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    Split Decision Reverses Creekstone's Bid to Voluntarily Test for Mad Cow Disease

    The beef producer said it will evaluate its options after an appeals court reversed an earlier decision that would have paved the way Creekstone to run its own tests for BSE.

    Beef producer Creekstone Farms lost the latest skirmish in its attempt to be free to test each of its 300,000 cattle it slaughters for mad cow disease, when an appeals court panel in Washington ruled 2-1 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture can keep Creekstone and other beef producers from conducting voluntary tests.

    Creekstone Farms, which provides high-quality Black Angus beef to distributors in the United States, Japan, Korea, and Europe, filed a suit in March 2006 that sought permission to test every animal at its plant for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, to assure foreign buyers that its meat was safe to eat.

    The latest ruling from the three-judge panel of the U.S. appeals court reversed a March 2007 decision by the U.S. District Court, which claimed the USDA did not have legal authority to prevent Creekstone Farms from voluntarily testing the cattle it slaughters and processes for BSE.

    The company is "now carefully reviewing the D.C. Circuit's decision and evaluating our options, including asking the [court] to reconsider the appeal en banc," said Dennis Buhlke, c.e.o. of the Arkansas City, Kan.-based Creekstone.

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