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New York Times Calls For 100% BSE Testing

In an April 6 editorial, The New York Times called for 100% testing of U.S. cattle for BSE. The editorial doesn't lend any support to Creekstone Farms' bid for private testing, saying "private testing is not the way to go in the long run. It wouldn't make much sense to have a national system made up of a few large producers that tested all their cattle while only 1 percent of everyone else's were tested."

Creekstone Farms of Arkansas City, KS, is suing USDA over the agency's refusal to allow it to BSE-test all the cattle it harvests. Creekstone says it's "vital to U.S. trade with Japan and other countries and the economic future of America's beef exporters to have the freedom to test for BSE, which will provide an added layer of confidence for U.S. beef customers worldwide." It should be pointed out, however, that no official Japanese statement has been made regarding accepting such privately tested cattle.

Instead, the New York Times editorialist calls for USDA to test every cow that goes to slaughter, saying: "The cost is not prohibitive. Fear is the problem."

The editorial claims the fear is that "broad testing may reveal a higher rate of infection and destroy consumer confidence, with a devastating impact on the cattle market." -- Joe Roybal