• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

L.A. Times Thrashes USDA "Mad Beef Policy"

Help Support Ranchers.net:



Today 7/1/2005 11:40:00 AM

Jolley: L.A. Times Thrashes USDA On Its "Mad Beef Policy"

The Los Angeles Times took the USDA's beef policy to the woodshed this morning in a harshly worded editorial. Calling it a "Mad Beef Policy," the writer led off with this scathing comment: "The more federal officials downplay mad cow disease, the scarier things get."

The newspaper claims the system is deeply flawed and works only when safety-minded leaders reject complacency. It was a direct reference to the forced third test, ordered by the controversial Phyllis Fong, the USDA's Inspector General, and a direct shot at top-level management at the Ag Department.

The Times adopted a position squarely in line with certain activist groups citing an alleged soft spot in the ban on feeding beef and beef products to cattle. Taking a page written by Dr. Linda Detwiler and promoted heavily by organizations like Consumers Union, the newspaper said, "Those (products) can, however, be put in the feed given to other animals, such as pigs and chickens, and it is easy for different types of feed to get mixed up or misused. In addition, the waste left after butchering chickens, including their leftover feed containing cattle meal, can be fed to cattle."

Jumping hobnailed boots first on the issue of inconsistency of message, the Times also pointed out the USDA, in a letter written only a few months ago to Consumers Union, dismissed any need to use the Western blot test for confirmation of the disease. Only after Fong ordered it for the Texas cow did the USDA quickly shift positions and prescribe the blot test for confirmation.

To repair the credibility damage the newspaper called on the USDA to take several steps including quick implementation of former Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman's plan for a national animal identification system. Announced two years ago, it's been trapped in a lengthy political debate while some large and impatient corporations, such as McDonald's, have already made it part of their purchasing requirements.

The Times also asked the USDA to:
• Ban the feeding of cattle meat, bone meal and other byproducts to any livestock.

• Prohibit the use of cattle blood as a "milk replacer" for calves.

• Allow beef producers who want to test all of their cattle to do so. The USDA has barred Kansas meatpacker Creekstone Farms from such testing, which would enable it to market its meat in Japan.

• Expand testing to include more healthy-seeming animals.
I hate to see negative publicity like this. It hurts consumer confidence. But I would agree that the USDA could use some shaking up.
The NY Times also pointed out that USDA, in a letter written only a few months ago to Consumers Union, dismissed any need to use the Western blot test for confirmation of the disease. IHC is a good, get it under, COVER TEST.

Latest posts