POLITICS

CFIA releases timeline from suspected case, to confirmation of mad cow disease

02/14/2015 06:38 EST | Updated 04/16/2015 05:59 EDT
EDMONTON - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says little more than a week passed from the time the most recent case of mad cow disease was first suspected to when it was confirmed and national trading partners were notified.

A timeline of the case at an Alberta farm has been released on the agency's website.

The website says a private veterinarian took samples on February 4 at the undisclosed farm and submitted them to a provincial lab.

It says they were tested on February 6 and the lab recorded a "non-negative" test result.

The lab repeated the test the following day with the same finding and reported the case to the CFIA, where the agency conducted its own test in Lethbridge, Alta, to confirm the result.

The CFIA says it started gathering information on the animal's herd on Tuesday, officially confirmed the case on Wednesday and posted the case to its website and notified Canada's trading partners on Thursday.

"The CFIA is currently investigating the finding. Part of that investigation will seek to uncover the history of the animal and how it may have become infected," the agency's website states.

It's the first case to be reported in Canada since 2011 when a six-year-old dairy cow tested positive.

The CFIA has said part of its investigation will focus on the animal's feed during its first year of life.

Officials have said they don't know yet how old the animal was, but they said no part of the animal's carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Friday that the infected animal was not born on the farm where it was discovered.

Ritz also said the discovery won't affect Canada's international beef trade because it won't change the county's controlled BSE risk status from the World Organization for Animal Health. He said Canada has stayed below international protocols that allow for up to a dozen BSE cases a year.

Humans who eat infected beef can develop a fatal disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Fewer than 250 human cases have been reported worldwide.