USDA Considers More Mad Cow Testing

Under growing pressure to do more to ensure the safety of the U.S. beef supply, the Bush administration said Monday it might require that more cattle be tested for mad cow disease.

"One of the things we are looking at is additional testing and what populations of cattle would be appropriate for that additional testing, Ron DeHaven, the U.S. Agriculture Department's chief veterinary officer, told reporters.

However, DeHaven indicated that testing all U.S. cattle, as some are suggesting should be done, is unnecessary.

He noted that "science would suggest that this is a disease of older animals" as the incubation period is typically between 3 and 6 years.

"So we need to take into account the science that we know about this disease as we consider any modifications to our overall system. And I can assure you, all of those options are on the table, and they are actively being discussed within USDA as well as with our colleagues in the Food and Drug Administration," DeHaven said.

Editors note: Richard Brock, The Corn and Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.