Friday, February 27, 2004

oh shit

At least one beef producer has realized that its own stupidity is costing it money [NYT]
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.
More from [sub. req.]:
Creekstone's proposal has been met with unusually blunt and public opposition from USDA. Lisa Ferguson, a senior staff veterinarian at USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, told the on Wednesday that attempts by Creekstone to market any product as being 100 percent BSE-tested would be illegal because USDA has not yet licensed any of the rapid diagnostic tests used by the European Union, Japan or South Korea.

On Thursday, the agency was apparently backpedaling on its position, declining mainstream media requests to interview Ferguson and other officials, and issuing a statement saying it received Creekstone's proposal and was "evaluating the several implications of the proposal, including the legal, regulatory, trade and other considerations" before responding.

USDA officials said they have "strong concerns" about the possibility of false positives that could result from rapid testing and the potential adverse impact possible false positive readings could have on consumer confidence in beef, livestock markets and overseas trade.

[this is extra funny because the usda tests are much less accurate than the rapid ones used in Japan]
Creekstone CEO John Stewart told the on Thursday that he was "appalled and disgusted" by what he said were USDA's "delaying tactics" in helping to resolve the difference between Creekstone's plans to expand BSE testing and USDA's vow to not allow it.

"I understand the political concerns USDA is facing, but that's not our problem," Stewart said. "We are not going to fold up our tent and go home on this issue. It's time for USDA to fess-up, admit they are wrong, and make some good decisions."

Why does the USDA hate America?

More meat via tidepool: CWD ("mad deer") in Slate; carnivore ethics in Seattle Weekly

And Alan Guebert has the quote of the week

"Well, we're basing our statement that the (Washington State mad cow) animal was downer on the fact that there are records from the Food Safety Inspection Service veterinarian who examined this animal before slaughter. He examined her in a recumbent position on the trailer that brought her to the livestock market. Having said that, there is nothing saying that an animal that is down cannot get up. So in fact both accounts could potentially be true." Dr. Ron DeHaven, deputy administrator USDA Veterinary Services Program, Feb. 23.


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