"After a case of mad cow disease surfaced in Washington State late last year, federal regulators vowed to move swiftly to adopt rules to reduce the risks of further problems. ... But a few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration, after heavy lobbying from the beef and feed industries, took steps to delay - and ... possibly kill" new animal feed regulations.
Mad Cow Disease
The Publicity Club of Chicago, a PR industry trade association, has given its "Platinum Trumpet" award to Sarah Sarosi of the Burson-Marsteller PR firm, which worked on behalf of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in the U.S. and "responded immediately when a Canadian case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (or 'Mad Cow' disease) was diagnosed."
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued an order instructing its inspectors in Texas, where federal mad cow disease testing policies recently were violated, not to talk about the cattle disorder with outside parties," reports Steve Mitchell. The order, sent by email from the USDA's Dallas office, instructed that "all BSE inquiries MUST be directed to Congressional Public Affairs" office in Washington DC.
Recently the Center's John Stauber had lunch with journalist Laurel Wellman to discuss the Center's prescient 1997 book by Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Mad Cow USA. The resulting column in today's San Francisco Chronicle notes that in the month after December's discovery of a mad cow in Washington state, 80,000 people downloaded Mad Cow USA for free off of our website.
"It is ironic in the extreme that an administration that's so interested in letting industry come up with its own solutions would come down with a heavy government hand on a company that's being creative," said one public health expert, commenting on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision not to allow Kansas' Creekstone Farms to test every cow it processes for mad cow disease. Creekstone wants 100% testing in order to resume sales to Japan, South Korea and other countries banning U.S.
At the upcoming meeting of the Public Relations Society of America, "the Washington Beef Commission will unveil how it turned the PR nightmare discovery of Mad Cow... into an opportunity to educate the public about the hype surrounding the disease." According to meatingplace.com, the Japanese government isn't buying the U.S.
"Canadian investigators have identified... the probable source of recent cases of mad-cow disease in North America," reports the Wall Street Journal. Canada imported 192 cattle from Britain in the 1980s. After one of the British cows tested positive for mad cow disease in 1993, Canadian officials tried to "remove" them from domestic herds. But 68 cows were missing, "most likely because they already had been slaughtered." Canada's Food Inspection Agency concluded that "the infected U.S.