After nearly a week of investigations regarding a condemned Texas cow, USDA officials say there may be a possibility that the animal was exposed to feed that was not protected by an eight-year feed ban against from feeding ruminants byproducts from other ruminants.
USDA has admitted it allowed a cow that showed physical signs of central nervous system disorder to go untested by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). In a joint statement APHIS Administrator Ron DeHaven and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Acting Administrator Barbara Masters stated that the cow in question was condemned and prohibited from entering the human food chain on antemortem inspection by a veterinarian with FSIS. The veterinarian condemned the animal after observing the cow stagger and fall possibly due to a central nervous system disorder.
Standard procedures call for animals condemned due to possible nervous system disorders to be kept until APHIS officials can collect samples for BSE testing. This didn't happen in the Texas case and the animal was rendered, but that product was kept from the human food chain.
New reports indicate investigations into the farm discovered no violations of animal feed rules, however, since the cow was 12 years old it may have eaten ruminant feed prior to the 1997 feed ban, Acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford told reporters. Crawford also explained that 200,000 pounds of meat and bone meal that could have contained parts of the condemned cow was taken out of the system.
Reuters also adds that APHIS is looking into the situation and any possibilities that it might pose as a risk.