FDA's Proposed Regulations Governing Animal Feed
Gary Weber, Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
July 9, 2004

"Today's publication, jointly by FDA and USDA, of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) provides an opportunity to analyze an array of options suggested to further reduce the risk of spreading BSE in the U.S. cattle herd. All evidence and risk analysis efforts to date indicate the current FDA feed restrictions, if fully enforced, are sufficient to prevent amplification and spread of BSE as well as eradicate the disease if it exists in the U.S.

"The NCBA intends to thoroughly assess the science and risks related to the FDA and USDA announcement and will submit comments regarding these options. This ANPR is the beginning of a process that will result in a proposed rule and an additional round of analysis and comment before a final rule is published.

"It is important to remember, the FDA’s feed rules are designed to protect animal health. Human health is protected by the removal of Specified Risk Material (SRM) as directed by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.  Since public health is protected in this manner, preventing the spread and amplification of BSE is an animal health issue, not a food safety issue. The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis has conducted a comprehensive multi-year assessment of the risk of BSE in the U.S. The analysis concluded that ‘measures taken by the U.S. government and industry make the U.S. robust against the spread of BSE to animals or humans should it be introduced into this country.'

"It also is important to remember the government began 15 years ago building and maintaining effective firewalls to ensure U.S. cattle are protected from BSE. In 1997, the FDA banned feeding cattle the type of animal-derived protein that can spread BSE.  International experts agree that a feed ban breaks the cycle of BSE and assures it will be eliminated. The FDA reports a 99 percent compliance rate for the feed ban." 

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