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10-04-2005, 06:29 PM
U.S. Offers New Animal Feed Rules, but Critics Assail Them
The Food and Drug Administration proposed new rules today to prevent the spread of mad cow disease, but the rules were considerably less strict than those proposed last year but never adopted, and critics promptly denounced them as inadequate.

The F.D.A. proposed banning from animal feed the brains and spinal cords of cows more than 30 months old. It also proposed banning the same parts of any animal not passed by inspectors as suitable for human food, any tallow that contained more than 0.15 percent protein and any meat contained in brain or spinal column that was separated from carcasses by machine.

The new proposal would still allow animals to be fed material that some scientists consider potentially infectious, including the brains and spinal cords of young animals; the eyes, tonsils, intestines and nerves of old animals; chicken food and chicken dung swept up from the floors of poultry farms; scrapings from restaurant plates; and calf milk made from cow blood and fat.

"The F.D.A. and the meat industry is totally committed to continuing the practice of feeding slaughterhouse waste to cows," said John Stauber, the author of Mad Cow, U.S.A., who has repeatedly called for a ban on feeding all animal protein to livestock. Meat processors like Cargill and Tyson Foods, he argued, also own rendering plants, want to keep exporting cheap protein or feeding it to their own animals and have lobbied hard to keep the right to do so.

Michael K. Hansen, an expert on prion diseases at the Consumers Union, called the proposed regulations "completely inadequate," noting that Britain "took many halfway steps in their efforts to eliminate mad cow disease and failed to stop it." Only when it stopped feeding mammals to food animals did they cut the cases down to less than 10 a year, he said.

Hotdog anyone?

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