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Possible Changes to Animal Feed Restrictions Will Not Reduce BSE Risk, AMI Tells FDA

Tuesday, January 14, 2003
 

Washington, DC—Changes to current animal feed restrictions proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not reduce the already low risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in U.S. cattle any further, according to AMI and 14 other agriculture groups. Agency resources could be better spent bringing the current high compliance rate to 100 percent, the groups said in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) published by FDA Nov. 6, 2002.

“Neither the current science nor the excellent compliance rate supports an expansion of the rule at this time,” the letter said. “Not only would the proposed changes have no appreciable effect on the risk of BSE occurring or proliferating in the U.S., the proposed changes would likely take away valuable resources that are needed to ensure full compliance with the current rules in place.”

In addition, the groups said they are unaware of any other FDA rule or program even approaching a near 100 percent compliance rate. Less than one percent of all facilities handling materials prohibited in ruminant feed have had violations significant enough to warrant FDA enforcement actions, according to data presented by Dr. Steve Sundlof, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, at a BSE Roundtable hosted by AMI in December.

AMI and other groups stressed in their comments that the existing FDA animal feed regulations are appropriate given the low level of risk that BSE would occur in the U.S. In fact, as the Harvard BSE Risk Assessment indicated, if BSE were to occur in the United States, the disease would not be able to sustain itself because of the current measures in place. The current compliance rate, when evaluated by the BSE Risk Assessment Model developed by Harvard University, showed the disease would die out rapidly should it occur in the U.S.

In its ANPR, FDA asked for comments on the following five aspects of the feed regulation: excluding brain and spinal cord from rendered animal products; using poultry litter in cattle feed; using pet food in ruminant feed; preventing cross-contamination at feed mills; and eliminating the plate waste exemption.

AMI joined the following trade groups in commenting on the ANPR: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Sheep Industry Association, Fats and Proteins Research Foundation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Grain and Feed Association, National Institute for Animal Agriculture, National Milk Producers Federation, National Meat Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Renderers Association, National Turkey Federation and Pet Food Institute.

To read the coalition letter, visit: http://www.meatinstitute.org/Template.cfm?Section=BSE&NavMenuID=188&template=TaggedContentFile.cfm&NewsID=625.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the industry. Its affiliate, the AMI Foundation, is a separate 501(c)3 organization that conducts research, education and information projects for the industry.


For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
703-841-3635
jriley@meatinstitute.org
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs
703-841-3641
jdaoust@meatinstitute.org

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