ZIFFPAGE TITLEUSDABy Brian P. Watson | Posted 2006-04-06 Email Print
When mad cow disease threatened, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started giving workers tablet PCs to record inspection results, replacing paper and pen.: How Now, Down Cow?">
USDA: How Now, Down Cow?
The branch of the USDA overseeing mad cow testing and tracking sends inspectors to slaughterhouses, rendering facilities and large farms to gather blood and samples from high-risk cattle, particularly "downers," or those that can't stand. The inspector sends samples to one of seven labs and jots down notes on the animal's description and symptoms, as well as why it's been tested and what samples were taken. Aggregating that information has changed since the first positive test for mad cow. Here's how:
*Some inspectors still use pen and paper, but now enter notes into a Java application that routes to the same database as the Mi-Co software