The USDA announced today that it found a case of mad cow disease in a poor cow in California. Yikes. It is the first case of the dreaded disease to be seen here in six years, and while it sounds scary as shit, authorities say there's no reason to be alarmed because the U.S. food supply is not in danger. So keep downin' them steaks and chuggin' those milkshakes, because Uncle Sam says it's just fine.
Actually, in this case Uncle Sam goes by the name of Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, and he said in a statement that this infected cow posed "no risk to the food supply or to human health." Apparently this unfortunate animal was "atypical" in that it got the disease spontaneously. (That is a THING? Great.) That means the feed wasn't infected, which is good. It was also a dairy cow, and it's not possible to catch mad cow from milk. Thus, you can rest easy tonight, milk lovers.
Despite the fact that it appears there's no real danger to humans from the tragic demise of this beast, there's no telling what kind of wasting effect this discovery might have on the beef market. In 2003, when a similar case of mad cow was discovered in the U.S., there was a massive drop in demand for beef exports, and the market didn't recover until 2011. Man, between this and pink slime, it's been a rough year for industrial beef.