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USDA pledges beef supply is safe

U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Mike Johanns last week maintained that the nation's beef supply is "safe-plain and simple," despite the discovery of mad cow disease in an animal. U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Mike Johanns last week maintained that the nation's beef supply is "safe-plain and simple," despite the discovery of mad cow disease in an animal.

The animal was the second in the country to be discovered with bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

"Nothing about the events of the past few weeks nor today's announcement should change in any way the confidence we have in our beef supply," Johanns said. "I enjoyed beef this noon for lunch."

The USDA divulged that the animal was headed for a "4-D" plant, where dead, diseased, dying, or downer cattle go for processing. It was born before regulations went into effect banning the practice of feeding cattle parts to live cattle, the agency said.

Other than that, the government wouldn't say much about the creature's pedigree.

"We're just not going to confirm anything about the animal until we get the epidemiological work done," Johanns said.

The carcass was incinerated to ensure it did not and could not pose any kind of threat to public health, the government said.

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