U.S. Enforcement of Mad Cow Rules Lax

In the wake of the September 11, even PR Watch editors John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton came under attack as "terrorists" from ConsumerFreedom.org, lobbyist Rick Berman's front group for the alcohol, tobacco and restaurant industries. ConsumerFreedom compared us to "international criminals" engaged in "extremist violence." Our 1997 book, Mad Cow U.S.A., is a terrorist document, they said, because "Words deployed with the intention of causing panic are a form of violence, too. The 'mad cow' scare campaign in the United States is intended to frighten consumers to avoid conventional meat supply and 'go organic.' " Well, now apparently the General Accounting Office of the U.S. Congress has joined our nefarious conspiracy. On Tuesday it issued a report warning that mad cow disease could slip into the country and infect cattle herds because of weaknesses in import controls and lax enforcement of animal feed rules. According to Associated Press reporter Philip Brasher in Salon.com, the GAO report "says the Food and Drug Administration failed to take action against feed mills and other firms that violate rules associated with the feed ban and has never identified all the businesses that should be inspected. Moreover, FDA's database of inspection records is so 'is so severely flawed' that 'it should not be used to assess compliance,' the investigators said."