Mad cow disease was found in a dairy cow in the Central Valley, making it the fourth reported case in the US, according to a statement issued today by the US Department of Agriculture.
The dairy cow was discovered at a rendering facility during a routine inspection, but its exact location is not being released. Federal officials are stressing that beef, milk and dairy products are safe to consume despite the findings.
"The beef and dairy in the American food supply is safe and USDA remains confident in the health of US cattle," said US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. "USDA has no reason to believe that any other U.S. animals are currently affected, but we will remain vigilant and committed to the safeguards in place."
The animal was not headed for slaughter for human consumption, and its carcass will be destroyed, according to the USDA.
In 2011, there were 29 worldwide cases of mad cow disease, a 99 percent drop since the 1992 peak of 37,311 cases.