From: TSS ()
Subject: Re: USDA VS CREEKSTONE BSE/BASE/TSE TESTING Civil Action No. 06-0544
Date: September 6, 2007 at 8:01 am PST
In Reply to: USDA VS CREEKSTONE BSE/BASE/TSE TESTING Civil Action No. 06-0544 posted by TSS on September 4, 2007 at 9:47 am:
Jere L. Dick Associate Deputy Administrator National Animal Health Policy and Programs Veterinary Services WROTE ;
> Protection of public health from BSE is achieved by the removal from the human food supply of the animal
> tissues-often referred to as specified risk
> Mr. Terry S. Singeltary, Sr. Page 2
> materials-in which the BSE infective agent would be found if present, and by
> other controls imposed at the slaughter level.
FDA Still Considering Feed Ban - 9/5/2007
OMAHA (DTN) -- Two years after it was proposed, a federal rule that would tighten the livestock feed ban is still moving "expeditiously" upstream in the regulatory bureaucracy and could still see the light of day.
The issue has come up in negotiations with Japan about raising the age limit on beef processed for Japan. U.S. negotiators continue demanding that Japan and other trading partners accept the approved "negligible risk" designation that the U.S. received on its controls of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, from the World Organization for Animal Health.
Accepting that status would require Japan to get rid of its requirement that all U.S. beef shipped to the country come from cattle aged 21 months or younger. Still, Japanese officials want to know why the U.S. hasn't implemented the FDA plan to tighten the ruminant feed ban.
FDA officials proposed new measures in October 2005 to tighten its controls on the 1997 ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban by removing "high-risk cattle materials" from all animal feed. The proposal largely focuses on eliminating brains and spinal cords in animal feed under certain circumstances.
The rule is meant to reduce the threat that BSE, or mad-cow disease, might infect U.S. cattle. The country has faced three cases of BSE, which has wrecked U.S. exports of beef since 2003.
In 2005, the FDA received 780 public comments on the proposed rule. A spokesman at the time said the complexity of the comments could cause the agency to take "a few months" to digest the information. Officials then had the option of choosing to implement the proposed rule as written, modify it or withdraw the rule completely based on comments received.
It's now been 23 months since FDA announced the proposed tighter feed ban, but a spokeswoman for FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine said the agency continues work on the regulation.
"I can tell you the agency is working to develop and issue a final rule as expeditiously as possible and that we have no estimated timeframe on when a final rule will be published," Alvey said. "That's basically all I can tell you."
The rule has not made it to the White House Office of Management and Budget, which reviews all regulatory rules before they are allowed to be implemented.
Renderers and feed-industry officials have kept close tabs on the FDA proposal. Randy Gordon, vice president of the National Grain and Feed Association, said the last he understood was that the feed rule had "cleared the agency" and was now under consideration at the full Health and Human Services staff level.
"My understanding is there are conversations occurring across agency and with USDA and OMB right now," Gordon said. "Those kind of inter-agency discussions, as we understand it, are in fact occurring."
Some have suggested the FDA would likely not move ahead without another case of BSE to prod the process along, but Gordon said it appears FDA still considers it a priority to implement a tighter feed ban.
Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association, said he and his staff have learned the proposed rules are floating somewhere between the FDA and the secretary of Health and Human Services.
"How fast it is moving and how much attention it is getting, we don't know," Cook said.
Members of the rendering industry were vocal critics of the proposal last year because of the overall repercussions on feed, rendering and overall deadstock, given that the U.S. has found only three cases of BSE, one of which was not even a domestic animal.
"As far as we are concerned it could be another 10 years before they come out with it because we think it's not necessary," Cook said. "We think we have made our case pretty strongly."
A study by the National Renderers Association in 2006 projected at least a $150 million impact to the livestock and rendering industry under tighter restrictions for handling deadstock. The industry analysis has been cited as one reason the FDA has taken longer to re-evaluate the proposed rule.
Under the FDA proposal, brains and spinal cords from cattle over 30 months of age would be prohibited from animal feed. The same materials would be banned if they came from younger cattle that were not approved for human consumption.
Given that downers are now permanently banned from all human consumption, brain and spinal-cord materials would have be removed from all on-farm deadstock. Entire carcasses would be banned from animal feed if the animal was not approved for human consumption and the brains and spinal cords were not removed.
"The costs of complying with this proposed rule is going to cause other problems the industry isn't going to be happy with, as far as disposal issues and handling of animals that die on the farm," Cook said. "If the rule is finalized, there are a lot of renderers out there who pick up animals that die on the farm that will discontinue that service."In July, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency enhanced its feed ban by implementing a new rule banning all specified risk materials from any livestock, pet food or fertilizer in the country.
Chris Clayton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Terry S. Singeltary Sr.
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