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FDA Statement on Canadian Rule to Control BSE Risks
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware of the release of a final rule by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to extend protections in Canada against the risks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), so-called Mad Cow disease. The rule is an addition to existing Canadian measures to ban risky ingredients in animal feed -- measures that have provided significant safeguards to protect the health of both United States and Canadian cattle fed animal feed from Canada, and thereby have protected consumers of beef in both countries.
The Canadian approach to BSE prevention is similar to FDA's approach, and the public health agencies of both countries have been in close touch as they have developed their respective regulations. Both countries' BSE feed rules are designed to forestall the spread of the disease and its related human form, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, through BSE-infected animal feed. The FDA BSE feed rule, which has been in effect since 1997, has proved its effectiveness as a key component of a tiered firewall against BSE; to date, there have been only three cows found with BSE in the United States, and each of them was either imported, or old enough to have consumed animal feed manufactured before the regulation took effect.
Nevertheless, since the detection of the first BSE-positive cow in the United States, FDA has been actively exploring various ways to further strengthen its existing feed rule which prohibits the use of certain mammalian protein in feed for cattle and other ruminants. Even though the risk of BSE is extremely low, in October 2005, the agency issued a proposed rule that would prohibit the use of certain high risk cattle materials in all animal feed to further reduce an already low probability event. The agency is in the process of analyzing and evaluating the approximately 800 public comments submitted to the FDA about this proposal.
FDA and HHS are committed to continuing to protect animal health and consumers against the spread of BSE through animal feed in the United States . After FDA considers the public comments on the proposal issued in October 2005, the agency and HHS plan to develop and issue a final rule as expeditiously as possible.