Mad for mad cow disease

The New York Times has a brief article on how King George’s administration is fighting to keep American meatpackers from testing all of their animals for mad cow disease (BSE – bovine spongiform encephalopathy). Meatpackers presently test less than one per cent of beef carcasses for the disease. The problem is, as the USDA sees it, that wider testing could lead to false positives that might harm the industry.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m in favor of anything that will cull diseased products from the food chain. One would expect, in light of the failure of the inspection system to discover contaminated toothpaste, dog food and other materials – including contaminated cattle feed – in a timely manner, that the government would view favorably and not challenge a business that wants to put the safety of it’s consumer base first.

Alas, that isn’t the case.

The U.S. federal court system has ruled that the government doesn’t have the right to restrict mad cow testing; however, the USDA has appealed the decision which will delay implementing the testing by a small meatpacking company in Kansas – Creekstone Farms Premium Beef.

Cost is the argument being used by the larger beef producers against wider testing. I wonder what the human cost will be in the future for testing less than one per cent of the beef carcasses in the present?

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