Japan confirms 23rd case of mad cow disease

Japan has confirmed its 23rd case of mad cow disease in a 5-year-old Holstein reared for food, the Health Ministry said Wednesday.

The bull, reared at a farm on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, was killed on Monday and tested positive for the degenerative disease in a routine test on Wednesday, the ministry said in a statement.

All body parts from the bull have been destroyed, and the case poses no risk to Japan's food supply, according to the ministry.

Authorities were investigating the infection route to determine whether other cattle on the farm should be destroyed, according to Atsuko Suzuki, a spokeswoman at the Agricultural Ministry.

The latest case follows the discovery of the third case of mad cow in the U.S. on Monday.

Japan has halted all imports of U.S. beef over mad cow fears, following the discovery of prohibited backbone material in a shipment of American veal in January.

The bones are deemed to be at risk of mad cow disease and are banned under a deal that reopened the Japanese market to U.S. beef in December.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a brain-wasting disease in cattle, which in humans can cause a variant form, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

The disease has killed more than 150 people, mostly in Britain, where there was an outbreak in the 1990s, reports the AP.


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