A federal appeals court judge is pondering whether the Bush administration has the authority to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Bush administration made its request on Friday to the court that is considering overturning a ruling that allowed Creekstone Farms Premium Beef of Arkansas City, Kan., to test all its beef for mad cow disease.

Creekstone wants to conduct the intensified testing so that its meat can be sold to customers in Japan and other foreign countries that have tougher safety laws to protect its consumers from contacting the fatal disease.

Company lawyers argue that the government has no right to stop it from conducting more tests than the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires.

USDA guidelines only call for testing less than 1 percent of the cows slaughtered for human consumption in America for BSE. Read the rest of this entry »