The beef in question is banned from the United States because it came from a cow older than 30 months.
While state officials say there is no cause of concern, safeguards should have prevented the beef from entering Florida in the first place. A total of 1,800 pounds of beef was sent to six states, including Florida. While the amount is small, it shows that even the best safeguards sometimes fail.
Florida cattle rancher Payne Midyett is familiar with USDA restrictions to guard against mad cow disease. He calls this latest incident disappointing
Payne says, “I’m sorry it happened. We need the restrictions to work.”
By the time you find beef in the grocery store it is supposed to have met a number of requirements, but in this case, mistakes were made.
First, the cow which came from Canada where there have been cases of mad cow, was older than 30 months, putting it in a higher risk category. Second, the meat that is close to the nervous system is to be discarded, but instead it was shipped to several states including Florida. Still, state agriculture officials say the danger to consumers is minimal.
Terrence McElroy, spokesman for the Florida Agriculture Commission, says, “The risks of it occurring are infinitesimal.”
McElroy says the risk is small because cows no longer eat organic feed, a major cause of mad cow. He also says the cow in question had no symptoms of the disease. Still, some say the feds should let consumers know where the beef ended up.
Terrence McElroy says, “If we find it’s been in retail establishments, not only will we redouble our efforts to make sure all of it has been removed from the marketplace, but we will advise the public.”
McElroy says the cow was barely older than the 30 month restriction, and that age restriction is one of many safeguards for the public. Under USDA regulations, only cows younger than 30 months can be shipped to the United States from Canada.