Elsewhere in Washington, USDA this week released a report that found significant investment in food safety upgrades at U.S. meat and poultry plants. The report concludes those investments have improved "the safety of the food supply and practices that control or reduce pathogens."
The report, no doubt, was welcome news to a beef industry that continues to struggle with lingering questions over BSE, or Mad Cow disease.
The Organization for Competitive Markets, which is a nonprofit group of citizens concerned with the welfare of rural America, is worried about the USDA's decision to disclose initial positive BSE results. They join other interest groups troubled by the effect of a false positive on the cattle market. Officials with OCM are uneasy with USDA's decision to release positive test results before further investigation has been completed. The plan, they contend, is further evidence that USDA is losing control of BSE policy.
Though most borders remain closed to U.S. beef imports, there have been rumblings that Indonesia has lifted its ban on U.S. beef products. Even so, the USDA, which was aware of the news reports, has yet to be officially informed by the Indonesian government that trade will resume. If true, the Southeast Asian nation would join Mexico and Canada as countries now importing U.S. beef.