Supermarket shoppers can buy grass-fed beef, organic beef, Black Angus and so on — but if a bill sponsored by a local lawmaker passes, consumers will also get to look for the “no mad cow” label.
Introduced by state Sen. Michael Machado, a Linden Democrat, the bill would allow beef producers to test their own animals for bovine spongiform encephalopathy — better known as mad cow disease — and then market the meat as having been tested for BSE, a nervous system disease in cattle that is fatal if passed on to humans.
Some industry officials say American carnivores already have confidence that domestic beef is safe and don’t need any extra assurance to keep buying it.
Others, mostly small-scale meat packers, say it’s their right to test their own cattle and say it would give consumers more options at the market.
Machado said he also believes the food supply is safe, but said suppliers and consumers willing to pay more for the extra testing shouldn’t be prevented from doing so.
He introduced his bill after an animal in an American herd tested positive for BSE in June.