The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to amend the agency's regulations to strengthen safeguards against the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The new rule would prohibit the use of certain cattle-origin material in the feed of all animals—not just in the feed of ruminants.
The prohibited materials would 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 these materials and contains more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, and mechanically separated beef that is derived from these materials.
A 1997 rule prohibits the use of mammalian proteins in ruminant feed, with the exception of certain proteins believed at that time not to pose a risk of BSE transmission. The exceptions include blood and blood products, gelatin, inspected meat products that have been cooked and offered for human food and further heat-processed for feed, milk products, and any product in which the only mammalian protein consists entirely of porcine or equine protein. The ruminant feed rule does not prohibit ruminant animals from being fed processed animal proteins from nonmammalian species, such as avian or aquatic animals.
The FDA will accept written and electronic comments until Dec. 20 on the proposed rule to prohibit certain cattle-origin material in the feed of all animals. The full text of the FDA docket appeared Oct. 6 in the Federal Register, which is on the Web at www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/.