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U.S. proposes ban on dangerous cow parts use in all animal feed.

WASHINGTON, July 9 Kyodo

The United States proposed Friday banning the use of brains, spinal cords and other dangerous cattle parts that could carry mad cow disease, in all animal feed and pet food.

In a related development, the Canadian government announced Friday a range of strengthened safeguard measures against the disease, also called bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, banning the use of brains, spinal cords and other specified risk cattle parts in animal feeds for pigs and poultry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a news release it will strengthen safeguards to protect consumers against the agent that causes BSE ''to control the risks of cross contamination throughout feed manufacture and distribution and on the farm due to misfeeding.''

But the proposed measures stopped short of prohibiting farmers from feeding pigs and poultry with the types of cattle-derived meat-and-bone meal produced using other cattle parts Washington believes would not carry BSE.

Analysts and consumer groups immediately warned about the remaining risk of cross contamination, saying that this type of animal feed for pigs and poultry may be used accidentally or carelessly for cattle, making it impossible to keep consumers from eating beef from the butchered cattle fed with such feed.

The Agriculture Department requested public comments on these regulatory proposals. It will likely take until next year to implement these measures.

The department, meanwhile, has decided to ban the use of cattle-derived materials that could carry the BSE-infectious agent in human foods, including dietary supplements, and in cosmetics, it said.

These prohibited high-risk materials include dangerous parts taken from cattle 30 months of age or older, and a portion of the small intestine and tonsils from all cattle, regardless of their age.

Some scientists have warned that cattle 30 months of age or older pose a greater possibility of developing BSE symptoms than younger cattle. Others cautioned that high-risk materials taken from younger cattle should also be regulated.

The Agriculture Department said it is also considering barring farmers from using MBM made from cattle that displayed difficulty walking, a typical BSE symptom, as animal feed, as well as from feeding cattle, sheep and other ruminants with animal feed made from proteins taken from mammals and poultry.

The department urged the manufacturers of cattle-derived food and cosmetics to preserve relevant records and submit them to the Food and Drug Administration for checks when needed.

In January, the FDA unveiled a range of safeguards measures designed to ensure the safety of animal feeds in the aftermath of the outbreak of a first BSE case in the United States in December last year.

Meanwhile the Canadian government said it is also considering banning farmers from feeding cows with MBM made from cattle that experienced difficulty walking.

Earlier in 1997, Canada prohibited farmers from feeding cattle with cattle-derived feed made from high-risk parts such as brains and spinal cords.

A single case of a cow infected with BSE was discovered in Canada in May last year.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jul 12, 2004
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