Omnivore - Feds say, 'Let's not carried away with this safety thing'

Here's some new strangeness brought to you by our federal government:

Beef exporters are banned from testing their cattle for mad cow disease without approval from the government, which has exclusive control on test kits, a divided federal appeals court panel said today.

A Kansas-based exporter, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, seeking to test its cattle to minimize public fear, challenged Department of Agriculture regulations that block corporations from buying and using kits to test for mad cow disease. There is no cure and no treatment for the neurological disease. It’s 100 percent fatal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion, upheld USDA control of the kits. Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Judith Rogers sided with the government; Chief Judge David Sentelle dissented.

In other words, if the feds don't test our beef, nobody else should be allowed to, either, even if foreign markets insist on it. You can read the whole story here.

Meanwhile, the FDA is proposing regulations for genetically engineered animals. The Washington Post has the story. Here's a sample:

Some of the genetically engineered animals in development, called biofarm animals, are designed to grow faster to reach market more quickly. Others are being developed to make food healthier, Lutter said. "For example, some pigs have been genetically engineered to contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids," he said.

Still others are intended to produce drugs. Certain animals are being genetically altered to be used in human transplantations — for instance, providing cells or tissues or organs that are less likely to be rejected by the human immune system, Lutter said.

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