Federal authorities are accepting comments on a planned regulation that would prohibit use of some cattle tissues in all animal feeds by late April.
The regulation published by the Food and Drug Administration is intended to reduce the risk of transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy by prohibiting use of brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months and older in all animal feed. The materials are already prohibited from use in feed for ruminants, including cattle, sheep, and goats.
"The added measure of excluding high-risk materials from all animal feeds addresses risks associated with accidental feeding of such material to cattle, which could occur through cross-contamination of ruminant feed with non-ruminant feed or feed ingredients during manufacture and transport or through misfeeding of non-ruminant feed to ruminants on the farm," states a Nov. 25 update from the FDA.
The FDA is accepting comments through Jan. 26. The proposed rule is scheduled take effect April 27.
The regulation would also ban from animal feed the entire carcasses of all BSE test-positive cattle, the entire carcass of any cow 30 months or older that is not inspected and passed for human consumption and from which the brain and spinal cord is not removed, tallow derived from the prohibited materials that contain more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, and mechanically separated beef derived from the prohibited materials, according to information from the FDA.
Consumption of beef infected with BSE is presumed to cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
The FDA also released in late November a report indicating that, of 7,876 firms that handle materials prohibited from use in ruminant feed, none had violations of the Ruminant Feed Ban that warranted regulatory sanctions during their most recent inspections, and 121 required voluntary corrective action. The firms examined by state and federal inspectors include renderers, feed mills, protein blenders, ruminant feeders, on-farm mixers, pet food manufacturers, animal feed salvagers, distributors, retailers, and animal feed transporters.