November 29, 2011
Japan reports new form of mad cow disease
Japan has confirmed its eighth case of mad cow disease amid concerns of it being a new form of the disease.
The mad cow disease - or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)- was found in a cow that was just 23 months old.
That makes it the youngest animal in the world to be confirmed as having BSE.
Japan's health ministry says it represents a new, unusual strain of the disease.
There is concern the new strain might not always be picked up by Japan's screening procedures, and the authorities are desperately trying to work out how it got into the food chain.
Japan is a major market for Australian beef, and at this stage, it is not clear how the country's eighth case of BSE will affect Australian exports.