The USDA confirmed more Mad Cow in the US today. Long-time readers are well aware of my utter contempt for the work and policies of the USDA, but newbies to the site may wish to understand what has led me to such rancor. Let’s have a little Q&A, shall we?
Q: Where in the US was the cow from?
A: “Officials would not specify where the case turned up….” Internet rumors say it’s Texas.
Q: When did the USDA discover it had Mad Cow?
A: Last November.
Q: Seriously? That’s over six months ago!
A: Seriously. They did a so-called “Rapid Test” which came back positive. Then they did a more detailed IHC (immunohistochemistry) which was negative. They only ordered up a third test, called a Western blot, two weeks ago after the USDA’s inspector general ordered them to do so. That test, which was done in England, came back positive.
Q: Didn’t the Secretary of Agriculture say that the US meat supply remains safe because this was a downer cow and as such wouldn’t be part of the human food chain?
A: Yes, which sounds great until you remember that the first case of Mad Cow in the US was from a downer and it was made into hamburgers and eaten by people in the the San Francisco Bay Area. Not that the USDA would tell consumers which restaurants had received the tainted beef. So who knows where this cow’s parts ended up. One USDA official indicated that it was discovered at a pet food plant—just what you need, a dog or a cat with Creutzfeldt-Jakobs. That’s better than finding it at a plant that makes patties for McDonald’s, but since that “pet food” information comes from a USDA guy, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that it was a lie.
Q: It sounds like you think that the USDA doesn’t care about consumers.
A: Not true! The USDA is very concerned that consumers, specifically that they keep buying beef whether it’s safe or not. If the USDA were serious about protecting consumers they would be testing all downer cattle, for starters. They also wouldn’t allow tainted cow blood, fat, meat, and bonemeal to be fed to pigs and chickens who are then fed to cattle. It’s a nonsensical food safety policy.
And, what the heck, just for good measure, here’s a history of Mad Cow articles. Read a few and you’ll get where I’m coming from.