Mad Cow Disease Confirmed

The British lab that was sent tissue from the infected cow now confirms the USDA's suspicion -- that mad cow disease has surfaced in America. Contaminated cattle feed may be to blame. And federal investigators are trying to trace the birthplace of the diseased Holstein amid concerns that others in its herd may have also eaten tainted feed. The slaughterhouse that processed the cow and 20 others recalled more than 10,000 pounds of beef Wednesday. This as prices dropped and at least a dozen countries closed borders to U.S. beef imports.

"It will cost our livestock industry, our cattle industry in the U.S. billions and billions of dollars," said Chuck Levitt of Alarm Trading Corporation.

In Texas, where the beef industry is a 16 billion dollar business, ranchers moved quickly to stem the damage.

"Obviously, consumer confidence is paramount in the whole issue and we want to get this resolved as quickly as we can," said Richard Wortham of the Texas Beef Council.

Thanks to high protein, low carb diet trends, beef consumption in the U.S. has been climbing to an average of 65 pounds per person this year.

"I don't eat much meat," said consumer Christine Garcia, "but when I do, I want my beef!"

That's the attitude the beef industry hopes Americans will keep. Pork and poultry producers aren't seeing dollar signs based on the latest reports. Instead, they're encouraging American meat eaters to remain carnivores and to not let the hype surrounding the disease scare them.