Friday, July 21, 2006

USDA To Eliminate Most Mad Cow Testing As The Number of Cases Found Increases

The Chicago Tribune reports:
The Department of Agriculture is cutting its tests for mad cow disease by about 90 percent.

The current testing level--1,000 each day--reflects the concern that followed the discovery in December 2003 of mad cow disease in the U.S.

Since then, tests have turned up two more cases of the disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The government says a handful of cases may be undetected.

"It's time that our surveillance efforts reflect what we now know is a very, very low level of BSE in the United States," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Thursday.

Critics say now is not the time to scale back on the testing.

"It surely will not encourage consumers in the U.S. or Japan to rush to the store to buy more beef," said Carol Tucker-Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America.

Those who are behind this decision (deregulating food supply safety) are counting on being out of office and out of the public eye when people eating infected meat today will get sick: The lead time from eating meat infected with BSE (Mad Cow) to showing symptoms can take years, even a decade or two.

It's time to pull another Oprah and bring the full weight of the consumer down on the beef industry and politicians. Boycotting meat is the only way to force them to make the food supply safe.

Howard F. Lyman, a 4th generation cattle rancher, wrote a book and was on Oprah in 1996. Lyman exposed the truth about the meat industry - he loves meat, but won't eat it anymore. PBS will be rebroadcasting a documentary about him in the coming days and weeks.

Still want to grill this weekend? Instead of meat (no amount of heat is going to kill prions), maybe grill a piece of fish:

Spicy Grilled Salmon with Mango, Radish and Lime Salsa

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1 red onion, chopped
6 red radishes, chopped, plus 1 sliced for garnish
2 limes, peeled and cut into segments
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Southwest Spice Mix, recipe follows
1 (2 to 3 pound) salmon fillet
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salsa, put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped; set aside.
Heat the grill to medium high.

Drizzle some olive oil over the salmon and season it with salt and pepper. Gently rub 2 tablespoons of the Spice Mix into the salmon. Pour some olive oil onto a paper towel and rub the grill with it - this will help to prevent the fish from sticking. Grill the salmon flesh side down for about 12 to 15 minutes.

To serve, spread most of the Salsa onto a platter and place the salmon, skin side down, on top. Garnish with more Salsa, radish slices, cilantro, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Southwest Spice Mix:
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons whole cumin
2 tablespoons whole coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
Put the ancho chiles, cumin, coriander, cinnamon stick, and paprika into a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, and toast the spices just until they begin to smell, about 1 minute. Empty into a spice mill and grind to a powder.

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