CSPI Reaction to New Mad Cow Confirmation and Administration's "Faith-Based Mad Cow Policy"

Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal

June 24, 2005

It appears the animal that recently was confirmed as positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy did not enter the human food supply. But since the United States does not have a mandatory animal tracking system, USDA's strategy is basically to cross its fingers and hope that beef from a BSE-infected animal doesn't end up on Americans' dinner plates. Call it a faith-based mad cow policy.

In May, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns put national animal identification on a slow boat and delayed implementation until 2009. Canada was able to move from a voluntary to a mandatory animal tracking system in one year. There's no reason why the United States can't implement a system just as good as Canada's just as quickly.

Happily, the risk of contracting the human form of mad cow disease is minuscule. But the benefits of a better system that allows traceability up and down the food chain is that it would allow other potentially infected cattle to be more easily found. In addition, it also would help public officials to more easily contain food-poisoning outbreaks due to E. coli 0157:H7 and other hazards, including bioterrorism.


Get Updates Via Email

Journalists can receive CSPI news releases via email.
Not a journalist?

Sign Up for Email Now



Subscribe Now

Subscribe Now »

Subscribe Today and Save!

In Recent Issues

Cover Story: 1 in 8: What You May Not Know About Breast Cancer

Special Feature: Soy Oh Soy: Is It Really Bad For You?

Brand-Name Rating: Pasta Sauce

Subscribe Now

Request permission to reuse content

The use of information from this site for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited without written permission from CSPI.