A Taiwanese delegation asked the US to provide a diagnostic report on its latest case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, when the group visited the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) on Thursday.
The delegation was received by Elizabeth Lautner, director of the NVSL in Ames, Iowa, which confirmed the case on April 24.
Lautner and nine other experts at the laboratories briefed the delegation on the process of diagnosing the disease, and the method and techniques used to identify different types of the disease.
The delegation and the US experts discussed the latest case, which was determined to be L-type atypical mad cow disease, and the impact the infection could have.
The disease was discovered in a dead carcass in California that was about to be sent to a rendering facility. It was the fourth case of the disease in the US since 2003.
Major buyers of US beef, including Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, did not ban imports of the meat after the most recent case because it was “atypical” and could not have been passed on to humans.
There was also no danger of the carcass being used in feed that would have been eaten by other cattle, according to US authorities, but the delegation asked the US for a diagnostic report of the latest case and pictures of how the brain is affected by different types of the disease.
That information and other related data will be brought back to Taiwan for future reference, to help the Council of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Institute develop techniques to identify different types of BSE.
The delegation was scheduled to visit slaughterhouses in Nebraska and Colorado yesterday and Monday, accompanied by US Department of Agriculture officials.