District Judge Rules Private Companies can Test for BSE

Judge rules in favor of Creekstone; has until June 1 to appeal.

The federal government must allow meatpackers to test their animals for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

Kansas meatpacker Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all its cattle for the disease, a move that larger companies feared. If Creekstone is allowed to advertise its meat as tested and safe, it could essentially force the larger companies to test, too.

The U.S. Agriculture Department currently regulates the test and administers it to about 1% of slaughtered cows for the disease. The department threatened Creekstone with prosecution if it tested all its animals.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled the government lacks the authority to regulate the test. Robertson put his order on hold until the government can appeal. If the government doesn't appeal by June 1, he said the ruling would take effect.

Source: Associated Press

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