Sunday, June 01, 2003

An interesting Wall Street Journal article came the General's way via A.V. Kreb's "Agribusiness Examiner". As this blog said some time ago, mad cow disease (BSE) can be spread not only via cows eating cows, which since 1997 has been banned in the US and Canada, but also by cows eating chickens, which is completely legal. Many countries have banned cows eating any kind of re-cycled animal protein in their feed, but not in North America.

Moreover, in 2002 the US General Accounting Office issued what the WSJ calls a "scathing report" on the "lousy job" the Food and Drug Administration has been doing on enforcing the ban on bovine protein in bovine feed. Apparently there are some firms in the US producing feed which routinely fail to properly label the product -- and FDA does virtually nothing about it.

The WSJ article continues:
"Aren't animals in this country tested for mad cow ? The U.S. tests far fewer animals than do many countries. Last year, 20,000 U.S. cattle were tested, three times more than the previous year. But in Europe, they test more than 20,000 animals a day. Japan tests every bovine that enters the food supply."
Now I'm not terribly worried about catching Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease from my T-bone, but wouldn't it be nice if the US and Canadian governments at least pretended to take food safety seriously?

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