USDA'S Own Audit Slams Mad Cow Plan

The USDA's overly confident audit of its Mad Cow (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE) testing policies and procedures has backfired. Assessors announcing the results of this audit have revealed gaping holes in government policies, including poorly trained field inspectors, failure to test the riskiest animals, and "an almost complete absence of available documentation."

The report's conclusion supports the recommendations made for years by the Organic Consumers Association and other consumer groups, saying, "The problems identified during our review, if not corrected, may negatively impact the effectiveness of USDA's overall BSE surveillance program, impair its ability to perform risk assessments and program evaluations, and reduce the credibility of any assertion regarding the prevalence of BSE in the United States."

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