Wednesday, July 27, 2005

He Just Forgot

bse_cow_vert And so it goes:

"The U.S. is investigating a possible third case of mad-cow disease, after a tissue sample from a 12- year-old cow showed signs of the brain-wasting illness.
The brain tissue sample will undergo further tests at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, and at a lab in Weybridge, U.K., John Clifford, the department's chief veterinarian, said today in a tele-conference. Results are expected next week."
Clifford went on to say there was no danger because the meat hadn't "entered the human food chain". It was from a cow that had recently had difficulty giving birth. And the brain tissue sample, which had been taken back in April by a local vet, hadn't been forwarded to the USDA till last week, in a typical display of chain-of-evidence buffoonery:
"The vet 'simply forgot to send it in,' he said.
The sample had been preserved in formalin, which prevented it from being tested using a rapid screening test called the Western blot, Clifford said. It provided ``inconclusive'' results under a procedure called the immunohistochemistry test, which the USDA has described as the ``gold standard'' among several tests available. IHC tests will be used in Ames and in Weybridge, using different cross-sections of tissue, Clifford said."
We saw this before in the second confirmed case last month, where the initial tests had proved contradictory, and the ultimate determiunation had to be made by farming out the tissue to the UK. The USDA's idea of a "gold standard" hasn't been very reassuring. But what would you expect from an agency whose prime goal is not to protect the public health but to push marketing flak for ranchers and meat-processing companies? "We want to minimize the impacts upon the markets," Clifford said a year ago.

I don't really hate to say, "I told you so", but when my life is on the line, I actually like to.
I told you so.

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