Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Update
Re: that Harvard Center for Risk Analysis mad cow report, thanks to MeFi, here is some very interesting background on the HCRA. Not, perhaps, the most "scientific" source.

Having just found them, it is pretty amazing how much harder it is to track down cerain other relevant reports, like the FDA's updates on compliance with the ruminant feed ban, which are not particularly encouraging even before you consider the methodological problems:

FDA treated all firms with blanks on compliance questions as if they were in compliance, even though some of those records contained inspector comments stating that the firms were not in compliance.
From the key GAO report [63-page pdf] -- there are another 2 pages worth of similarly pathetic problems at pp. 25-6.

Then there are the FSIS reports on Advanced Meat Recovery [1, 2; both pdf], which don't exactly leap off the USDA's special BSE page:

However, about 74 percent (25 of 34) of the establishments tested in the AMR Survey of 2002 had positive laboratory results for C[entral] N[ervous] S[ystem] tissues in their final beef AMR products.
I mean, it's not like fatal crystals of misfolded proteins are eviscerating your brain at this second (probably), but you have to be pretty fucking stupid at this point to hang on to that "world's safest food supply" fairy tale.

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