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Government

Appeals Court Rules US Can Block Mad Cow Testing 455

fahrbot-bot tips a story of mad cow disease, a private meat packer that wants to test all of its beef for the disease, and the USDA, which controls access to the test kits and just won an appeals court ruling that the government has the authority to block testing above and beyond the 1% the agency performs. Creekstone Farms Premium Beef sought to test 100% of its beef, in order to reassure its export markets, especially Japan and South Korea, that its beef is safe. Large meat packers opposed any such private testing, because they feared they would be forced into 100% testing and would have to raise prices. The appeals court ruled, 2 to 1, that under a 1913 law, test kits that are used only after an animal is killed still constitute "diagnosis" and "treatment" — this for a disease that has no treatment and is 100% fatal — and therefore fall under the USDA's authority to regulate.

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