May 24, 2023


US reports case of mad cow disease, negative trade implications unlikely



The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed the detection of an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, in a five-year-old cow from South Carolina, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

This marks the nation's seventh detection of BSE, with previous cases being classified as atypical (H or L-type) rather than classical BSE.


According to the USDA, the affected animal never entered the slaughter channels and posed no risk to the food supply or human health. Atypical BSE typically occurs in older cattle and is known to arise spontaneously in cattle populations, although it is relatively rare.


Mad cow disease is a degenerative and fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of adult cattle. While this case of BSE has been identified, experts believe that the United States is unlikely to face any trade implications, unlike recent outbreaks in Brazil.


Global Agritrends analyst Simon Quilty said that there have been no trade implications thus far, but attention is focused on China due to previous precedents set with Brazil.


The trade agreement between the US and China explicitly states that no ban can be imposed on any atypical BSE case, which differs from the situation between Brazil and China.


Quilty highlighted that the last atypical BSE case in the United States, which occurred in 2018, did not result in any trade implications.


-      Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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