A cow is silhouetted on a pasture near the Trans-Canada Highway north of Calgary on Feb. 13, 2015.
Joe Klamar—AFP/Getty Images
March 24, 2016 11:01 AM EDT

A case of mad cow disease has been discovered in northeastern France, the country’s agriculture ministry said Thursday.

The news, reported by Reuters, could lead regulators to lower the country’s safety grade, making it more difficult to export beef. However, the French farm ministry maintained that the nation’s beef is safe to eat, saying that all parts of cow which could be infected with mad cow disease are required to be removed in slaughter houses.

“The detection of this case does not affect the consumer,” the ministry said.

The prevalence of mad cow disease has declined in recent years thanks to safeguards instituted following an outbreak in the 1990s. Consuming meat from animals infected with the disease can lead to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease—a degenerative brain disorder that leads to death.


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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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