Eat that?: Agriculture secretary’s reassurance rings hollow in light of current industrial beef processing | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle
“Every single carcass that’s processed is inspected by a USDA inspector,” Schafer told reporters in San Antonio. “That beef is stamped A-OK, and we want to assure our consumers here in the United States, as well as our consumers … in foreign countries, that we provide a good, clean, safe, abundant food supply here.”
But what exactly is entailed in that inspection? According to the USDA, a government inspector is on site whenever cows are slaughtered and processed. The inspectors are supposed to look at every carcass and determine whether the meat is fit for human consumption. Basically, they have a look and maybe a sniff and a feel. That’s it.
But even that cursory process might be more than consumers are actually getting. The Web abounds with reports, including firsthand accounts and interviews with reputable news organizations, in which USDA inspectors complain that they can’t possibly carry out their job in a meaningful way. There are too few of them to deal with the number of cattle slaughtered each hour in modern meat-processing facilities.
Maybe charred is the best way to insure the safety of your meat after all…If you don’t raise it yourself, that is.
The statement from the Secretary though fits right in with most of the statements put out by members of this administration. Assurances that all is well as they end the enforcement of the regulations that protect us…Seven months and counting…
Then there is this story…
Op-Ed Contributor – Stop the Madness – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com
THE Korean beef market, once the third-largest importer of American beef, has shut its doors to the United States. Why? Because Koreans are worried about eating meat tainted with mad cow disease, which can be fatal to humans. Recent attempts by Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, to reopen the market have brought tens of thousands of demonstrators to the streets in protest.
American beef producers could easily allay those fears by subjecting every cow at slaughter to the so-called rapid test, which costs about $20 per carcass and screens for this brain-wasting disease in a few hours rather than days. But the United States Department of Agriculture won’t allow that.
In 2004, Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, Kan., wanted to test the cattle it slaughters to comply with the wishes of its Korean and Japanese customers. But the department ruled that the rapid test could only be used as part of its own mad cow surveillance program, which randomly checks about 1 in 1,000 dead and slaughtered cattle in the United States every year. The sale of the kits to private companies is prohibited under an obscure 1913 law that allows the department to prohibit veterinary products that it considers “worthless.”
Not only is the government not fulfilling it’s own obligations, it’s stopping companies that want to go further from doing so. I know this free markets administration wants to keep the playing field level for it’s freinds, but stifleing innovation to lower compitetion doesn’t really fit the free markets talking points…Or does it?