FDA Rule on Animal Byproducts in Feeds

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The following is based on an article in the 1/11/01 issue of The New York Times, "Many Makers of Feed Fail to Heed Rules on Mad Cow Disease."

In August 1997 the FDA issue a rule which banned the use of ruminant animal byproducts in some feeds. Basically byproducts from a ruminant cannot be in feed specifically intended for other ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats). Any feeds containing animal byproducts from a ruminant must have a label which say, "Do not feed to ruminants'.

Basically this means any feeds produced specifically for non-ruminants (horses, pigs, rabbits, deer, poultry, dogs, cats, etc.) can still contain animal byproducts from ruminants.

(However, there is no law I know of which says animal producers or feedlots are prohibited from using whatever feed they want.)

After three years it was found sixteen percent of the largest companies which render cattle and sheep were not properly labeling their products and did not have a system to prevent commingling with byproducts like those from chicken, fish or pigs. Among 347 FDA-licensed feed mills which handle ruminant materials, which tend to be large operators which mix drugs into their products, 20 percent were not using labels with the required caution statement and nine percent did not have a system to prevent commingling.

Among the 6,000 to 8,000 feed mills so small they don't require FDA licenses and 1,593 small feed producers which handle ruminant material, 40 percent were not using approved labels and 25 percent had no system in place to prevent commingling.

If you are purchasing feed for a ruminant, it still looks like you're rolling the dice.

(And, by the way, some pet foods say they contain 'lamb'. I guess mutton was lamb at one time.)

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), January 25, 2001


Howdy Ken, My husband has worked in or for a feed mill for years! He has got to see this! He is the one that does the feed formulations for the mill and he only uses plant materials that I know of. I have seen his formulas and they contain other means of protein. I will definitely let him read this one. Just cause the Big companies use weird additives and ingredients, don't mean the little guys do too. Oh, I would be worried about the corn that some people put in the feed more than I would be the other. Very few people test for aflotoxin(sp?). He does, it is a little more expensive to test for but he doesn't want to have to buy back feed either! Boy oh boy is he going to love this thread. Some of those big companies least cost everything too and that is a big problem for the tags. The ag inspec. was there the other day when I stopped by and he said that the labeling was changing too. We'll add more to this after he gets home........

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 25, 2001.

So if the sheep offal (which is dead ground up sheep) are then fed to the hens, which when die are ground for feather meal, which is then used for protein in ruminent feed, is that not the same chain? Also look at all the goat folks using horse feeds! Most folks guards went down when the USA banned the use of blood and bone meal, we now know that mad cow disease is also found, and from the program I saw on PBS mostly found in the brain and spinal cord, which of course is animal by products, that isn't banned. Simply refuse to purchase any animal by products, whether it is in the form of animal fat or animal protein, to any of your livestock, which also means keeping your livestock dogs feed away from your stock. Soon your feed stores and mills like mine will get the message. Look at Purina, with the pressure from goat folks, they now have a line of grain that contains no animal products what so ever! After years of fighting with them and all the nonsense about by pass protein and the feeding or urea, we now know they were just trying to make a quick BUCK :) Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), January 25, 2001.

Ken, you mentioned deer in your list of nonruminants. They are ruminants and sadly, they are becoming infected both in the wild and on game farms, according to an article in the Feb. 2001 Field and Stream, pages 42-45. First cases of deer with a version of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) called Chronic Wasting Disease appeared at a research facility in Fort Collins CO in 1967 and the cause was determined to be CWD in 1980. This is a similar disease to Mad Cow Syndrome and to the human form Creutzfeldt-Jakob and is "untreatable, incurable and always fatal" according to the article which I have open before me as I write.

The article points out that no one is sure how it spreads: possibly blood transmission from doe to fawn but there is evidence that simple contact can pass it. This would include touching noses, sharing saliva at a feed trough or brushing against waste from an infected animal. CWD has also been seen in wild elk and mule deer in Colorado and in Wyoming. It has been "documented at deer and elk farms in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Alberta and Saskatchewan." The most infective parts of the animal are the brain and spinal cord. Consequently hunters are recommended to handle these parts and the lymph glands as little as possible and while wearing latex gloves. We use veterinary style obstetrical gloves that reach to the shoulder, turn them inside out as we remove them and then burn them. Even this method of disposal may be inadequate as I have read in other sources that the causative protein called a prion survives autoclaving and bleaching with chlorine which will kill the AIDS virus.

The thing that caught my attention was that the article opened with a description of the illness and subsequent death of a 30-year-old deer hunter from Oklahoma and the listing of two other deer hunters, one also 30 from Utah and a 39-year-old from Nevada both having died of CJD.

We have a nice but very eccentric neighbor who won't let a public water line cross his property because "aliens will poison it" and who sees a conspiracy around every corner. When I first met him, he told me that there was a mad cow like disease in deer and elk out west because cattle were being fed rations containing sheep offal and these animals were slipping in to eat at the feed bunks. Considering his other stories and his reputation in the neighborhood, I just wrote it off but obviously, on this matter at least, he knew where of he spoke. My question to my husband and myself is do we continue to eat venison.

Kinda scary, huh?

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), January 25, 2001.

Didn't realize deer were ruminants.

From a 1/19/01 The New York Times article, "FDA Panel Says Diseased Deer or Elk No Risk to Humans."

Basically the deer/elk equivalent of BSE is called 'chronic wasting disease.' It has been found in wild animals in small areas of CO, WY and NE and on some commercial farms.

"Suspecting a link, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) since 1997 has investigated three unusual cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), an illness similar to mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease. The two men and one woman were all young -- under 30 -- which is usuaual for CJD. All died shortly after diagnosis."

"Ermais Belay, a CDC edipemiologist, said all three had eaten deer and elk, but that the meat did not come from wasting disease endemic areas. After brain tissue sampling and genetic and diagnoostic testing of the CJD strains, the CDC concluded that 'there was no strong evidence for a causal link between chronic wasting disease and CJD in these patients,' said Belay."

There seems to be strong evidence BSE (mad cow disease) is predominatly contained in the brain and spinal cord. Apparently a good course of action is to not deal with the head at all (even as a taxidermist) and when processing the carcass, avoid any cutting into the spinal cord.

Hey, be careful out there.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), January 25, 2001.

P.S. Upon the first confirmed case of mad cow disease or the human derivitive CJD attributed to MCD from within the U.S., I plan on selling every head of cattle I have ASAP. The MCD scare in Europe is very intense and widespread.

-- Ken S.in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), January 25, 2001.

Ken, start selling. I just heard on the evening news that officials have confiscated several head of cattle in Texas, suspected of carrying mad cow disease.

-- melina b. (goatgalmjb1@hotmail.com), January 25, 2001.

Just heard tonight on PBS about a herd of cattle being confined in Texas. Suspected BSE. Don't know the details of how long they plan on w/ the quarentine. Will look for some more info. John

-- John in S. IN (jsmengel@hotmail.com), January 25, 2001.

Is this a joke about the mad cow disease?

-- Bettie Ferguson (jobett@dixie-net.com), January 25, 2001.

From a news report, the FDA has placed some cattle in Texas under quarantine as a precaution while officials probe whether a feed mill violated rules designed to keep mad cow disease out of the U.S. by including meat and bone meal derived from ruminants in their feed.

Doesn't appear to be anything to be upset about at this time. Since a lot of feed mills have not been complying with the three year old ban, sounds like the FDA is trying to make a statement.

I apologize for having paniced.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), January 25, 2001.

You guys are being silly. The feed industry has not used any animal protein that has any ties to mad cow in 10 yrs. I don't care what the New York Times says. (they also said monica was a vast right wing conspiracy) I have taken care of around 25,000 beef and dairy cows and worked with feed mills from cargil to adm. There is feather mill used but it is not related to mad cow the only other protein used in large amounts is urea. Meat and bone meal is the only thing to watch out for and it comes in many forms. but keep this in mind, plant protein cost between 0.09 to 0.10 cents per pound and animal renderings run about .90 cents per pound. You can not make feed using that and sell it at a competetive price and stay in business.(I have had customers drive 30 miles over .02 cents!)

-- David (davidl41@ipa.net), January 25, 2001.

Oh...on that thing way above on aflotoxin, My husband just grinned at me and raised that eyebrow again.....He does that alot to me,go figger....He said that aflotoxin is tested by blacklights everywhere and that he uses another process because he deals a lot in the dairy industry. They can't have as many parts per million or some such.....Oh well, sorry ya'll! Now you know who the brain is in the family and it aint me!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 26, 2001.


I don't think I'm being silly - panicy maybe - but not silly. According to UK export records, 37 tons of meat and bone meal were exported to the U.S. in 1997. No one seems to know what happened to it.

My, somewhat educated guess based on the experience of Europe, is the first confirmed case of MCD or CJD related to beef in the U.S. and the bottom is going to drop out of the cattle market. When the report about the Texas cattle hit the market, shares of McDonalds dropped four percent and cattle futures also dropped.

I intend to me a front-ender, not a back-ender, on liquidating my herd if a confirmed case should appear.

I doubt you speak for the over 8000 feed mills in the U.S. which produce/sell/mix animal feed.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), January 26, 2001.

Well, David is at work, but I just like to tell Ken...Howdy Ken!...I would love to buy some cows from you!:`)! Is this kinda like the y2k thing where everyone was getting a little funny? Come on now Ken, tell me true...Did you buy a generator? I remember as a kid that they were all worried about the killer bees?! Haven't seen any of those yet...buzzzzz....yeeouch....Hey guys, what was that thing? Boys...go get the fly swatter.....Squish...shew got em! Seriously, if you start to reeeeeally be worried and not just panicked....give us an e-mail! Okie dokie? and...worrying just bums you out...!Have a super day!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 26, 2001.

Ahhh, I just love wallowing in my smug, vegetarian superiority! No Mad carrots that I know of, no matter how many dead carrot parts I feed them (although on a more serious note, even this type of practice spreads mono-cultural diseases. So I guess mad carrots just look ugly and die!)

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), January 27, 2001.

Come on Soni, I bet you've had broccoli a little miffed at you a time or two! Or maybe a flustered spud!?! Cantankerous cantelope? HeeHee!!!!!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 29, 2001.

I've heard that some corn and potatoes can be really sweet. Snicker! Ok guys I will try to be good! Don't let those cucs bite you Soni! My husband says that they do that to him!!! Ok, ok, ok, have a nice Monday!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 29, 2001.

Soni, I am sorry if I was obnoxious!!!! I just get in these weird moods!!! In my daughter's words, you are a nice veteranarian(she gets the two mixed up) I think I am funny, but sometimes I am the only one!!! Sorry! :~) :~) :~) 3 smiles for you!!!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 30, 2001.

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