USDA this week released its review of the BSE testing program that substantiated what everyone already knew. The extensive testing protocol, which has tested nearly 700,000 head and counting, has proven that the prevalence of the disease is less than one in a million. It also emphasized that the safeguards and firewalls designed to prevent the occurrence of the disease are working.

Statistics indicate the U.S. is likely to find a few more cases (4-7 in total), but there appears to be no scientifically valid reason to continue to maintain the accelerated testing protocol. The question will be how activist groups respond to what will surely be a call to reduce testing levels.

In addition, the Japan Economic Newswire reported Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan's Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, told USDA Secretary Mike Johanns in Geneva on Tuesday that USDA's scaling back of the U.S. BSE surveillance program is never likely to be accepted positively in Japan. -- Troy Marshall