Due to yet another confirmed case of Mad Cow disease in the U.S., foreign buyers remain skeptical about the safety of conventional, non-organic U.S. beef. The USDA has refused to stop allowing the feeding of blood and slaughterhouse waste to cows and to require universal testing for the fatal disease, as required in the EU and Japan, causing overseas sales of U.S. beef products to plummet. While 100% of cows in Japan, aged 24 months and older, are tested for the disease, only 1% of the 35 million cattle slaughtered annually in the U.S. are tested (and the USDA has announced it will be scaling back this level of testing). As a result, a Kansas-based meatpacking company, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, announced last week that it will voluntarily test all of the beef it processes, in order to meet the demands of some of its foreign buyers. In response, the USDA has filed a notice against Creekstone, saying the company is not allowed to test its meat for the brain-wasting disease. Creekstone believes it has a right to test its meat and is suing the USDA. "Our customers, particularly our Asian customers, have requested it over and over again," chief executive John Stewart said in an interview Wednesday. "We feel strongly that if customers are asking for tested beef, we should be allowed to provide that."
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