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Case of 'Mad cow disease' found on Scottish farm

19 October 2018

"The BSE outbreak in the late [1980s] had a devastating impact on the United Kingdom cattle industry, yet it provided some extremely valuable insights into how to deal with future disease issues", she said.

The government said the case posed no harm to humans.

It did not enter the food chain and there is no risk to human health, officials said.

Ian McWatt, Director of Operations in Food Standards Scotland said: "There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity".

Mad cow disease is a "progressive neurological disorder of cattle that results from infection by an unusual transmissible agent called a prion", according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The case was identified as a result of strict control measures we have in place".

Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: "While it is too early to tell where the disease came from in this case, its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job".

All animals over four years of age that die on a farm are routinely tested for BSE in Scotland.

A Scottish Government statement said: "This is standard procedure for a confirmed case of classical BSE, which does not represent a threat to human health".

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This is the first case of BSE on United Kingdom soil since 2015, according to the BBC. And one positive test has overturned it. But much more importantly, it allowed the industry to push harder on the export markets with countries reluctant to deal with nations linked to BSE.

Does it mean the meat is any less safe? Bad luck which is no fault of the farmer.

More than 180,000 cattle were thought to have been struck down by the disease and the European Union put a ban on importing British beef between 1996 and 2006.

"We don't have final answers yet".

'All the information we have is this is under control, there's no reason for people to panic, ' she added.

"It's not the start of an outbreak, it's a single isolated case that won't affect the food chain".

However, any farmer with concerns is advised to seek immediate veterinary advice.

Mad cow disease - as it is more commonly known, because of the animals' erratic behaviour and movements - destroys their brains by eating away the nerve tissue.

Case of 'Mad cow disease' found on Scottish farm