FDA Expands Mad Cow Disease Safeguards
Tighter Rules on Cattle Feed, Slaughtering, Processing
Feb. 12, 2004 -- An FDA advisory panel is discussing new safeguards to further prevent risk of mad cow disease, specifically in medical products.
According to FDAAdvisoryCommittee.com, the FDA is proposing the use of certified cattle herds for material used in medical products.
The measure is intended to reduce the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE, also known as mad cow disease, from being transmitted to drugs, devices, vaccines, blood products, and human and tissue-based products.
The committee will also get an update on the discovery last December of BSE in a dairy cow in Washington State.
Over the last 15 years, the FDA has gradually implemented safety measures to protect Americans from the BSE agent thought to cause mad cow disease. The measures currently in place:
Ban the importing of BSE-exposed cattle
Provide surveillance of cattle for BSE (which led to identification of the BSE cow in December)
Prohibit feeding bovine-derived meat to cattle
Ensure that no meat from high-risk cattle enter the human food supply
In the wake of the first reported case of mad cow disease in the U.S. last December, new measures were put in place to further protect human food, dietary supplements, medical products, and cosmetics that contain bovine material.
The FDA bans include:
Any material from "downer" cattle that cannot walk
Any material from cattle that die on the farm before reaching the slaughter plant
Specific cattle material known to harbor the highest concentrations of the BSE agent, such as the brain, skull, eyes, and spinal cord of cattle 30 months or older, and a portion of the small intestines and tonsils from all cattle regardless of the animal's age or health
Meat that has been mechanically scraped from bones, which could contain high-risk material
Also, the FDA banned the use of:
Cattle feed producers will be required to dedicate specific equipment, facilities, or production lines to handle only cattle feed, to prevent contamination from other types of animal feed. Inspections of feed mills and renderers will also be stepped up, says the FDA.