USDA to scrap an important food safety check

Our ability to track cattle in cases of food contamination could be compromised

Our ability to track cattle in cases of food contamination could be compromised


The National Animal Identification System – a USDA program set in place during the Bush administration (one of the small bright spots of his tenure) after the discovery in late 2003 of a cow infected with mad cow disease –  will be scrapped due to apparent resistance from ranchers and farmers. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack will announce the changes this Friday.

In the meantime, states will need to create a new system that included how to identify livestock. Officials plan to create a different livestock tracing program that they hope will gain widespread industry support. 

New federal rules will be developed – this could take two years or more to create – but the officials said these would only apply to animals moved via interstate commerce, such as cattle raised in one state being transported to a slaughterhouse in another state.

It’s not clear how far the government would go to restrict the movement of livestock between states if the animals did not meet basic traceability standards.

The soon-to-be-scrapped system received $142 million in federal financing but only 40 percent of the nation’s livestock producers participated in it,  according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

 So, once again, lobbyists have the final say on matters of safety. Since it’s our food supply, doesn’t that make you feel comfy?


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