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U. S. To Delay Stricter BSE Feed Ban For 60 Days

The Food and Drug Administration will delay for 60 days a stricter rule on livestock feed ingredients aimed at preventing BSE, an agency spokeswoman said March 18.

The rule was scheduled to take effect on April 27. The spokeswoman said the delay would allow “a little more time” for compliance. When the rule was unveiled last April, FDA said it “will further strengthen existing safeguards” against BSE.

Under the revised rule, animal feed cannot contain cattle parts that pose would pose the greatest risk of spreading mad cow disease. They include the brains and spinal cords from cattle that are 30 months or older, brains and spinal cords of cattle of all ages that not inspected for slaughter, and carcasses of cattle infected with BSE disease.

Three cases of the disease have been reported in the United States since December 2003. The most recent case was diagnosed on March 15, 2006.

Since 1997, the United States has barred the use of high-risk cattle parts in feed prepared for ruminant animals, which include cattle.

Scientists say BSE, a fatal brain ailment, is caused by malformed proteins and is spread by consumption of infected meats. It generally is a disease of older cattle. U. S. safeguards include the “feed rule” and a ban on slaughter for food use of “downer” cattle too sick to walk.

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