USDA officials are waiting for the results of more detailed testing at government laboratories in Iowa. The suspect animal was found when a brain sample yielded an "inconclusive" result during a rapid-screening test. The Department of Agriculture has not revealed where the cow was from.
The suspected case is a major setback for Washington as it follows months of work in trying to reopen beef trade with Japan and South Korea. According to John Clifford, the USDA's chief veterinarian, there is no risk to public health as the carcass did not enter the food chain.
"We're certainly keeping them informed of the situation and will relay all the information we have," USDA spokesman Ed Loyd said yesterday.
Japan halted U.S. beef shipments in January after finding veal cuts with backbone