US gets mad cow disease
US consumers have traditionally been much more relaxed and trusting than Europeans (and especially Brits) about their food industry. That may be about to change. According to today’s NYT, “Agriculture officials pored through cattle sales records at two Washington State companies on Wednesday in hope of finding where a cow with mad cow disease was born so they could trace the extent of the outbreak.
Officials hope to be able to determine where, when and how the Holstein became infected with the disease as a clue to whether other animals were also infected. But they have faced slow going because of a lack of centralized records on the animal’s history, officials said.
Beef importers abroad were not waiting for the results. By early Wednesday, about two-thirds of the export market for beef had already dried up, with Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia and South Africa all banning imports of American beef, agriculture officials said. About 10 percent of American beef, worth about $2.6 billion a year, is exported.”
Hmmm… given the importance of the US farming lobby, this could be interesting….