Monday, June 27, 2005

Your Government: Protecting You From Harm!

If you happen to be a cattle rancher, that is. So, they've found mad cow disease here in America again. But the USDA found out immediately, right? And swung into action to protect consumers, right? RIGHT?!

Wrong.

A third and more sophisticated test on the beef cow suspected of having mad cow disease would have helped resolve conflicting results from two initial screenings, but the U.S. refused to perform it in November.

That additional test, ordered up by the Agriculture Department's internal watchdog, ended up detecting mad cow -- a finding that was confirmed on Friday by the world's pre-eminent lab, in England.

[snip]

U.S. officials in November had declared the cow free of the disease even though one of two tests -- an initial screening known as a rapid test -- indicated the presence of the disease. A more sophisticated follow-up -- immunohistochemistry, or IHC -- came back negative.

"They had two diametrically opposed results which begged to be resolved," said Paul W. Brown, a former scientist at the National Institutes of Health who spent his career working on mad cow-related issues.

"If you had what they had, you would immediately go to a Western blot and get a third test method and see which one of the previous two was more accurate," Brown said.

Consumer groups and scientists urged the department to perform a Western blot test and seek confirmation from the lab in Weybridge, England.

In a letter to Consumers Union last March, the department said there was no need for the British lab to confirm the results and that the Western blot test would not have given a more accurate reading.
See, this is why I only buy organically raised meat from Whole Foods. I read Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins, in which she examines the meat and poultry industry, and the relaxing of restrictions under the Bush administration. She got to the part where the USDA was debating HOW MUCH fecal matter was allowable in meat, and I started to feel sick. HOW MUCH is allowable? How about ZERO? The gist of it was that the meat and poultry industry had lobbied to reduce the restrictions because contamination means they have to shut down production and clean their facility, which means lost profits. So, of course, our government said "Fuck your health, there's money to be made!"

This is all part of a larger movement by this administration to screw the average American in order to reward big-time contributors. So, you get guys like Chris Cox being put in charge of the SEC, a neutering of the EPA, a lawyer who "began her career litigating on behalf of cattlemen, miners and oil companies" being put in charge of the Department of the Interior, an FDA that approves dangerous drugs because they have a stake in the companies that make them. Do I have to go on? Because I can.

Look, I have no illusions about the fact that ANY administration makes choices that sometimes go against the public interest (although this shouldn't be the case). But have you ever seen such a wholesale sell-out of the health and well-being of the American public? But there is some good news:
The department is pledging that, from now on, it will conduct such testing on suspicious animals.
Whew! Man, I feel SO much better.

1 comment:

Michael Grant said...

Only dirty commie hippies shop at Whole Foods.