WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Japan and South Korean imposed immediate bans on imports of U.S. beef Wednesday after a cow in Washington state tested positive for mad cow disease
Japan is the largest American beef overseas export market, valued at nearly [email protected]$!850-million per year.
A single, Holstein cow tested positive for mad cow disease in Washington, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced late Tuesday.
USDA secretary Ann Veneman said it was too early to call the "presumptively positive" test an isolated incident, although she stressed that so far there is no indication of a larger problem with the U.S. beef supply.
The incident was not the result of terrorism, Veneman added.
Agricultural officials quarantined the farm, located south of Yakima, which owns the hapless Holstein, until further testing can be conducted.
Last May, immediately USDA banned imports of Canadian beef when a single case of mad cow was discovered in Alberta. The incident devastated that country's beef industry, particularly in western provinces.
Mad cow is one in a class of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. It can be transmitted to humans who eat contaminated meat as an incurable, always fatal illness called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.