Here’s the beef

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My sister, Anne, recently made a visit home from Germany, and as soon as she got off the plane my parents asked her if she was hungry and what she wanted to eat. “Red meat,” she replied in desperation and without hesitation.

That kind of statement would cause anyone to pause and fathom the kind of hell Europe is presently enduring.

Europe had already been turned around by the life-threatening mad cow disease when it suddenly discovered it had another problem. That dilemma is foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious virus that is not dangerous to humans, but is to cattle, pigs and sheep—80,000 of which have already been earmarked for slaughter in Britain alone.

The question that seems to be on everyone's mind is, “Can it happen here?” I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, “Yes. Yes it can.” Okay, so I'm not a scientist or a farmer, but I know this much is true; disease is the only thing on earth that lives without prejudice.

So, why wait?

Why wait for the European Union to formally ask the United States for help in establishing its food authority, an agency fashioned after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration? Why wait to implement new food safety measures and technology?

Why wait until some strand of these diseases are fully rooted here before taking action? Why wait until somebody gets sick or dies? Why wait knowing that it might come down to slaughtering 80,000 of our own livestock?

Excuse the expression, but it's time to grab that bull by the horns and take him down, for an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure.

Imagine living in that same fear, saying goodbye to the burgers we savor from favorite fast-food restaurants, and postponing that Memorial Day barbecue, all because meat can't be for dinner.

Mark A. DeSorbo
Associate Editor


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