Tuesday, January 27


Yesterday, an unidentified USDA official told a Washington state TV station that the Mad Cow was, in fact, a downer, and Dave Louthan was wrong. Today, though, the Columnbia Basin Herald quotes a named USDA official, Nolan Lemon, as acknowledging that it was not, in fact, a downer. Referring to Louthan's version of events, "Lemon said this case proved the system does work. The cow in question was flagged because of its odd behavior, such as running around in its pen, he said. 'At the end of the day, the surveillance system worked. We did find that one-in-a-million case,' he said. Lemon added that the cow was probably marked as a downer by a veterinarian so as to alert authorities that it needed to be tested." Uh...huh. So it wasn't a downer, but was incorrectly marked as a downer because that was the only way to get it tested? Now there's a failsafe system.
UPDATE 1/28: Dave Louthan continues to make trouble for the USDA, proclaiming that slaughtering processes render muscle meat from BSE cows unsafe: He says "a band saw cuts right down the exact center of the spine, cutting the spinal cord in half the long way. There are hot water jets spraying on the blade at the guides to clean off the fat, blood and bone dust. As the blade cuts down through the spinal cords, little bits are torn out and mix with this hot water slurry, which runs all over the beef inside and out, totally contaminating the meat." But a USDA spokesman pooh-poohs the idea that an actual slaughterhouse worker would know what was going on with the different parts of the cow being slaughtered. The official assures us that "in some meat plants the spine is removed," but then is not certain of the procedures at the plant where the Mad Cow actually was slaughtered. Oh, OK.

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