a spokeman for ConsumerReports.org.
Back in 2003 the first case of mad cow disease caused a $3 billion drop in US exports. So far only two retailers have suspended sales.