Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Miracle of Self-Regulation, Pt. CCXVIII 

Via Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla: We're sick of hearing calls for more heavy-handed government regulation, which is expensive and inefficient. The invisible hand will surely take care of the problem below when (and if) the results become apparent. Given the incubation period for BSE, however, that could be a decade or two off -- and if the prions you and your family ingested at the local burger joint this afternoon have turned all your brains into lace doilies by then, you'll be the results:
U.S. meat plants are allowing brains and spinal cord from older cattle to enter the food supply, violating strict government regulations aimed at preventing the spread of mad cow disease, a federal meat inspectors union said on Monday.

Nearly a year after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, meat plants have yet to implement measures required by the U.S. Agriculture Department to protect consumers, said the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals.

The USDA has said its ban on brains, spinal cord, eyes and other so-called specific risk material (SRMs) was the most important action it has taken since the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States.

The deadly disease is carried within the infected animal's brain and nervous system and can be spread to humans when eaten. Older cattle, over 30 months of age, are thought to be at higher risk for mad cow disease than younger animals . . . .

Inspectors said plants were also violating a trade agreement with Mexico by shipping kidneys from cattle over 30 months old.

The union said inspectors were being told by their supervisors not to intervene when they noticed export requirements of Mexico were not being followed.
Stories like this make our head hurt. Please pass the Aleve.

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