USDA Jokes Write Themselves
In a classic "Closing the barn door after the mad cow is out" maneuver, the USDA shifted its policies today
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a series of sweeping changes in its mad cow surveillance and prevention programs Tuesday, some of which will take affect immediately.
The changes include banning downer cattle from the human food supply, testing all suspicious animals and holding them until test results are known. Beef from the cow that tested positive for mad cow disease on Dec. 23 in Mabton, Wash., was distributed for human consumption before the results had been returned.
The USDA also will ban from human consumption certain parts of all cows, including the head, spinal column and small intestines because these tissues are considered high risk for carrying prions, the protein particles that are thought to cause mad cow disease and can infect humans with the always deadly illness called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
And even Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman gets in the act
"Today I am announcing steps we are taking to further protect our system," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said during a news briefing. "In most instances, these actions are a result of work that was underway long before the discovery" of mad cows in Washington state Dec. 23 and in Canada last May, Veneman said.
Good one. The changes have been in the works for a long time and can be put into place immediately following a crisis. She's here all week folks.