Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 10, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

WEIRD SCIENCE....This story is so weird it defies belief:

The Department of Agriculture refused yesterday to allow a Kansas beef producer to test all of its cattle for mad cow disease, saying such sweeping tests were not scientifically warranted.

The producer, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wanted to use recently approved rapid tests so it could resume selling its fat-marbled black Angus beef to Japan, which banned American beef after a cow slaughtered in Washington State last December tested positive for mad cow. The company has complained that the ban is costing it $40,000 a day and forced it to lay off 50 employees.

....Gary Weber of the cattlemen's association called 100 percent testing misleading to consumers because it would create a false impression that untested beef was not safe. He compared it to demanding that all cars be crash tested to prove they are safe.

....Asked if beef producers did not want to be pressured to imitate Creekstone and pay for more tests, Mr. Weber said it was "absolutely not about the money."

Let me get this straight:

  • Creekstone wanted to voluntarily test all its own cattle.

  • They were doing this to respond to demand for tested beef in Japan, a market they wanted to sell into.

  • The federal government, supposed champion of the free market, refused to allow Creekstone to take this voluntary action.

And the beef spokesman then has the gall to say that this has nothing to do with money. They are just righteous advocates of sound science.

Since when have federal safety regulations prevented someone from voluntarily adopting more stringent measures of their own? Will we be banning Volvos next?

Kevin Drum 1:23 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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