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Mad Cow Case Announcement Prompts U.S. Regulator Inquiry

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the main U.S. derivatives regulator, is reviewing the release of information about the first domestic case of mad cow disease in six years.

Cattle futures slumped in advance of a U.S. Department of Agriculture April 24 announcement that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, had been confirmed in a dairy cow in California.

“CFTC reached out to USDA with questions on the BSE announcement timeline for their routine market analysis,” Courtney Rowe, USDA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail yesterday.

Steve Adamske, a CFTC spokesman, declined to comment.

The USDA did not release information on the case until after 2:15 p.m. on April 24 in Washington. Cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were trading around $1.147 a pound just before 11 a.m. in Chicago. In the next two hours, prices plunged by the 3-cent exchange limit, dropping to $1.11575 a pound, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 1.

Prices settled at that price. The day’s 2.6 percent decline was the biggest since May 23.

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