CHICAGO, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- FACT applauds the FDA for steps announced today to control the spread of Mad Cow in animal feed, including its decision to ban cow blood, poultry litter and plate waste from cattle feed, and to require feed mills and rendering plants to have dedicated facilities for processing feed containing cattle protein. FACT also supports the FDA decision to step up its inspections of feed mills and rendering plants, but questions the agency's performance regarding enforcement of the current feed ban, where violators often receive only warning letters. "The proposed steps to further protect human and animal health are important, but increased inspections mean little if full enforcement with stringent penalties do not follow," stated Richard Wood, FACT's Executive Director. Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is the Chicago based consumer group that has consistently called for reforms in the FDA ruminant feed ban, and that helped develop federal responses to Mad Cow when the disease was determined to be a threat to human health in the mid-1990's. The new steps proposed by FDA address a loophole in the current rule that may allow ruminant protein to be fed back to cattle, although indirectly. Ruminant protein is allowed to be used in poultry and pig feed, as they are not believed to be susceptible to Mad Cow. And yet, chicken manure is fed to cattle in some regions where both the poultry and cattle industries are strong. In the state of California alone, up to 80,000 tons of poultry manure is fed to cattle each year. Cattle could be infected by poultry manure either through feed that is spilled into the litter or through infected proteins that pass through the chicken's digestive tract. In addition, the FDA has allowed feeding cattle blood to other cattle as a protein source. Blood has been shown experimentally to carry and to cause Mad Cow infection. The new FDA rule would eliminate chicken manure, cattle blood and plate waste from cattle feed. The new FDA rule will also require separate facilities for processing feed for non-ruminant animals if the feed contains ruminant protein. FACT has long advocated for dedicated facilities for preparing feed. Without this requirement, plants could prepare feed for cattle, pigs and chickens in the same bin. If there is some corner cutting on clean-out, cattle could end up being infected. FACT supports this new requirement. FACT is a not-for-profit that advocates for farming practices that improve the safety of meat, milk and eggs.
SOURCE Food Animal Concerns Trust