Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mad Cow Is On My Mind

There is a story today in the associated press about the Bush administration's efforts to prevent a small cattle ranch from testing all it's cattle for Mad Cow Disease and then certifying their beef as free from the deadly illness.
The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. A beef producer in the western state of Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.

In a way, I see the view of the large producers on this one. Mad Cow is not a serious risk in this country. E Coli and salmonella are problems that we need to address. Mad Cow is not that easy to get. 3 people have received it in the US (that we know of), and 100 died in England until they changed their standards. This is mostly a marketing gimmick. If they certify their meat comes without e coli, because each steak is individually tested, then sealed hygienically, it would be a way to stand out from the crowd on safety. Mad Cow free certification, when we haven't had a real outbreak in this country is playing on fear.

We do have a free market though. The Bush administration proves a point many people are making about so called conservatism. It's very situational at best to be charitable. They are trying to prevent a small person from doing something that might offend the stockholders at large concerns. No other reason. This is all about corporate profits.

Those of you who want to pay $2.00 or however much more extra a pound for this "mad cow free" beef are free to do so. If a large group of Americans insist on this switch, the other companies are free to do the same, or to do things just the way they are doing.

I would buy guaranteed salmonella free chicken and pay a premium on that btw. Food poisoning the last time from chicken made me violently ill for a week. There is a market there.