A Kansas meatpacker has sparked an industry fight by proposing to test all the company's cattle for mad cow disease.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to look for the disease in every animal it processes at its plant in Arkansas City. The Agriculture Department has said no. Creekstone says it intends to sue the department.
"Our customers, particularly our Asian customers, have requested it over and over again," John Stewart, chief executive, said Wednesday. "We feel strongly that if customers are asking for tested beef, we should be allowed to provide that."
The department and larger meat companies oppose comprehensive testing, saying such procedures cannot assure food safety. Testing rarely detects the disease in younger animals, the source of most meat.