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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mad Cow Madness: USDA Stands in the Way of Broader Testing


CHICAGO -- If a hospital wanted to advertise that it upholds sanitary standards higher than any required by the government, no one would object. A used-car dealer who decided to offer only vehicles with the best crash-test scores would be free to do so. But after a meatpacker announced plans to establish the strictest program around to protect consumers from mad cow disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture replied: fat chance.
Eating meat from animals afflicted with the illness can cause irreversible, fatal damage to the brain. Last month, a cow in Alabama was found to be infected, the third confirmed case in this country. Canada, which has similar regulations to prevent the disease, has had five.
You would think those cases would indicate the need for more testing of cattle to keep contaminated beef off our tables. In fact, the USDA, which now tests only 1 percent of all slaughtered cows, is planning to cut back on that effort. Crazier yet, it also intends to keep anyone else from conducting more tests.
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read_more...Mad Cow Madness:

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