United States Food and Drug Administration’s Announcement of New Feed Regulations
Terry Stokes, Chief Executive Officer, National Cattlemen's Beef Association
January 26, 2004

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today several new measures designed to further strengthen the animal feed rule and help assure that BSE could not spread in U.S. cattle. These changes add another layer of protection to a system the Harvard University Center for Risk Analysis recognized in 2001 and again in 2003 as being robust against the spread of BSE.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) supports increasing feed and rendering mill inspections because, as cattle producers, we expect full compliance with the feed ban. The FDA feed ban, which began in 1997, has more than 99 percent compliance, one of the highest levels of compliance of all the FDA regulations. NCBA supports the FDA requirement of dedicated lines in feed mills and we have for many years encouraged the feed industry to employ that process to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

While the use of plate waste as a feed ingredient is not a common practice in the beef industry, we support the FDA’s interim rule on this practice. The FDA interim final rule to ban the use of poultry litter as a feed ingredient for ruminant animals is in line with the NCBA’s policy discouraging the use of poultry litter in cattle feed.

While current research has not found presence of the BSE agent in bovine blood, and the World Animal Health Organization does not cite blood products as a risk, NCBA acknowledges the FDA’s action in banning mammalian blood products in ruminant feed is a step to provide additional consumer reassurance that U.S. beef remains the safest in the world. Most important, it cannot be overemphasized that the BSE agent is not found in steaks, roasts and ground beef.

At the beef industry annual convention this week in Phoenix, NCBA has organized BSE issue forums in which all recent actions by USDA and FDA will be discussed with government agency officials. NCBA will fully evaluate these interim final rules and will comment accordingly.

The U.S. beef supply remains the safest in the world. In fact, U.S. risk mitigation efforts exceed guidelines set by the World Animal Health Organization for countries that have not had an indigenous case of BSE. For that reason, we continue to urge our trading partners to resume trade for U.S. beef exports.

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