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Mad cow disease found in cow on Dutch farm during routine tests

Mad cow disease ,or BSE, has been identified in the body of a cow on a Dutch farm, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

Test have not yet established if the cow was suffering from the classic or atypical variant of the disease.

The atypical variant, which is found sporadically in older animals, is not a problem for humans. However, the classic version, which sparked a major health scare in the 1990s, can lead to humans developing the brain disease Creutzfeldt–Jakob if they eat infected meat.

In total, 88 cases of the classic variant have been found in Dutch cattle since 1997, when a testing programme was set up. The last case of mad cow disease in the Netherlands dates from 2011 and concerned the atypical variant.

The cow has not ended up in the food chain and is not a risk to food safety, the ministry said. Officials have declined to say where the farm was located, only that it has been closed off pending further tests.

Officials are now tracing the animal’s descendants, animals which have eaten the same food and animals which grew up with the affected cow. They will all be slaughtered and checked for signs of the disease.

BSE was established in the dead cow through a European monitoring system which introduced post-mortem testing on at-risk animals over certain ages.