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From: TSS (
Subject: SRM ban may hit locally $$$
Date: August 17, 2004 at 7:42 am PST

SRM ban may hit locally

by Troy Krause / Staff Writer

On Dec. 23, 2003, USDA announced BSE had been discovered in a dairy cow
in Washington.

Since that time, a number of additional measures have been implemented
by USDA in conjunction with other government agencies, such as FDA.

Soon after the announcement, FDA began researching the rendering
industry. It took six months for them to come out with a draft document
that could possibly ban the use of feed that contains specific risk
materials from cattle. A comment period was allowed for those in the
rendering industry, including those at the Farmers Union Marketing and
Processing Association, to respond to a serious of 36 questions on the
impact that might have on the industry and the economy.

"It took them six months, but they only gave us 30 days," said Don
Davis, President and CEO of FUMPA, adding that its comments had to be in
by this past Friday.

What that ban could mean is that businesses, such as Central
Bi-Products, would have to stop using SRMs in their feed.

That could mean the 115-million pounds of dead farm cattle, and cow
slaughter from packers and lockers would need an alternative source of

Whether that would mean burial or composting has not been discussed at
great length.

Davis did say there are other possibilities that it could do to its
current facility, such as removing the fats to be used in its biodiesel

What is of greater concern, said Davis, is the public health concerns
that may arise if farmers were not able to send their cattle to the
rendering plant.

That could mean illegal dumping that might get into the groundwater and
create public health issues that far exceed any threat from BSE.

Since BSE was first discovered the number of cases of Creutzfeldt
Jakob's Disease, the human equivalent to Mad Cow, has been minimal, even
in places such as Europe where much more of a beef animal is used than
in the U.S. In fact, it is safe to say more people die from choking on a
piece of t-bone than die from BSE.

Davis surmised that politics are at work in this issue, as the need to
reopen markets for beef overseas are important to the industry.

Yet, in all of the testing that has been done in the U.S. only one case
of BSE has ever been discovered.

A new testing procedure, of which FUMPA is a participant, uses farm dead
animals in the checking of beef animals for BSE. Should the FDA approve
its feed ban rule that testing program may not be able to continue.

For Central-Bi, this is a wait and see kind of thing.

No, it won't mean shutting down the plant if the cattle are banned, as
it has other products it can use; but, it would, at least in the short
run, impact the company's profitability.

"We are not concerned at the present time," said Davis. "It would not
mean layoffs. We are fortunate that our volume is such a small portion
of the total volume of what we do at Central Bi-Products."

There is no need for farmers to fear what they are going to do with
their animals, as alternatives do exist, although those alternatives
could mean added expense.

Davis said the FDA is looking at this as a food safety issue.

It is an issue that will continue to be discussed, and people like Davis
are certainly keeping their eyes open to how it is resolved.

Davis also said that the company is nearly finished with the
construction of its biodiesel plant. Production, he added, could start
as early as November. A fully operational biodiesel plant that uses
animal fats as its source will help to meet the state's biodiesel mandate.


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