Tuesday, December 21


It's funny, isn't it, how just before election day the news was that Japan was ready to lift their Mad-Cow-inspired ban on U.S. beef any day now, helping to create an impression that things were on the upswing and Bush's USDA team was doing a terrific, proactive job. But as of December... "No end is in sight to Japan's ban on imports of a U.S. beef, the head of a U.S. beef industry delegation said on Tuesday after a two-day visit to Japan aimed at speeding efforts to ease the ban." Huh. Boy, that's strange.

Maybe some of the Japanese negotiators got wind of the charges from federal meat inspectors that "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." Note that this is similar to, but a whole separate problem from, the FDA refusing to keep rendered cow parts out of animal feed - which, no surprise, is also a problem (although more thoroughly documented) in Canada. No, this is the human food supply we're talking about, with BSE-high-risk material going directly into people's mouths. "We are seeing little to no change at these plants," said Stan Painter, the federal meat inspectors union's chairman.

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