Mad cow disease is real, and it's here in America. It's caused by insane feeding practices that allow cattle ranchers to feed their cows chicken litter (yes, chicken dung) and the blood, brains and spinal cord tissue from other cows and dead animals. This is the stuff that goes into the food you're eating, folks (if you eat red meat, that is).
The sane thing would be to ban the use of these feed items for cows. That's what the FDA should have done six months ago. But now, they're delaying it even further: it could take two years to get a decision from the FDA on this. Meanwhile, cattle ranchers keep on feeding their cows practically any form of protein they can get their hands on, regardless of its safety.
In this situation, both the FDA and the USDA are acting out of total disregard for the health and safety of the public. The beef industry loves all the delays, because they've never wanted to be forced to actually follow sane feeding practices in the first place (it would add cost to the beef). They'd rather just keep on feeding their cows anything they can find -- blood, brain matter, spinal cords, chicken dung, you name it -- and pretend mad cow disease doesn't exist.
As a consumer, if you thought the FDA was protecting you, you're sadly mistaken. The agency acts more like a marketing branch for private industry than a government regulator.