Creekstone Farms wants to test every steer they slaughter for mad cow disease. The USDA, under pressure from larger meatpackers, says they can’t:
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.
A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal — effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge plays out.
Creekstone serves the Japanese market, and since the first cow tested positive for mad cow, Japan refuses to import beef that hasn’t been tested.