Posted by Brad @ 4:50 pm on August 30th 2008

Your Regulatory Agencies At Work

While Wyeth v. Levine lurks on the horizon, here’s an interesting little case from Kansas.

WASHINGTON (AP) A federal appeals court says the government can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad cow disease.

Because the Agriculture Department tests only a small percentage of cows for the deadly disease, Kansas meatpacker Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows. The government says it can’t.

Larger meat companies worry that if Creekstone is allowed to perform the test and advertise its meat as safe, they could be forced to do the expensive test, too.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that would have cleared the way for the testing. The appeals court said restricting the test is within the scope of the government’s authority.

I find myself at a loss to think of anything appropriately snide to add that the article itself doesn’t already perfectly convey.


  1. Jesus wept.

    Comment by Cameron — 8/30/2008 @ 5:10 pm

  2. So, presumably, selling their meat at a lower price would be forbidden too? Because it might put the larger companies at a disadvantage too?

    Comment by Talarohk — 8/30/2008 @ 6:24 pm

  3. Indeed.

    Two, somewhat contrasting messages from this.

    1. Despite liberal protestations, regulation is dumb.

    2. Despite conservative protestations, the free market ain’t as free as we’d like to think.

    Comment by Brad — 8/31/2008 @ 3:08 am

  4. The blurb I read said it was based on a 1913 law and has to do with technicalities surrounding the kits as “diagnosis” and “treatment” following the death of an animal, thus subject to USDA regulation. I just got that from the slashdot blurb.

    The kits are also distributed by the USDA, no? If so, there should be nothing stopping someone from independently developing and marketing a test kit, I would think. IT isn’t that they can’t do it, its that they can’t get the kits without permission, which the court just said is okay to deny.

    Comment by Jerrod — 8/31/2008 @ 8:45 am

  5. BLT follows up here, and confirms some of Jerrod’s explanations.

    It’s massively, massively stupid. It also demonstrates that, whatever the initial intentions of government regulations, the economically powerful will eventually end up using them as a wedge against the powerless. This is regrettably true no matter who controls the government.

    Comment by Rojas — 8/31/2008 @ 11:44 am

  6. I wonder if they can import kits. I doubt that the rest of the world is using USA kits.

    Comment by Jerrod — 9/1/2008 @ 2:12 am

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