FDA ENHANCES MAD COW FEED
U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week announced proposed changes to its 1997 ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, often described as one of the "firewalls" that protect the U.S. cattle industry against an outbreak of mad cow disease. The changes prohibit brains and spinal cords of cattle 30 months and older, and brains and spinal cords from animals not inspected for human consumption from use in any animal feed, including chicken feed and pet foods. Those and other "specified risk materials" have been banned from cattle feed since 1997; concerns about cross contamination or intentional misuse of animal feeds led to this expansion of that ban. The agency originally proposed a more rigorous rule, but last week said the cost of additional restrictions would have outweighed their reduction of risk. In related news, facing pressure from Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service late last month said it is planning a program to test for BSE in 20,000 cows that appear to be healthy. The USDA has focused testing and screening efforts to date exclusively on visibly sick cattle and cows that are dead on arrival at processing plants.
NEW SEAL REPLACES 'ANIMAL CARE CERTIFIED' LABEL
WASHINGTON -- United Egg Producers last week announced its new animal husbandry certification seal had been approved by federal regulators. The "United Egg Producers Certified" seal will replace UEP's "Animal Care Certified" seal, which many of the group's members have displayed on their cartons since its 2002 introduction. Though approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the seal drew fire from an animal rights group, Compassion Over Killing, which filed petitions with the Federal Trade Commission describing the seal as misleading. The standards for displaying the "Animal Care Certified" emblem were based on conventional animal husbandry guidelines, but COK argued the language implied a significantly different standard, such as free-range. The challenge drew scrutiny from the FTC, leading to the new logo. A tag-line also will appear under the seal, reading "Produced in compliance with United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines." Retailers should start seeing the emblems in early December, and the FTC will require the old seals to be removed from retail packages by March 31, 2006, said UEP spokesman Mitch Head.