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The state veterinarian says Missouri has safe guards in place to ensure any animals with mad cow disease do not get into the food chain. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
The nation's first domestic case of mad cow disease surfaced last month.
It was traced to a 12-year-old Texas-born cow that was on its way to becoming pet food.
The federal government's testing program identified the diseased animal before it went into any pet food products.
Dr. Shane Brookshire is the state veterinarian in Missouri.
He says Missouri participates in the federal program which is designed to identify animals with the brain-wasting disease before they become a pet or human food product.
Brookshire says the fact that the federal testing system caught the first case of mad cow disease should give consumers confidence that animals with the disease won't get into human or animal food.
Brookshire says cows become infected with mad cow disease when they ingest an abnormal protein called a prion (pree-on).
The protein had been found in cattle by-products that were being fed to cattle.
Brookshire says the federal government has banned that kind of feed.
Brookshire says given that the disease does have a lengthy incubation period, it's possible that another domestic case of mad cow could surface.
Brookshire says since farmers in Missouri participate in the federal testing program, they look for signs that an animal is high-risk