As someone who still relishes a juicy tenderloin now and then -- or a cheeseburger from Dotty Dumplings -- I wish I could trust the U.S. Department of Agriculture when it says it's taken all the necessary steps to prevent a mad cow disease outbreak in this country.
But having closely observed the agency for several years now -- and noticing how it always seems to put economics ahead of public health -- I've concluded that it can't be trusted. So while I know the odds of contracting the human form of mad cow are less than slim, I haven't sunk my teeth into a tenderloin or beef of any kind since a slaughtered Holstein with mad cow disease was discovered in Washington state four months ago.
And I doubt I'll be eating beef any time soon after reading about the USDA's latest suspicious move: refusing to allow Creekstone Farms, a small Kansas beef producer, to test all of its cattle for mad cow disease.
To take such a drastic step, the USDA insists, isn't scientifically warranted. Besides, it would set a bad precedent.
* Japan confirms case of mad cow disease
* MAD COW / MAD DEER FEATURE ARTICLES