Canada is taking steps to tighten feed rules to prevent the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). On Friday the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) proposed amendments prohibit the use of specified risk material (SRM) in animal feeds, including pet food.
SRM are cattle tissues that may contain the agent that causes BSE. The Government of Canada already requires the removal of SRM from the human food supply, which is the most effective measure that can be taken to protect public health from BSE.
Both the United States and Canada prohibited the use of SRMs in ruminant feed in 1997. The United States has not decided to take the feed ban to this extreme measure.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) had the opportunity to review Canada's amendments and supports the review of any measures which could further reduce our risk to BSE based upon sound science. "However, to date, the surveillance programs confirm that the risk of BSE in North America â€“ and in this case, Canada â€“ is extremely low, and that enforcement of existing feed restrictions is adequate to continue eradication of BSE in North America," a statement from the beef group says.
Canada's amendments also prohibit the use of SRM in fertilizers. This provision is intended to prevent the potential accidental or intentional misuse of fertilizers as feed. As well, it addresses the possibility that contaminated grazing pastures could spread BSE, although the current science surrounding the environmental behaviour of the disease is incomplete.
The proposed regulations have been placed in the Canada Gazette Part 1. A 75-day comment period ending February 24, 2005 is being provided to give regulated industries, trading partners and other interested parties the opportunity to review the proposed amendments and provide the CFIA with written comments.