Is the USDA barring private companies from testing cattle for "mad cow" disease in order to protect major beef producers' profits? Not based on the materials presented in a recent legal case, according to Stuart Buck. (LvIP)
Ron Hardin, even basic, theoretical, Econ 101 disagrees with you that "100%" of the costs will be born by consumers, unless there are no substitutes and an inelastic demand.
In summary, we agree with USDA's focus on testing high risk cattle. If there are additional BSE-infected animals in the U.S., the likely high false negative rate for laboratory detection of BSE in normal adults and juveniles (animals that do not yet show signs of disease) would make a focus on these populations inefficient.
The main interpretation challenge for USDA is the extrapolation of test results from the high risk cattle population to normal adult and juvenile cattle. Doing so requires the development of explicit assumptions about how the BSE prevalence rates in these sub-populations are related.