The U.S. Agriculture Department's Inspector General warns beef inspectors aren't strictly following cattle screening rules, increasing the risk of mad cow disease in the nation's meat supply.
The report said it found cases where rules covering the slaughter of cattle were being ignored.
For example, 29 suspect cows were slaughtered at two of a dozen meatpacking plants reviewed in an audit. The report says the animals were incapable of walking, and at least 20 of them fell into the category of "downer" cows, animals whose condition can't be explained by injury. It is these "downer" cows that are considered to be the highest risk for mad cow disease.