Additional Mad Cow Safeguards Proposed by the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new measures to further protect consumers against the agent thought to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, also known as “mad cow disease”).

The agency is proposing to amend its animal feed regulations to prohibit certain high-risk cattle materials from use in the food and feed of all animals.  These high-risk materials could potentially carry the BSE-infectious agent.  All of the proposed prohibitions, except for those related to tallow, have already applied to cattle feed since 1997.

The materials prohibited in the new proposed rule include:

·    the brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age and older
·    the brains and spinal cords from cattle of any age not inspected and passed for human consumption
·    the entire carcass of cattle not inspected and passed for human consumption if the brains and spinal cords have not been removed
·    tallow that is derived from the materials prohibited by this proposed rule if the tallow contains more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities
·    mechanically separated beef that is derived from the materials prohibited by this proposed rule

The removal of high-risk materials from all animal feed – including pet food – will protect against the transmission of the BSE agent.  These transmissions could occur either through cross-contamination of ruminant feed with non-ruminant feed, or intentional or unintentional misfeeding of non-ruminant feed to ruminants on the farm.

“These additional measures…will make an already small risk even smaller by further strengthening the effective measures already in place to protect American consumers from BSE,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.

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