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The response to the announced plan by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to test this year more than 220,000 cows for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, has been met with skepticism by at least a few.

Japan, which tests every cow slaughtered there, said that the US plan was not enough, and maintained that it will continue to ban US cattle until the USDA adopts a system that tests every slaughtered cow.

And Dr. Michael Greger, an expert on mad cow disease for the Organic Consumers Association, told The New York Times that the new program does not go far enough.

As we noted yesterday on MNB, this is more than 10 times the 20,000 cows tested last year. USDA had already announced that some 40,000 cows would be tested this year, with plans to eventually increase that to about 120,000 cows a year - but now has decided that even broader testing is called for. The testing will focus on some 200,000 animals considered to be high-risk for the brain wasting disease, as well as on about 20,000 cows chosen at random. The United States slaughters a total of about 36 million cattle a year

Mad cow testing became an issue when the first case of mad cow disease in the US was identified late last year.
KC's View:
We repeat - this has the vague feeling of a test balloon. We think it seems highly likely that USDA will test more cows if the public reaction calls for it.

This doesn’t seem like science to us. It seems like policy by polling.