The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final regulation which bars some cattle materials from all animal feed, including pet food. The new rule is aimed at protecting consumers against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE — also known as Mad Cow Disease).
The new rule is an extension of an earlier FDA feed regulation which prohibited the use of certain mammalian proteins in ruminant feed. The materials now banned from feed are those tissues that have the highest risk of being contaminated with biological particles that could cause Mad Cow Disease.
The high-risk cattle materials targeted by the new rule are the brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age and older. Further, the entire carcass of cattle which have not been inspected and passed for human consumption is also prohibited, unless the cattle are less than 30 months of age, or unless the brains and spinal cords have been removed. The risk of Mad Cow Disease in cattle less than 30 months of age is considered to be exceedingly low.
This latest regulation finalizes a proposed rule that the FDA issued for public comment in October 2005. It becomes effective 12 months from now, in order to allow the livestock, meat, rendering, and feed industries time to adapt their practices to comply with the new regulation.
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