What to do with all these cattle parts? FDA delays mad cow reduction plan

April 14, 2009

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration announced a proposed delay in the implementation of the final rule entitled, “Substances Prohibited from Use in Animal Food or Feed” or more commonly referred to as the 2008  BSE final rule. BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), otherwise known as mad cow disease, is a fatal disease that causes progressive neurological degeneration in cattle. Similar to BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease, transmitted to human beings who eat the brain or spinal cord of infected carcassesis.

The final rule, which would have gone into effect on April 27, 2009, is proposed to be delayed 60 days to June 26, 2009. A group of meat packers and others involved in the slaughter of cattle have asked for the delay with some help from the U.S. Congress. 

The use of cattle parts in cattle feed has not been allowed since 1997 in the United States and the enhanced FDA rule would prohibit using cattle parts in all animal feed.

“This is because in Canada and Europe, and elsewhere, they found there would be cross contamination in feed for poultry…that found its way into cattle feed, and as a result BSE was able to amplify “explained R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

He added that an enhanced feed ban will reduce the risk of BSE in imported cattle from Canada, “We know we are exposing ourselves to increased risk of BSE, and yet we haven’t adopted the science based feed ban necessary to guard against that elevated risk”.

Bullard said that the FDA rule comes from a World Health Organization recommendation to keep cattle parts out of all animal feed. Since the new ruling, meat packers are finding it difficult to identify appropriate alternate ways of disposing of material that may no longer be rendered for animal feed use once the rule takes effect.

The FDA is also providing 7 days for public comment solely on the question of whether to delay the effective date. Comments must be submitted within 7 days of publication in the Federal Register of the notice of proposed delay of effective date.

Interested persons may submit written comments on or before April 16, 2009 to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Electronic comments may be submitted to http://www.regulations.gov. Identify all submissions to the docket with the following docket number: FDA–2002–N–0031 (formerly Docket No. 2002N–0273).



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