Feds investigating Texas mad cow breach

May 19, 2004 at 5:45 PM

WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- Federal officials have launched an investigation into allegations mad cow disease testing policies were violated in Texas.

United Press International has learned the U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general is looking into whether an agency supervisor in Texas ordered that a suspect cow not be tested for mad cow disease.

"There was enough information that we decided we needed to independently investigate," said David Gray, special counsel to the Office of Inspector General.

USDA policy is that all cows with signs of a brain disorder should be tested for mad cow. However, this policy was breached April 27 by USDA inspectors at Lone Star Beef Processors in San Angelo, Texas, when an animal displaying such signs was not tested.

The meatingplace.com, a Web site that covers the meat industry, reported earlier this month that unnamed government and industry sources, who claimed to have first-hand knowledge of the Texas incident, said a USDA employee in Austin, more than 200 miles from Lone Star Beef, overruled the agency inspectors at the plant and made the decision not to test the cow.

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