Saturday, March 6


Even in painstakingly even-handed editorials, in determinedly calm, unexcited tones, some outlets like The Boston Globe are starting to connect the dots for the public about the stakes here and the USDA'S so-called credibility:

    The USDA defends its concentration on downers [i.e. the small number of tests] by saying that the infected Holstein fit that category. But the owner of the slaughterhouse and the worker who killed the animal say that it was not a downer cow. US officials are now investigating to see if a crime was committed in the false listing of the cow as a downer.

    A further argument for wider testing has come from Europe, which uses more sensitive tests than the United States and requires them on all cattle 30 months or older. Italian researchers recently detected a new form of mad cow in two cows that had appeared to be healthy.

    The discovery is especially disconcerting because tissue samples from these cows resembled samples from human victims of a related spongiform encephalopathy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The 300 or so cases of this disease each year in the United States had been assumed to be spontaneous aberrations, but scientists now wonder if they might have been caused by eating infected meat, like the human form of mad cow disease.

Wonder if there will be an in-depth Sunday story on this somewhere...

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