USDA Claims Madness for Itself


A Kansas-based angus beef company wants to test some cows for mad cow disease in order to distinguish itself in the marketplace. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says bovine testing is a job for government officials, not meatpackers. Now the Bush administration, too, says private farmers need to step away from the BSE test kits.

The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef.

But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.

The USDA says it fears false positives, which are presumably a risk of any testing the agency peforms as well.

There is a MeMe Roth joke in here somewhere.