An agency official spoke on Monday of "the conclusion" of the program. Advocates of enhanced testing said the administration's proposed 2007 budget includes funds for only a fraction of the cattle tests that have been performed in recent years.
USDA said on Monday an Alabama beef cow was infected with mad cow disease, the third time the ailment has been found in the United States in the past 27 months.
"It seems to be unwise to say you're going to ratchet it...down right after you've had another positive," said Carol Tucker Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America. "I don't know how you explain either to American consumers or to people in Japan that we want to sell beef to that you're going to stop looking for something because you found it."