Once again, Stephen J. Hedges of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE is on top of the issues surrounding the slaughter of “downer” cows, and the risks (or not) to our food supply. His article, “The Last Roundup” appeared in the BUFFALO NEWS yesterday morning. It is a must read for those thinking about the safety and financial implications of using “downers” to feed school kids. I have written on the topic a few times – see, “Should all downers be banned from the food supply” and “The raw economics driving the use of downers.”
I can not tell you how many phone calls I have received since the story of the abused cows caught on video broke. Parents and School Administrators are concerned about the meat they received as 37 million of the 143 million pounds of meat recalled were bought by the USDA for nutrition and school lunch programs. E. coli, Salmonella and Mad Cow are the primary worries. Although there have been no reported illnesses, and the risk of contracting Mad Cow Disease is remote, parents are rightly concerned.
Here is a thought. Although most, if not all, of the meat has either been consumed or destroyed at this point, would in not be interesting to test what can be found? Frankly, I do not know what the test results would show, but if tests were negative, it would certainly ease parents concerns. On the other hand, if positive, it would certainly reinforce concerns already raised on the use of “downers.” So, USDA, “WHERE IS THE BEEF?”