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Proposed Feed Regulation Changes Will Strengthen Long-Standing BSE Firewalls, AMI Says

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

“Today, the Food and Drug Administration laid out an important proposal to strengthen our nation’s BSE firewalls. Since BSE was first identified in the United Kingdom, the U.S. has been proactive in responding to BSE developments both outside and inside the U.S. with science-based policies that carefully consider the risks presented and the additional protections that can be achieved for both animal and human health.

FDA is proposing to ban from the feed supply certain higher risk cattle materials. Together, with restrictions already in place that prohibit the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminants, this latest proposal would ensure that the U.S. maintains its position as a low-risk nation for BSE and a leader embracing scientifically sound policy.

For consumers, this should be more good news about beef safety. Under a now-16-month old enhanced cattle surveillance program designed to detect BSE if it exists in the U.S. herd, only one BSE case has been detected. That positive brings to two the total number of U.S. BSE cases in a nation with a 100 million head herd – one of the world’s largest cattle herds.

We are encouraged that FDA, which considered a total ban on specified risk materials in animal feed, has evaluated carefully the science and the risk analyses, which show that such an extreme ban would offer virtually no additional margin of safety. Instead, it would create a huge environmental challenge involving the disposal of 1.4 billion pounds of materials annually.

Given the very low BSE risk that has been empirically demonstrated by the enhanced surveillance and testing program, AMI is confident that banning from feed brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months or older and from animals of any age that do not pass federal inspection is the appropriate, science-based policy for the United States, Canada, Mexico and other low risk countries. The proposed changes will strengthen BSE firewalls -- already among the strongest and longest-standing in the world.

FDA now should work closely with our North American trading partners to encourage implementation of similar regulations, because a uniform set of rules for BSE prevention and trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico will benefit all parties and ultimately, consumers. Harmonized, science-based feed rules are important in ensuring animal health and preventing further disruption of trade between our partners in North America.”

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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