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From: TSS ()
Subject: Government hid deadly mad cow beef
Date: June 28, 2005 at 9:03 am PST

Last updated: June 28. 2005 12:00AM

Government hid deadly beef

What we don't know might kill us, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture isn't letting us know.

For seven months after a lab found a cow infected with BSE – mad cow disease – our government told us nothing.

Americans continued to buy and eat beef. Presumably nobody contracted the lethal brain-wasting disease, but nobody knows for sure.

The government's excuse for keeping the test secret is that another test didn't find the disease. In other words, when the government couldn't be sure about the presence of the disease in our food supply, it did not decide to give the benefit of the doubt to you and your family. It gave it to the cattle industry.

It wasn't until two weeks ago that the agriculture department's inspector general, a theoretically independent person who's supposed to make sure bureaucrats do the right thing, asked for further examination by the world's acknowledged experts in Great Britain.

When their "Western blot" test confirmed BSE, our government finally told us. Critics have argued that the United States should use the test, which is standard in Britain and Japan.

Many other countries also test far more animals than we do.The Japanese, arguably going a bit overboard, test every one. European countries typically test about one in four. Our government tests one in 90.

It's hardly paranoid to wonder about the other 89.

If our government tested more cattle and adopted the best-respected technique, if it banned practices that veterinarians fear could lead to BSE, Americans might order more steak dinners. People in a lot of other countries might, too.

Truth isn't only the best policy. It's also the best salesman.


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