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Old 08-29-2008, 09:27 PM   #1
Renegade
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Default Court bars meatpacker tests for mad cow

no comment.....

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Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:47pm EDT

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Agriculture Department is within bounds to bar meatpackers from testing slaughter cattle for mad cow disease, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel said in a 2-1 ruling on Friday.

Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC, a small Arkansas packer, filed suit on March 23, 2006, to gain access to mad-cow test kits. It said it wanted to test every animal at its plant to assure foreign buyers that the meat was safe to eat.

Three U.S. cases of mad cow disease, a fatal neurological infection, have been reported, the last in March 2006. People can contract a human version of the disease by eating infected meats. Most nations banned U.S. beef after the first case, in December 2003, but trade has been restored for the most part.

In a 25-page ruling, Appellate Judges Karen Henderson and Judith Rogers said USDA has authority under the 1913 Virus-Serum-Toxin Act to prevent sale of mad-cow test kits to meatpackers. USDA interprets the law to control products for "prevention, diagnosis, management or care of diseases of animals."

David Sentelle, chief judge of the District of Columbia appeals circuit, dissented from the decision. He said USDA "exceeds the bounds of reasonableness" for a law enacted to prevent the sale of ineffective animal medicine.

USDA allows the mad-cow test kits to be sold only to laboratories that it approves. It says the tests should not be used as a marketing tool and the cattle that comprise the bulk of the meat supply are too young to be tested reliably.

Two large export markets, Japan and South Korea, accept beef only from younger U.S. cattle. Mad cow is found mostly in older cattle. Its incubation period is two to eight years.

Creekstone said it lost $200,000 a day due to reduced U.S. beef exports when it filed its lawsuit.

In its lawsuit, Creekstone argued the 1913 law could not be invoked to prevent use of products like "rapid test" kits for mad cow disease and the kits were not a "treatment" for livestock.

U.S. District Judge James Robinson had ruled in March 2007 that USDA could not control mad cow tests because they are not a treatment for animals.

The United States applies a number of safeguards against mad cow, formally named bovine spongiform encephalopathy. They include a ban on using cattle parts in feed and requirements for packers to remove at slaughter the materials most likely to carry the mad-cow agent -- the brain, spinal column and nervous system tissue.

(Editing by Walter Bagley)
http://www.reuters.com/article/domes...080829?sp=true
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:51 PM   #2
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So, you have no right to test your product to make sure it is safe.



AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH. What madness is this?
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:56 PM   #3
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AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH. What madness is this?
The USDA, of course.
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Old 08-30-2008, 10:12 AM   #4
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The government is not your friend. Hi, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you not to help yourself. As people live longer and accumulate skills, the government will regulate everything. Suppose for discussion, you live 400 years. You have the skills and technology to be a demigod. Now the government forces you be a gardener in a robot agriculture world. If you live 400 years, you can be a doctor AND a pharmacist AND an engineer AND an organic chemist AND ... .
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:31 PM   #5
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So, you have no right to test your product to make sure it is safe.



AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH. What madness is this?
Its funny, I tell people this and they won't believe me. We have (or did have) people on this board who defend this.

However, when you have a president who appoints lobbiests from the meat industry to run the USDA, this kind of result is quite predictable.
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:34 PM   #6
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However, when you have a president who appoints lobbiests from the meat industry to run the USDA, this kind of result is quite predictable.
Sorry dave, but the meat packers had the USDA in their pocket long before this president came along...or born even...
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:11 PM   #7
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Sorry dave, but the meat packers had the USDA in their pocket long before this president came along...or born even...
Oh, I agree. Its just there is not even a pretense of regulation anymore.
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:54 PM   #8
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Dave, I guess you have never been toe-to-toe with a USDA Inspector have you. I have. Given even the slightest excuse to shut down production or make a company jump, they revel in the power.

The last time I got into a confrontation with them, it was over an ammonia leak. It was 5ppm, the result of a small relief valve popping on the pressurized system. The lead inspector wanted to halt production because "his people" (his words, implying they were better than anyone else) did not like the smell. He did not like getting shoved back by me with our policy (evacuate at 25ppm) NIOSH recommendations (evacuate at 35ppm) or the OSHA regulation (evacuate at 50ppm) and he really did not like it when I told him I did not care too much for his implication that I would hazard "my people" (which meant EVERYBODY on the production floor) but I also would not be bullied by him into evacuating unecessarily from what amounted to a house-hold ammonia stench.

I have seen the USDA bully or attempt to bully plenty of times. As they get paid regardless of whether the line is running or not, typically, they would rather sit on their ass in their offices than be on the floor doing their jobs. It is a constant battle to keep them happy. But they do have the final word on beef grading and acceptance or rejection. The amount of product that is rejected every day amounts to millions of dollars each year. It is all sent to rendering and ends up as fertilizer. But nobody wants contaminated product to enter the food chain. Who the hell wants to poison their own families?

Unless you work in the industry, your claim that "there is not even a pretense of regulation anymore" is pure speculative and uneducated BS on your part.

BTW, we opened in 1968, and have never had a recall in all that time.
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:21 PM   #9
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Wow, glock sure missed the point, didn't he?

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Old 09-01-2008, 01:05 AM   #10
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I cringe every time one of my kids orders a hamburger (we never use ground beef at home). Much of this is due to the "shoot, shovel and shut up" mentality apparent in the USDA's resistance to testing for mad cow.

Has any rational excuse ever been given for preventing processors from doing their own testing... other than the obvious fear that they'll find it?


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Old 09-01-2008, 01:54 AM   #11
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Dave asserted that the meatpacking industry owns the USDA, and in the 10 years I have been in the business, I have found the exact opposite. The Japanese and Korean markets want 100% testing, but the US Gov does not want the expense. At $35 per test kit, per head, that can really eat up profits when you are only making $60 (I have seen us at $20 per head) it would kill some packing houses, forcing thousands out of work. Or it would force a reduction in employee benefits.

Creekstone farms is a small operation, but I suspect that their wish to be a certified 100% Mad Cow tested facility is to attract the foreign dollars, which pays much much more for beef than the American Consumer does. It would be costly to them, yes, but if they only sold overseas, with their size, they could afford that.

What it would do however is force every other processor who wished to sell overseas to do the same thing, with the choice of passing on the $35 per head cost to the American consumer or reducing operations to support only overseas buyers. In my plant, capable of 2000 head per day slaughter, we would have to spend millions to shrink our facilty or pay the cost for chilling thousand of square feet of unused production and cold storage space. In short, we would go broke paying for !00% of the building but only using 15%. Plus, meat prices in the states would shoot up enormously as plants either passed on the testing costs or switched to overseas only production leaving fewer plants for domestic use.

FYI, check out Creekstones website. They are a very small producer processing only Black Angus beef. You can order from them direct. Two 12oz NY Strip will cost you $50.

Their desire to test is all about money, the foreign dollar, as I can imagine their domestic orders are a bit light given the current economy here in the U.S.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:40 AM   #12
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With all due respect to your experience in the industry, "$35 per head cost" may seriously affect the processor's profits, but it is not a significant increase to the end consumer.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:47 AM   #13
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sorry folks, but you've all missed the point. The processor wouldn't pay the $35. The packing industry would use the the power of the USDA to make the calf producer pay it at sale.
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glockd View Post
Dave asserted that the meatpacking industry owns the USDA, and in the 10 years I have been in the business, I have found the exact opposite. The Japanese and Korean markets want 100% testing, but the US Gov does not want the expense. At $35 per test kit, per head, that can really eat up profits when you are only making $60 (I have seen us at $20 per head) it would kill some packing houses, forcing thousands out of work. Or it would force a reduction in employee benefits.

Creekstone farms is a small operation, but I suspect that their wish to be a certified 100% Mad Cow tested facility is to attract the foreign dollars, which pays much much more for beef than the American Consumer does. It would be costly to them, yes, but if they only sold overseas, with their size, they could afford that.

What it would do however is force every other processor who wished to sell overseas to do the same thing, with the choice of passing on the $35 per head cost to the American consumer or reducing operations to support only overseas buyers. In my plant, capable of 2000 head per day slaughter, we would have to spend millions to shrink our facilty or pay the cost for chilling thousand of square feet of unused production and cold storage space. In short, we would go broke paying for !00% of the building but only using 15%. Plus, meat prices in the states would shoot up enormously as plants either passed on the testing costs or switched to overseas only production leaving fewer plants for domestic use.

FYI, check out Creekstones website. They are a very small producer processing only Black Angus beef. You can order from them direct. Two 12oz NY Strip will cost you $50.

Their desire to test is all about money, the foreign dollar, as I can imagine their domestic orders are a bit light given the current economy here in the U.S.
These assertions are absurd. It would "force every other producer selling overseas to do the same thing"!!?? "[Creekstone's] desire to test is all about money"!!!? Exactly what part of the meatpacking industry is not "all about money" NOW? To simply ALLOW a facility to sell tested meat forces nobody to do anything, and if these businesses can't compete in the marketplace over something like this, they should go out of business, and let some real businesspeople take over.

No arguments are more convoluted and nonsensical than free market adherents trying to justify absolute market controls for their own benefit. This list of what "terrible things will happen" if packers are ALLOWED to test is utterly fanciful.

As for who pays the $35, a packer that wants to test is going to pay it, and probably charge a premium or make more sales. The ones that don't want a test, won't.
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:36 AM   #15
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Last meeting I attended, when the subject came up, we were going to do the testing, and $35 a head was the price of the test. Again, if you are making $60 a head and have to spend another $35, that means you are making $25 a head. As I tossed my last cost per head breakdown in the trash as I walked out the door for the last time on the 15th of August, I dont have the numbers in front of me. I can tell you that the discussion 2 years ago was that if we had to do the testing for every carcass, some folks would have a tough time buying beef.

And remember, that is just the cost of the test kits. It does not include the labor costs to move the product from the receiving dock to the harvest floor, the labor to run the test, the labor to review the test nor the additional Lab staff or USDA inspector to certify the test.
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:35 AM   #16
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Last meeting I attended, when the subject came up, we were going to do the testing, and $35 a head was the price of the test. Again, if you are making $60 a head and have to spend another $35, that means you are making $25 a head. As I tossed my last cost per head breakdown in the trash as I walked out the door for the last time on the 15th of August, I dont have the numbers in front of me. I can tell you that the discussion 2 years ago was that if we had to do the testing for every carcass, some folks would have a tough time buying beef.

And remember, that is just the cost of the test kits. It does not include the labor costs to move the product from the receiving dock to the harvest floor, the labor to run the test, the labor to review the test nor the additional Lab staff or USDA inspector to certify the test.
I find this "selfless" concern by the meatpackers for what people will pay for beef, while most touching, rather mendacious. There's lots (probably most) people do not care about the test when it comes down to paying more per pound, side by side in the grocery store the cheap stuff will sell nicely and it would be fairly likely not much will change in the domestic market.

EXCEPT:

That which I think is the meat industry's real concern, that if every cow was tested, it would turn out there were more cases than the current procedures detect. (Current procedures, BTW, that are able to be violated wholesale, with false and nonexistent procedures, training, and inspection, ONLY to be detected by outside activists simply working day-to-day in a meatpacking job, massive fakery NOT to be found or even suspected by the USDA, whatever grief they may give Glock, BTW a sure sign of a decadent, purposeless, fraudulent agency with leadership chosen to make it fail.)

The meat industry and their servant, the USDA, are going to fight wholesale testing tooth and nail, for they suspect, as I do, that any plant performing 100% testing is going to show the kind of dementia and death "roulette by ignorance" they are playing with the public's health.

And THEN testing will be mandatory, no question.
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:39 AM   #17
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That which I think is the meat industry's real concern, that if every cow was tested, it would turn out there were more cases than the current procedures detect.

We have a winner!

And THEN testing will be mandatory, no question.

And THEN is when the cost will be kicked downhill to the producer.
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