Japan confirms 25th case of mad cow disease

Japan has confirmed its 25th case of mad cow disease in a 5-year-old Holstein , a news report said Wednesday. Meat inspectors in Okayama prefecture (state) in western Japan found late Monday that a dairy cow, intended to be slaughtered for meat, had tested positive for the disease. The ministry had initially announced the cow to be 6 years old.

A panel of Health Ministry experts confirmed the infection Wednesday, according to ministry official Kenichi Watanabe. Japan , which conducts mad cow tests on all cattle killed for meat, has confirmed 25 cases since 2001, including four cases this year, Watanabe said.

The news comes as the U.S. and Japan discuss possible safeguards against the brain-wasting disease that might allow Tokyo to resume U.S. beef imports. Japan in January reintroduced a ban on American beef products after a U.S. veal shipment was found to contain prohibited spinal bones.

That came just a month after Tokyo eased a previous ban two-year-long ban, imposed in 2003 after the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the American herd but only for meat from cows aged 20 months or younger with risky body parts removed.

Mad cow is a degenerative nerve disease in cattle. Eating contaminated meat products has been linked to the rare but fatal human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which causes brain tissues to waste. There have been three confirmed cases of the disease in the U.S, reports the AP.


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