USDA forbids mad cow testing

Apparently the worst thing you can do is "break ranks with the industry." That, or test the safety of your product without first examining the "trade implications raised."

A beef producer in Kansas has proposed testing all its cattle for mad cow disease so it can resume exports to Japan, but it is encountering resistance from the Agriculture Department and other beef producers. [...]

Creekstone Farms of Arkansas City, Kan. wants to use rapid diagnostic tests that are routinely used in Japan and many European nations. But no rapid tests have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, and department officials pointed out yesterday that it was against the law for any company to sell or market any unapproved diagnostic test. They said they would not respond to Creekstone's request until they evaluated the legal, regulatory and trade implications raised.

Other meat producers are upset by the company's request, saying it has broken ranks in an industry besieged by bad news. Dan Murphy, vice president for public affairs at the American Meat Industry, said American beef was so safe that widescale testing was unnecessary. [...]

"We have been looking at the idea of testing all our animals for some time," Mr. Stewart said. "This moved to the forefront with the most recent episode in Washington State. The problem we're having now is that the U.S.D.A. is not wanting to do this. They don't want to test. They don't want to recognize B.S.E. is a problem. They are not going to allow anyone to test until they decide how or when. We believe that may be never." [...]

According to a statement from J. B. Penn, the under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, the Agriculture Department will respond to Creekstone when it has completed its evaluation. A press spokesman, Jim Rogers, said that the reply will "take some time" and that anyone interested should "check back in future."

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9 Responses:

  1. beschizza says:

    They are just setting themselves up to be litigated into oblivion by the relatives of future mad cow victims (or anyone who can convince a jury their long-dead grandma died of it, when she actually had Parkinsons)

  2. azul_ros says:

    Grrr!! Just another example of our idiotic our governing shitheads are ignoring the needs of it's citizens!! This country is starting to make me sick!! >:[

  3. odd97 says:

    Quantifying bad things they're doing makes them LOOK BAD! We wouldn't want that!

  4. irma_vep says:

    Mad cow hysteria is bad news for the cattle industry. But the reluctance of this country to test the cattle encourages me to keep eating veggie burgers.

  5. gths says:

    Boy. Talk about backward; here in Australia they test everything that moves. (Plus it's far more likely that the cow has actually lived in a paddock for most of its life...)

    The difference in attitude might explain why the US beef lobby think Australian quarantine laws are just some sort of pesky trade barrier.

  6. exiledbear says:

    There's only one message these assholes understand - money. Don't buy beef again.

    Maybe when a cow sells for $20, will they finally understand.

    • denshi says:

      Goddamn, man, a cow will never sell for $20. The entertainment value in a live cow is easily worth $50, let alone its value (as a methane producer) in the new hydrogen economy.

    • ultranurd says:

      But beef... yummy!

      I enjoy a well-prepared dish containing beef, so until it becomes much more unsafe to eat, or until politics change in such a way that beef consumption becomes prohibitively expensive or illegal, I will continue to eat beef.

      Tonight, I'm going to a restaurant that serves only free-range beef, and they have the best fillet mignon ever. MMMM.... ::drools::

  7. warmenhoven says:

    A while back the New York Times published an article that claimed the Department of Agriculture is actively trying not to find another case of mad cow disease.