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E-M:/ AGENCY GUARDING U.S. FOOD SUPPLY HAS CLOSE TIES TO BEEF INDUSTRY



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Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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The below story sheds another light on the Bush Administration's
incestuous relationship with the regulated industries that support them-
AW 

Subject: AGENCY GUARDING U.S. FOOD SUPPLY HAS CLOSE TIES TO BEEF
INDUSTRY


anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org is sending you this article from
BushGreenwatch (http://www.bushgreenwatch.org). 

You can view this story online at:
http://www.bushgreenwatch.org/mt_archives/000037.php

AGENCY GUARDING U.S. FOOD SUPPLY HAS CLOSE TIES TO BEEF INDUSTRY
January 28, 2004

At a Senate hearing yesterday, USDA Secretary Ann Veneman
assured senators that her department is protecting the nation's
food safety in the wake of the first case of mad cow disease
here. Yet the Bush Administration has packed the agency charged
with protecting consumers from tainted meat with officials who
hold close ties to the beef industry.

The USDA is heavily staffed by former employees of the National
Cattlemen's Beef Association and other farm industry groups, all
of whom have a financial stake in how the nation's food supply
is regulated. 

Even the office that controls government communication with the
public is staffed by a former beef industry employee. USDA Press
Secretary Alisa Harrison is former director of public relations
for the cattlemen's group.

Harrison's role hasn't changed much since she took her post at
USDA. Ever since a cow infected with mad cow disease was
discovered in Washington state last month, Harrison has
regularly assured the public that the situation is under
control.[2] 

But, in fact, lax government policies and a lack of adequate
testing have allowed conditions to develop in the U.S. similar
to those that led to the emergence of the disease in Great
Britain.[3] The USDA failed to ban "downer cows," the sick and
injured animals most likely to carry mad cow disease, from
America's food supply until after last month's mad cow
discovery.

Other USDA employees with ties to the industries they oversee: 

Elizabeth Johnson, Senior Advisor on Food and Nutrition;
formerly associate director for Food Policy, National
Cattlemen's Beef Association

James Moseley, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; formerly
managing partner of Infinity Pork, LLC, an Indiana hog farm 

Dale Moore, Chief of Staff; formerly executive director for
legislative affairs, National Cattlemen's Beef Association 

Dr. Eric Hentges, Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and
Promotion; formerly vice president for the National Pork Board;
director of Consumer Nutrition and Health Research, National
Pork Producers Council; director of Human Nutrition Research,
National Livestock and Meat Board 

Dr. Charles "Chuck" Lambert, Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing
and Regulatory Programs; formerly chief economist, National
Cattlemen's Beef Association 

Donna Reifschneider, Administrator for Grain Inspection, Packers
and Stockyards Administration; formerly executive committee
member, Meat Export Federation, 1999-2002, and president,
National Pork Producers Council. With her family, owns a large
hog farm in Illinois 

Mary Kirtley Waters, Assistant Secretary for Congressional
Relations; formerly senior director and legislative counsel,
ConAgra Foods 

Scott Charbo, Chief Information Officer; formerly president,
mPower3, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods

### 

SOURCES: 
[1] "The Cow Jumped Over the USDA," The New York Times, Jan. 2, 2004
[2] Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Mad Cow Disease Fact
Sheet, http://www.pcrm.org/health/prevmed/madcow_facts.html
[3] "Vote Blocked Ban on Ill Cows," The San Jose Mercury News, Jan. 7,
2004, http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/7651253.htm 
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:: BushGreenwatch - tracking the Administration's environmental misdeeds
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