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Mad Cow Disease Strikes Again?

One activist believes American feed standards are no better than they were 18 months ago, when the Bush administration and the FDA promised to take steps to ensure improved food safety after a cow in Washington state was infected with spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- better known as mad cow disease.

After all the hoopla died down and talk of stronger regulations long forgotten, however, the feds are investigating a new positive case of BSE from a cow that had been retested after being found free of disease last November.

Former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan promised "better firewalls" in January 2004 that would've banned blood poultry litter and restaurant plate waste from cattle feed as well as requiring feed mills to use separate equipment to produce it. The FDA scrapped those once-upon-a-time restrictions about a year ago, after promising to formalize even tougher rules proposed by an international team of experts organized by the Department of Agriculture.

Not surprisingly, once the attention and the cameras went away, any chance of reform disappeared with it, said John Stauber, founder of the non-profit Center for Media & Democracy and co-author of Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here? (Click this link to download a free copy of the entire text of Stauber's 1997 book.)

I can't imagine the meat industry wants anything to do with reforms that might drive up the price of their products, especially considering it produces about 50 billion pounds of meat annually -- or enough meat trucked on a convoy of 18-wheelers four lanes wide driving from New York to Los Angeles every year...

All the more reason, you should be eating grass-fed beef. Not only because it contains less fat, but it also has higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

MSNBC June 17, 2005

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