Off the Killing Floor

Dallas-based Supreme Beef wins a major round in its court battle with the USDA

The USDA's appeal must now work its way through the backed-up 5th Circuit at the usual pace, which means the appeal could take up to two years. Beef industry sources are pleased with the judges' ruling. Because the USDA's ability to enforce its new standards is in limbo, the agency is negotiating with other beef producers that have failed to meet the salmonella standard, particularly in the South, instead of shutting them down, says Rosemary Mucklow, executive director of the National Meat Association. The USDA apparently doesn't want to risk another unfavorable ruling in federal court. "The federal bureaucracy is a wonderful thing to behold. If they don't want to push the envelope on this, they will find ways not to do so," Mucklow says.

Spiritas, in a press statement, has repeated an invitation he made to outgoing Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman: "We again request that Secretary Glickman sit down with us and other industry leaders to work cooperatively to revise certain aspects of the flawed Salmonella Performance Standard."

Glickman has yet to respond.

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