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Press Release of Senator Cantwell
Cantwell Welcomes Long Overdue Measures to Prevent Mad Cow Disease
FDA Proposes Rules Called for in Cantwell Legislation to Close Feed Ban Loopholes
Wednesday, October 05,2005
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed additional measures to strengthen feed regulations that would help prevent the spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – commonly referred to as Mad Cow disease. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) commended the proposal, but emphasized the need for quick action.
“This Administration has pledged before to take more steps toward preventing mad cow disease, but they didn’t follow up with action. I’m hopeful that we will see more than lip service this time and there will be a real effort to protect the beef industry from mad cow disease,” said Cantwell. “We need new rules now so consumers and foreign markets know our food supply is safe.”
Under the proposed rule, cattle materials that pose the highest risk of spreading Mad Cow disease would be banned from all animal feed. These high risk materials include cattle products that might contain the brains and spinal cords of cattle 30 months of age or older or of cattle under 30 months that have not been inspected and approved for human consumption. According to FDA, the removal of high-risk materials from all animal feed, including pet food, will protect against the transmission of Mad Cow through animal feed, or to feed ingredients during the manufacturing process. It will also prevent Mad Cow from spreading when cattle receive food not intended for them. The proposed rule will be open for public comment before FDA issues rules in final form.
In January 2004, the administration committed to issuing new regulations to close existing loopholes in the ruminant feed ban. However, over a year and a half later, concrete action has still not been taken. Prohibiting the use of high risk cattle materials in all animal feed is a policy Cantwell has advocated is several letters to FDA, and in the Animal Feed Protection Act of 2005, which she introduced early last year.