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Seattle Times Pictures of the Year U.S. mad cow traced to 8 states, Guam

(CNN)—U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have traced beef from a cow diagnosed with mad cow disease to four more states and Guam in addition to the four states already announced, the department said Sunday.

Some meat was sent to Alaska, Montana, Hawaii, Idaho and the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific, said Kenneth Petersen, a spokesman for the department's Food Safety Inspection Service, on Sunday.

The cow was slaughtered this month in Washington state, and its meat was sent to two processing plants in Oregon. Some meat also was shipped to California and Nevada, the department had said earlier.

The department has recalled about 10,000 pounds of beef that originated from the Vern's Moses Lake Meat Co. in Moses Lake, Washington, where the infected cow was slaughtered December 9.

Risk to consumers from the meat was "virtually zero," according to Petersen.

"The meat per se, because it did not contain any spinal cord material, we think is a very low risk to consumers," Petersen said, adding that the distribution was "limited."

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Another example of government officials' penchant for speaking immediately to minimize a risk, and later having to backpedal furiously as the story changes.

In this case, they said immediately when the news broke that the meat from this animal hadn't entered the food supply, and now several days later they're listing four additional states and a territory where the meat did, in fact, get distributed.

It would have been much simpler for them to say they didn't know the full effects yet, because they hadn't traced the distribution of the meat, but were still confident the affected tissues (spinal column, brain, etc.) hadn't entered distribution channels.