Today's Story Line:

No issue dominates the European media as much as concerns over "mad cow" disease. Yesterday, European officials banned all meat and bone meal as fodder for livestock in 15 countries. Such food safety concerns are fast-forwarding a dinner-table trend away from beef, toward higher quality, "naturally" produced foods (page 1).

- David Clark Scott World editor

SEIZE THE DAY: The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi wasn't exactly dressed for his first meeting with Mexico's new president. But he wasn't going to let appearances stop him from asking Vicente Fox about today's story. Howard was running late and needed to pick up his press credentials for last Friday's inauguration. He dashed into the press center. "There I stood in a Gap sweatshirt and a Yankees cap when who should walk in but Vicente Fox. He shook hands with the handful of journalists standing around, but when he started to walk away I blurted out, " 'Oye [Hey] Vicente!' He turned back, and I asked him about the street kids who'd run up against a brick wall with their bakery project. 'That's the bureaucracy in our country for you!' Mr. Fox responded." Not satisfied, Howard pressed him. "Well can't something be done about that?" Howard asked. "Ahi vamos! We're going to be working on that!" said Fox.

GOT VEGGIE BURGERS?: Food shopping in Paris is always a fairly lengthy business, the Monitor's Peter Ford says. "It is hard to buy a piece of fish, flesh, or fowl without getting into a detailed discussion of the different ways it might be cooked. Comparing the quality, variety, and prices of produce on sale at competing market stands could take a whole morning," says Peter. But lately, things have gotten worse: Each time Peter visits his butcher, he's subjected to a tirade about the media having blown up the "mad cow" scare and put people off their beef. The situation, says Peter, is almost enough to make him a vegetarian. Almost.

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