Legal Fight Over Private BSE Testing Drags On

US - A USDA spokesman on Wednesday confirmed the Agency is appealing a ruling by a federal district court judge that Creekstone Farms can test its own cattle supply for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). But USDA isn't saying much more. According to the spokesman, USDA's only further public comments on the matter will be contained in the court documents the Agency submits when it files the appeal.
calendar icon 31 May 2007
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That ruling from Judge James Robertson in favor of Arkansas, Kansas-based Creekstone Farms, a comparatively small beef packer, came at the end of March. USDA had until the first of June to appeal.

Large meat packers have opposed private BSE testing on a variety of grounds. One argument is that the cost to Creekstone for testing all of the roughly 300,000 cattle it slaughters each year would be much less than that of large meat packers, some of which slaughter millions of cattle a year. That, critics say, would give Creekstone an unfair competitive advantage in international markets.

USDA also opposes private BSE testing for a wide range of reasons. In its arguments before the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, USDA said it's the Agency job to test for animal diseases, not private industry's. USDA lawyers also argued that USDA alone should be responsible for maintaining domestic and international confidence in U.S. beef safety.

Source: Brownfield

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