Mad about Cows

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Two articles today about mad cow testing. First from the US (via Reuters)

A government investigation on Tuesday gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture poor marks in testing cattle for mad cow disease, saying the agency was neglecting to test the majority of cattle most at risk.

"The problems identified during our review, if not corrected, may ... reduce the credibility of any assertion regarding the prevalence of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the United States," said the USDA's Office of Inspector General.

And now this news from Japan (via UPI):

A top Japanese official said Tuesday blanket mad cow testing may end soon, a move widely seen as opening the door to resumption of U.S. beef imports.

Hiroyuki Hosoda, chief cabinet secretary, made the comment ahead of beef talks to be held in Tokyo in late July between experts and government officials from Japan and the United States, the Kyodo news agency said.

The question of whether all slaughtered cattle should be tested for mad cow disease should not be dealt with "politically," Hosoda said, indicating Japan may end its blanket testing if experts find it unnecessary.

Tokyo has blocked U.S. beef imports since the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was found in a Canadian-born cow in the state of Washington last December.

To remove the import ban, Tokyo has been asking the U.S. government to test all slaughtered cattle for the disease or provide equivalent safety assurance.

U.S. officials respond that blanket testing is unscientific.

Right hand, may I introduce Mr. Left Hand?

1 Comment

Oh goodness this isn't the worst of it. I don't remember all the details but I heard this on NPR so it must be true: Apparantly a US beef company asked the USDA for the go-ahead to test all of its cattle for Mad Cow Disease so that it could market it's beef as "Guaranteed Mad Cow Free." The USDA will not allow them to do this stating that it's not fair to the other cattle companies who cannot afford to test every cow!

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