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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director, (515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

6-24-05

Contacts:

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

Ed Adcock, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2314

NEWS TIP: Iowa State experts can comment on mad cow disease

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State University experts can provide perspective on the latest developments in mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

At a June 24 news conference, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of mad cow disease in a U.S. cow. The cow had previously been cleared of having the brain-wasting disease, but Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said a laboratory in England confirmed the case after U.S. tests produced conflicting results.

Johanns said beef consumers aren't at risk, since the animal was a "downer," or unable to walk. Such animals are banned from the food supply.

The first U.S. case of mad cow disease was confirmed in a Washington state dairy cow on Dec. 23, 2003. That cow had originated in Alberta, Canada, where a case of BSE had been reported in May 2003. The U.S. case prompted USDA to launch a more aggressive surveillance program.

ISU Experts

Dr. Nolan Hartwig, ISU veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine professor and Extension veterinarian, can speak on issues related to food safety, how mad cow disease is spread, and how it is controlled and regulated. He may be reached at (515) 294-0711 (office) or nhartwig@iastate.edu.

John Lawrence, ISU livestock economist, associate professor and director of the Iowa Beef Center, is a frequent media source on livestock economics and beef marketing. He may be reached at (515) 294-6290 (office) or jdlaw@iastate.edu. Additional information is available online at http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/content/bsemain.htm

Shane Ellis, livestock market Extension economist (affiliated with the Iowa Beef Center), can comment on livestock economics and beef marketing. He may be reached at (515) 294-8030 or shanee@iastate.edu.

Bob Wisner, University Professor and Extension economist, can talk about how mad cow disease can affect grain markets. This time around, Wisner says he doesn't expect the confirmation of mad cow disease to significantly affect the markets. Rather, he said, dry weather in eastern and southeastern Iowa is the dominant influence in the grain markets now. Wisner can be reached at (515) 294-6310, or rwwisner@iastate.edu.

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Quick look

At a June 24 news conference, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of mad cow disease in a U.S. cow.