WASHINGTON - The U.S. government banned shipments Tuesday of meat and livestock from Canada to protect the nation's food supply and cattle industry after the discovery of a single Canadian cow with mad cow disease.
The cow was identified Jan. 31 in Fairview, Alberta, northwest of Edmonton near the British Columbia border.
A more extensive report on the incident can be found on the Washington Post's website here.
The ban includes any beef-derived product or animal feed from Canada, the Food and Drug Administration said.
Mad cow disease has never been found in U.S. cattle, despite intensive testing for it. The U.S. government routinely seals the border against imports of meat and cattle from countries where mad cow disease is found.
Canada is taking proper precautions for what "appears to be an isolated case" of mad cow disease, said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.
"Information suggests that risk to human health and the possibility of transmission to animals in the United States is very low," she said.
FDA and Agriculture Department officials are working with Canada to get more information about the case, including records concerning the cow's past ownership and what animal feed it was given.
Mad cow disease, known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, first erupted in Britain in 1986, and is thought to have spread through cow feed made with protein and bone meal from mammals.
The FDA outlawed the feeding of mammalian meat and bone meal to cattle, sheep and goats in 1997, a rule considered the nation's main defense against mad cow disease.