Honestly, it makes about as much as anything else judging by what they’ve done and failed to do.

Major kudos to Burgerville for switching to organic, hormone-free beef for their burgers. There’s now a fastfood restaurant at which I can dine, even if the closest one is some 30 minutes away.

So there’s been a new Mad Cow variant—absolutely undetectable by the limited USDA testing—discovered by Italian researchers. Early speculation is that this variant may, and I’d emphasize may, be in part responsible for the 300 so-called sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease cases in the US every year. I’m sure we’ll find out the truth eventually, but I’d lay money that we won’t find out from the USDA.

There is considerable evidence that the USDA has lied to the American public to protect the interests of the beef industry. This was first made obvious to me when I heard the news report that some Bay Area restaurants had received the potentially tainted Mad Cow beef, and the USDA had contacted the restaurants but would not tell the public which restaurants these were! Since the USDA’s meat recalls are—unbelievably—not mandatory, they claim they’re obligated to keep sales and distribution records confidential. Putting public health and safety behind the cattle industry’s profit has understandably not sat well with some folks.

It gets worse if you care to read about it. Me? I’m sanguine. I believe that by eating vegetarian for most of our meals and eating only organic, hormone-free meat for the remainder, we can protect ourselves from the ravages of the US beef industry. It’s for damn sure that USDA won’t.