How Now, Mad Cow?

Big Beef was doing fine until disease felled a heifer. Will consumer anxiety cripple the industry?

When Fiona Sigalla crossed back into the U.S. from Canada a few days after Christmas, she expected the usual questions about firearms--routine in these times of terrorist threats. But the border cop in his bulletproof SWAT uniform took one look inside her car and immediately seized the contraband held by Sigalla's 8-year-old daughter: her lunch leftovers. "He looked slightly embarrassed, but he confiscated my McDonald's trash," Sigalla says with a chuckle. "Of course, you notice that I wasn't afraid to purchase a McDonald's hamburger, even in Canada."

For the U.S., could this be the year of mad cow? The U.S. Department...

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