It was good that a U.S. district judge ruled that Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, based in Arkansas City, has the right to test its cattle for mad cow disease. The meatpacking company intends to test all its cattle in order to meet the stringent rules for the lucrative markets of Japan and South Korea.
The USDA currently requires only 1 percent of cattle to be tested and didn’t want Creekstone going beyond that. The USDA’s argument was that if Creekstone Farms raised its standards, other meatpackers might be pressured into raising theirs — an expensive endeavor that, it argues, wouldn’t increase food safety. There was also some concern about the possibility of a lot of false-positive test results, which could rattle the markets.
But isn’t not allow Creekstone to test analogous to the federal government preventing car manufacturers from installing additional air bags or other safety measures, above and beyond the requirements, because other car manufacturers might feel pressured to do so?
The USDA has until June 1 to appeal the decision.
Posted by Patrice Hein
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