Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration proposed new measures to tighten bovine spongiform encephalopathy firewalls. The Agency is proposing to amend its animal feed regulations to prohibit high risk cattle materials that can potentially carry the BSE-infectious agent from use in all animal feed, including pet food.
"These additional measures that we proposed today will make an already small risk even smaller by further strengthening the effective measures already in place to protect American consumers from BSE," says Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.
These high risk cattle 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.
All of the proposed prohibitions, except for those related to tallow, have already applied to cattle feed since 1997. The regulations build on a series of firewalls that include FDA's 1997 feed regulation which prohibits the use of certain mammalian-origin proteins in ruminant feed (e.g. for cattle and sheep), but allows these materials to be used in feed for non-ruminant species. The removal of high-risk materials from all animal feed -- including pet food -- will protect against the transmission of the agent of BSE that could occur either through cross-contamination of ruminant feed with non-ruminant feed or feed ingredients during feed manufacture and transport, or intentional or unintentional misfeeding of non-ruminant feed to ruminants on the farm.
Jim McAdams, National Cattlemen's Beef Association president, says NCBA will evaluate the proposed rule. "As we begin to analyze FDA's proposed revisions, we must be sure they reflect what is needed to best protect the U.S. cattle herd. Anything other than a science-based approach will be harmful to cattle producers and offer no real benefit to consumers or our industry.