An 11-year-old Alabama beef cow was recently diagnosed with atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), widely known as “mad cow disease,” the USDA and Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries announced yesterday. But there’s no reason for panic, according to Soren Rodning, an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and extension veterinarian with Auburn University. In fact, “this story highlights the effectiveness of the USDA and ADAI’s BSE surveillance program, which effectively detected a very rare cattle disease,” he says. He went on to point out that this was an animal health issue, not a food safety issue. The sick cow was discovered during routine surveillance upon entering the Alabama livestock market. It never entered slaughter channels or presented a risk to our food supply, Rodning says. “Alabama is very fortunate to have competent field staff effectively implementing a scientifically-based surveillance program. Hopefully, others outside the beef industry will share this more positive outlook.” READ MORE