Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brazil Kept Mad Cow Secret for Two Years

... While they continued to sell 67 million pounds of beef to the US:

Brazil Reports First Case Of ‘Mad Cow Disease’ In A Cow That Died Two Years Ago
“That means the U.S. imported enough beef from Brazil in 2011 and 2012 to feed over 1 million Americans their annual consumption of beef,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.
But, really, US beef isn't that protected from mad cow. Jean Halloran, former Director of the Consumer Policy Institute at Consumer's Union, described USDA's mad cow policy as "Don't Look, Don't Find."

I discovered:
  • Japan tests nearly 100% of its slaughtered cattle.
  • The European Union tests 100% of cattle over 30 months old.
  • The US tests less than 1%.

Not only doesn't the USDA test adequately for mad cow, it prohibits private companies from testing (and sues if they do):
"Detection of BSE is needlessly hindered by the fact that USDA prohibits private companies from testing their own beef. Private testing could augment USDA testing and provide an extra measure of monitoring and assurance of safety to consumers. USDA only tests cattle that are sent to the renderer and doesn’t test at slaughterhouses. We find it hard to understand why USDA prohibits private companies from testing."
- Consumers Union Statement On BSE Positive Cow, 24 April, 2012
"The Agriculture Department is within bounds to bar meatpackers from testing slaughter cattle for mad cow disease, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel said in a 2-1 ruling on Friday."
- Court Bars Meatpacker Tests For Mad Cow, Reuters, August, 2008
Why does USDA prohibit private testing? If BSE is found to be more pervasive than thought, it would be costly for the cattle industry and could damage public trust in the food supply. The USDA exists in part to promote the beef industry and to ensure trust in the food supply.

The Organic Consumers Association says:
"We suspect there are many other USA Mad Cows confined in feedlots and factory scale dairies."
Photo from a sobering article by Michael Greger, MD: Is Mad Cow Already A Silent Epidemic?
I first saw this story on Bill Marler's Food Safety News.


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

You're scaring me, BIx.


Claudia said...

Simple, don't eat beef. I haven't had any for about a year and I'm doing fine thank you.

RB said...

I am with Claudia on this. We could also add to the list of beef issues, E.coli contamination, antibiotic resistance, added growth hormones, GMO corn fed and saturated fats.

As far as getting all U.S. beef inspected, it is simple. We just need to find one bovine terrorist among our cattle herds.