The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stood by its decision to stop a small Kansas meat processor from carrying out independent tests for BSE, or mad cow disease.

Earlier this month the USDA rejected an application by Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to voluntarily test 100% of its beef for processing in order to resume exports to Japan.

Following its decision, the USDA has come under fire from some consumer advocates, lawmakers and several newspaper editorials, but has now said it will not reconsider its decision, reported Reuters.

Ed Loyd, a spokesman for the USDA, said the department is now concentrating on other areas of the issue, such as persuading Japan to resume imports of US beef. The USDA said BSE testing should be for animal health reasons not for marketing purposes.

“We have been very clear on our reasoning for that decision and we have a lot of issues on our plate and have been working on those,” Loyd was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Creekstone, among with many other beef processors, is struggling to survive while some of its normal export markets are closed. Japan was one of several major US beef buyers to ban imports of US beef after the discovery of a case of BSE in Washington state last December.