With the recent discussions about Melamine in the food supply I thought I'd throw out another tidbit for you that I learned a few weeks ago that absolutely blew my mind. Which is that it has been illegal for private beef producers to test all of their animals for Mad Cow disease. It was illegal to test to see if their meat was safe. Last month a federal judge said that this could no longer stand:
The federal government must allow meatpackers to test their animals for mad cow disease, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, a meatpacker based in Arkansas City, Kan., wants to test all of its cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat the tainted beef. Larger meat companies feared that move because if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they could be forced to do the expensive test, too.
The Agriculture Department regulates the test and administers it to less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows. The department threatened Creekstone with prosecution if it tested all its animals.
So the large companies didn't want to test because it would be expensive and the USDA said it was illegal to test. Feel safer? And while Creekstone was trying to do more testing, the USDA was cutting back on their own testing.
Not only is USDA blocking Creekstone, the department said last month that it's reducing its mad cow testing program by 90%. The industry and its sympathetic regulators seem to believe that the problem isn't mad cow disease. It's tests that find mad cow.
I won't pretend to be an expert on the subject but I think this is just one more fine example of the Bush adminstration putting corporations at the top of the priority list far above the mere citizens. And what about not regulating capitalism? What about allowing consumers to choose? Hypocrites.