Creekstone Wins Testing Case; Appeal Likely

US - Creekstone Farms Premium Beef and other meatpackers have the right to test all the animals they slaughter for mad cow disease, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
calendar icon 2 April 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
U.S. District Judge James Robertson immediately put his ruling on hold, pending a possible government appeal. If the government does not appeal by June 1, the ruling will take effect.

In Arkansas City, Creekstone general manager Kevin Pentz called the ruling a "moral victory" but said he expects there will be an appeal.

"But this ruling is still important to us," Pentz said. "We've been waiting almost a year since the lawsuit was put into place and the judge has had all the final motions in his hand since Dec. 16."

Creekstone first filed suit in March 2006 after the government denied its right to conduct testing in the laboratory it built at its plant.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture most recently filed a motion to have the case declared moot because of the re-opening of trade with Japan, the primary customer that Creekstone hoped to regain with testing.

Pentz said testing would still be an advantage for the company, which sells premium Black Angus beef, because it would meet the standard in both Japan and South Korea. Testing would lead to an increase in sales of beef to those countries and in the price the company could get for its product.

Imports in those countries opened only to boneless beef. South Korea immediately halted all imports upon finding a bone fragment in a shipment.

Creekstone has contended that if it were allowed to test all animals, which both countries want, such restrictions would not apply.

Source: The Wichita Eagle
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