AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Mad Cow disease was recently discovered in a California dairy cow.
Only the fourth cow ever diagnosed with Mad Cow disease in the United States unfortunately turned up in California. The BSE-afflicted bovine was, however, a dairy cow, not a beast destined for the barbecue grill. You can't get Mad Cow, or the human version in any case, from drinking the milk of a Mad Cow. Consuming beef poses some risk, more so if that meat has come into contact with the really dangerous stuff, such as the mad brain, mad spine, or mad digestive tract.
Despite the assumed safety of Mad Cow milk (which would be exceptionally rare no matter what), this discovery is bound to do some damage to the California dairy industry. Which, as you may not know, is HUGE.
This huge (data are from the California Milk Advisory Board):
• California has been the nation’s leading dairy state since 1993, when it surpassed Wisconsin in milk production. California is ranked first in the U.S. in the production of total milk, butter, ice cream, yogurt, nonfat dry milk, and whey protein concentrate. California is second in cheese production.