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."
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."
Current Music: Red Aunts -- Poison Steak (I swear this is a coincidence!) ♬