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From: TSS ()
Subject: Mad Cow Disease: Regulation by half
Date: October 6, 2005 at 8:03 am PST

Mad Cow Disease: Regulation by half


Even for Bush administration work, the latest federal attempt to deal with mad cow disease falls short of good enough.

The Food and Drug Administration announced new rules Tuesday banning the use of some remains of older cattle in animal feed. But the Bush FDA bent to industry wishes to continue several noxious practices, including the use of a calf milk replacement made from cattle blood.

The administration has stumbled so badly on mad cow that, without the benefit of the meat-packing industry's sordid history, it would be possible to imagine that a fully deregulated market could do better. The government keeps amending its regulations with half-measures that don't solve the problem. At the same time, the feds seem prone to bureaucratic stumbles over market solutions, such as last year's U.S. Department of Agriculture decision to block a beef producer from testing all its cattle for mad cow to satisfy Japanese consumers.

The new FDA rules on feeding practices fail to fulfill promises made last year. The rules also fall short of other countries' limits on use of cattle blood, restaurant table scraps and other dangerous feed ingredients.

If there's a bright spot, it's that many Northwest producers are using organic and other natural practices to meet consumer wishes. So far, the feds haven't figured out how to kill that healthy market trend; let us be thankful for small favors.


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