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Business

France confirms case of mad cow disease

France's agriculture ministry has said a cow in the Ardennes region tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease. It's the third confirmed case in Europe since 2015.

The cow was identified last week, but initial tests were not confirmed until Thursday, upon which the French government insisted that consumers were in no danger of eating contaminated meat.

The agriculture ministry said in a statement on its website that the case was isolated to a farm in the northeastern region of Ardennes, where livestock farmers are already feeling pinched by low demand for beef exports.

The test results have been reported to the European Commission and the World Organization for Animal Health. This was the third case of BSE in Europe since 2015. The last occurence of BSE in France was in 2011.

"The detection of this isolated case confirms the effectiveness of our surveillance systems put in place in France," the agriculture ministry statement read. "The detection of this case has no impact for the consumer."

BSE is a disease that attacks the brains of cattle. In the 1990s, there was a scare after it was revealed that the disease could be transmitted to humans. The source of that decade's epidemic turned out to be infected carcasses that had been recycled into animal feed.

cjc/hch (Reuters, Ministère de l'Agriculture)