FDA issues regulation on animal feeds with added safeguards against BSE

New rule prohibits high risk materials in all U.S. animal feed, including pet food

May 8, 2008

FDA issues regulation on animal feeds with added safeguards against BSE


FDA announced a final rule that changes current regulations regarding animal feed. This strengthened rule will further help to protect consumers against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise known as ‘mad cow disease.’

Since 1997 FDA has prohibited the use of mammalian protein (with some exceptions) in ruminant feeds.  The new rule prohibits the use of certain cattle materials in all animal feed, including pet food. The materials that can no longer be used in any animal feed are the tissues that have the highest risk for carrying the agent thought to cause BSE. The high risk materials prohibited in animal feed by the new rule are the brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age and older.  The entire carcass of cattle not inspected and passed for human consumption is also prohibited unless the cattle are less than 30 months of age, or the brains and spinal cords have been removed.

The removal of high-risk materials from all animal feed will protect against inadvertent transmission of the agent thought to cause BSE, which could occur through cross-contamination of ruminant feed, with non-ruminant feed or feed ingredients during manufacture and transport, or through misfeeding of non-ruminant feed to ruminants on the farm.

The rule, which goes into effect in April 2009, finalizes a proposed rule that FDA issued for public comment in October 2005.

Download Rule (PDF).


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