(NaturalNews) Effective April 23, 2009, the FDA has banned a series of cattle products from all animal feed and pet food in attempt to prevent the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.
BSE is a fatal, degenerative disease of the brain cause by defective proteins known as prions. These prions can be acquired by consuming the flesh of infected animals and lead to a similarly fatal human version of the disease, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
Federal regulations already prohibit using ruminant protein as part of the feed given to other ruminants. These measures were instituted in the United States and Canada in 1997, after a mad cow outbreak in the United Kingdom.
Ruminants are animals that chew their cud, such as cows, sheep and goats.
Other U.S. protections against mad cow disease include a partial ban on slaughtering cattle that cannot stand, which are more likely to be infected with BSE, and a requirement that meatpackers remove the spine and brain from all slaughtered animals. These are the body parts most likely to carry mad-cow-causing prions.
The new regulations expand these rules in an attempt to keep BSE prions out of any animal feed, out of awareness that ruminant and non-ruminant feed might contaminate each other during the manufacturing or transport processes, or that ruminants might accidentally be given the wrong kind of feed.
Any animal feed will now be prohibited from containing any materials from a BSE-infected animal; the brain or spinal cord of any cattle aged 30 months or older; materials from any cattle that are aged 30 months or older, have not had their spinal cords removed and have not been inspected and approved for human consumption; tallow containing more than 0.15 percent insoluble purities, or that has been derived from any other prohibited materials; and mechanically separated beef derived from any other prohibited materials.