In January, after the discovery in the U.S. of a cow infected with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “mad cow” disease), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) promised to tighten rules governing what farmers can feed to cows and other ruminant animals. Feeding these natural herbivores ground-up body parts containing infectious prions (the agents associated with BSE) is a key way the brain-wasting disease is spread. Since 1997, FDA has prohibited feeding most mammalian protein to ruminants, but the ban is weakly enforced and riddled with loopholes – allowing things like blood, used poultry litter (which includes spilled feed, feathers and feces), and plate waste (uneaten meat and other scraps from restaurants) to be fed to ruminants.

So it was good news when FDA announced on Jan. 26 that it would no longer allow these risky practices, effective “immediately upon publication” of an interim final rule. Unfortunately, FDA never published this rule. Instead, in July, the agency put forth an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” – a very preliminary stage that may not even result in a rule (click here to read the FDA notice).


To prevent further back-sliding and encourage the agency to make needed reforms NOW, we need a groundswell from the public. Please send your comments to the FDA by Friday, August 13, asking it to: 1. Prohibit the use of blood, poultry litter, plate waste, and ALL other animal products (with the exception of milk) in feed for all farm animals, not just ruminants.2. Prohibit the use of downed animals, animals exhibiting signs of central nervous system disorders, “dead stock” (animals that have died on the farm), and “specified risk materials” (e.g., cow brain and spinal cord tissue) in pet food. The pet food ban is necessary because cats are known to be susceptible to BSE.

All submissions must specify “FDA” and “Docket No. 2004N-0264.” · To submit comments electronically, send an email to [email protected] , with “Docket No. 2004N-0264” in the subject line. Type your comments into the body of the email, as attachments will not be accepted. ·

To submit comments via postal mail, send them to the following address (remember they need by received by August 13, and you need to specify Docket No. 2004N-0264): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305) Food and Drug Administration5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061Rockville, MD 20852


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