Eat To Live: Beef Company Sues USDA

US - Would you want to know the beef you eat is safe from "mad cow" disease? Or would you prefer just to hope for the best that it ' s not infected with the disease that eats fatally away at the brain -- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, as it ' s more formally called? The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the government department that acts in our best food interests, believes we do not need to be reassured that our beef is clear.
calendar icon 5 June 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

As a result, a small meat company is suing the agency.

Creekstone Farm is a producer in Kansas of hormone-free, antibiotic-free natural and premium Blank Angus beef. One of its prime markets was Japan. That is, until, in December 2003, a case of BSE was found in a cow in Washington state.

Although investigation revealed the cow had probably been exposed to BSE in Canada where it was born, the discovery had a disastrous affect on U.S. beef exports.

Japan and South Korea banned all American beef. A major purchaser of Creekstone products, it cost the company $200,000 a day. The ban was partially lifted last year.

After the U.S. case of BSE, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service began testing animals viewed as high risk, screening around 750,000 cows over 26 months. It found two cases.

Since then, 40,000 cows are screened annually by government-affiliated laboratories. But private testing is banned.

And this is what has brought Creekstone to court.

The company asserts its profits are still affected by consumer fears about BSE. To protect its reputation, it built its own state-of-the-art testing laboratory to test all its cattle -- then discovered it was not permitted to buy the testing kits.


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