The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published in the Federal Register a last-minute notice regarding the agency's intent to postpone its April 27 implementation of the final rule that would enhance the U.S. feed ban to better protect against the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. The public has until this Thursday, April 16, to submit comments on whether the enhanced feed ban should be delayed for 60 days.
Canada's enhanced feed ban, implemented in July 2007, now protects Canadian consumers against the spread of BSE from Canadian cattle by closing known transmission routes, including cross-contamination and inadvertent feeding of contaminated cattle parts. R-CALF USA charges FDA now plans to delay providing U.S. consumers with the same level of protection afforded Canadian consumers against these same over thirty months of age Canadian cattle that are now being imported into the United States.
"Like the original Canadian feed ban, the current U.S. feed ban is insufficient to address the heightened BSE risk in Canadian cattle," said R-Calf CEO Bill Bullard. "Either USDA must immediately eliminate the source of this heightened BSE risk by prohibiting the importation of OTM Canadian cattle, or FDA must immediately implement the 2008 BSE final rule to mitigate this heightened risk. There are no responsible alternatives."
According to R-CALF the FDA move is designed to position the U.S. cattle industry between a rock and a hard place. In 2008, nearly 1.6 million Canadian cattle were imported into the United States. A recent USDA risk assessment model predicted the U.S. would import more than 100 BSE-infected cattle from Canada over the next 20 years.