"Despite the confirmation of a third case of mad cow disease" in the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) "intends to scale back testing for the brain-wasting disorder blamed for the deaths of more than 150 people in Europe," reports Libby Quaid. The USDA's John Clifford mentioned the decrease in testing when he announced the latest mad cow case, in an Alabama animal. The lower testing levels haven't been finalized, "but the department's budget proposal calls for 40,000 tests annually," or one-tenth of one percent of U.S. cattle slaughtered. Consumer Union's Jean Halloran called the reduction "a policy of don't look, don't find." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Gary Weber said, "The consumers we've done focus groups with are comfortable that this is a very rare disease." The Christian Science Monitor notes that current, higher testing levels are "far lower than the percentage tested in Europe or Japan." The new case of mad cow may delay the opening of Asian markets to U.S. beef.
Posted by Diane Farsetta on March 15, 2006