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'Mad Cow' Finding Highlights Food Safety Gaps, Say Critics

•, Common Dreams staff
 The announcement on Tuesday that a California dairy cow had mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), highlights shortcomings of the country's food safety system, say critics.

The beef industry and the USDA were quick to dismiss worries of contamination to the food supply. John Clifford, the USDA's chief veterinary officer, said, "It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association said in a statement: "U.S. regulatory controls are effective, and that U.S fresh beef and beef products from cattle of all ages are safe and can be safely traded due to our interlocking safeguards."

But Elisa Odabashian, West Coast director of Consumers Union, noted that the monitoring system leaves public health gaps because it is just too small.

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