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US may ban animal protein in cattle feed to safeguard against mad cow

Revision to livestock feed rule; animal protein to be banned to protect against mad cow disease in US.


20 September,2005: The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration is close to ban animal protein from cattle feed government will as a measure of expanding existing safeguard against deadly mad cow disease.

During remarks to a consumer group meeting on food safety, FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford said the FDA would issue its long-expected revisions to the so-called livestock feed rule "very quickly."

The ban could include all animal protein from cattle feed, Crawford said. The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine is in the final stages of preparing the new rule, which will supersede what was proposed by the agency more than a year ago.

The FDA, which oversees animal feed, said last month it was considering a broader ban on use of poultry litter, table scraps and cattle blood in feed, as well as more restrictions on use of items thought to carry the highest risk of spreading Mad Cow disease.

Always fatal, bovine spongiform encephalopathy is believed to be spread among cattle through consumption of feed that contains material from infected cattle. People can contract a human version of the Mad Cow disease by eating contaminated meat.

The major U.S. safeguard against mad cow disease is a 1997 ban on using the remains of cattle as a protein supplement in cattle feed.

Other Mad Cow disease safeguards include a prohibition against slaughtering "downer" cattle -- animals too sick to walk on their own – for human food, and a requirement for meatpackers to remove from carcasses the brains, spinal cords, nervous tissue and other parts most likely to contain the malformed proteins blamed for the disease.

Last month, the U.S. government wrapped up its investigation into the first domestic U.S. case of mad cow disease, diagnosed in a Texas animal in June. It concluded that the animal was infected before the 1997 livestock feed ban was adopted.

It was the first U.S.-born cow found with BSE and the second U.S. case overall. The earlier Mad Cow disease case was found in December 2003 in a dairy cow imported from Canada to Washington state, according to reports.



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