White House sitting on Mad Cow rule

April 18, 2008

The Bush administration continues to delay a rule that could protect the public from being exposed to mad cow disease. The Food and Drug Administration rule would prohibit farms from using certain animal by-products as feed for cattle. (FDA rules already prohibit some similar kinds of feed. The current FDA proposal would strengthen existing regulations.)

Allowing cattle to feed on the rendered meat, bones, or blood of other cattle raises the risk of mad cow, also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). According to the agency, “FDA believes that the final rule would effectively remove about 90 percent of any remaining BSE infectivity from possible spread through the animal feed system. The U.S. economy may also benefit from increased exports to the extent that the rule persuades foreign governments to import U.S. beef products. While we are unable to quantify these benefits, they are potentially large…”

Even though FDA believes the benefits to be “potentially large,” the White House is likely more concerned about the potential costs to the agriculture industry.  Read rest of story here

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