How much would it cost to test every single cow?
The "gold standard" analysis that the USDA has been doing costs about $100 per test, so it's clearly not economically feasible to use it on every cow. Rapid tests, which grind up brain tissue and detect the presence of prions using antibodies -- basically, the tests used in Europe and Japan -- cost less. Consumers Union figures that these tests would add only pennies to the price per pound of beef. A $25 test would increase the price by about three cents per pound.