A dairy cow from a Hokkaido farm has tested positive for mad cow disease, making it Japan’s 11th case of the brain-wasting disease if formally confirmed, farm ministry officials said Sunday.
An expert panel under the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry will review the test data at a meeting Tuesday and issue a formal conclusion.
The National Institute of Animal Health in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, conducted a second test on tissue from the dead cow after a preliminary analysis by a Hokkaido institute came back positive Friday.
According to the ministry, the cow has been incinerated and meat or other parts from it will not go on the market. The farm that had raised it has been requested not to ship its other cows pending confirmation of the diagnosis.
Data show the Holstein was born in April 1996, but it was not immediately known where. Seven of the 10 cows in Japan that have so far been confirmed to have had the disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, were also born in spring 1996. The ministry suspects they were given the same type of feed that contained infected meat-and-bone meal.
The Holstein recently fell at the farm in Shibecha, Hokkaido, and suffered a dislocated hip. It was judged untreatable and slaughtered.
It tested positive in a preliminary diagnosis at a local animal health center in Obihiro.
Japan’s 10th confirmed case of mad cow was reported in February. The first was in September 2001. The following month, the government required all cattle destined for human consumption to be tested for mad cow disease while still alive.
Since April 2003, dead cattle 2 years or older must be tested even if the meat is not going to market.
The latest case was the first found under the expanded testing system.
According to the ministry, some 44,000 dead cattle had been examined under the regime as of the end of January. This was the first case in which tests came back positive for a cow that was dead when analyzed.
Another cow is also suspected to have had the disease following a preliminary test Thursday.