Canada Broadens BSE-Related Feed Ban While US Still Considers


Canada has widened its safeguards against BSE or “mad cow disease” by banning the use of cattle brains, spinal cords, and certain other body parts from all animal feeds, pet foods, and fertilizer.

The rule will include all “specified risk materials” which means cattle parts that are likely to contain the BSE agent if the animal is infected. These include the skull, brain, eyes, tonsils, spinal cord, and certain nerve bundles of cattle 30 months or older.

Government officials say that this will speed up the elimination of BSE from cattle. Although, others say that this new rule will create a major-waste disposal problem and bureaucratic headaches.

Meanwhile, the US is considering copying the Canadian ban, but there is no effective date in sight. In October 2005, the FDA proposed banning the brains and spinal cords of older cattle from animal feed and pet food. Since then, the agency has been reviewing comments on the proposal.

“There is no estimated time frame on when a final rule will be published,” FDA spokesman Michael Herndon told CIDRAP News yesterday. “The agency is working to develop and issue a final rule as expeditiously as possible.” He said he couldn’t give any explanation for the delay.


In marking the advent of the new rules yesterday, Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Chuck Strahl said the government “has taken a significant step toward accelerating the elimination of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from Canadian cattle. These new rules will help increase access to foreign markets, and support Canada’s status as a controlled risk country for BSE from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).”

A CFIA fact sheet says that with the broader feed ban, BSE is expected to be eliminated from Canadian cattle in about 10 years; without the new rules, eradication was expected to take several decades.

The ban means producers can no longer feed any products containing SRM to livestock, and slaughterhouses must identify SRM so they can be removed from the feed system, the CFIA said. In addition, those who handle, transport, or dispose of cattle carcasses and certain cattle tissues must have a CFIA permit.

“This system enables continuous control over SRM, so that it does not enter the animal feed system,” the agency said.

To help industry set up the infrastructure for SRM disposal, the Canadian government is providing $80 million for provincial disposal programs, the CFIA said. Most provinces have established such programs, for which they must provide 40% of the funding, with the federal government supplying the rest, according to the release.

The new restrictions are causing major headaches for the cattle industry, according to the CanWest News report.

The story said SRM must now be removed with special equipment, hauled away in dedicated trucks, processed, and then buried in landfills, burned in high-temperature incinerators, or dumped into composters and bioenergy plants.

(Thanks menusux)

13 Responses to “Canada Broadens BSE-Related Feed Ban While US Still Considers”

  1. catmom5 says:

    How typical of our FDA to NOT take any action. Probably waiting for the okay from their “bosses” . . . hmmm. Why is it that we can’t do much of anything that protects our citizens when it causes expense and “inconvenience” to big agribusinesses?

    I’m glad that the Canadians, at least, aren’t allowing this to go into THEIR pet foods and animal feed.

    Are you listening, FDA?

  2. shibadiva says:

    “Others say that this new rule will create a major-waste disposal problem and bureaucratic headaches.” The problem and bureaucratic headaches would be a whole lot worse if the government hadn’t acted. Surely, there is a business opportunity for these “others”.

  3. Elaine says:

    One of the articles in this post tells that, because of our lower standards for SRM’s, more Canadian cattle will be shipped across the border to be slaughtered here! This will increase the risk for our U.S. cattle to contract the disease, not to mention a heightened risk for vCJD here!


    This is one of the reasons R-CALF USA has a lawsuit against USDA to prevent disease from entering this country.

  4. Krista says:

    The disease is in our country. But just like the way the pet food has been handled, it remains undetermined and unreported with lackluster testings. Politics as usual.. USDA does not want to find them. Again… USDA does not want to find them and they go to extremes for the numbers to reflect it, picking out the healthy as opposed to the suspects for little to nothing testings… It’s the mighty powerful packers monopoly that has fought the efforts for proper testings.. They won’t participate.. Packers lobby money in the hands of politicians to dispel it. It would also help if CJD (human form) was a reportable disease. CDC does not have those numbers either. So, it looks like we don’t have it, but we do..

  5. Barb says:

    See last post in this Itchmo forum:

    Re: Rendering Industry in bed with the Pet Food Institute…
    « Reply #58 on: Today at 11:01:14 AM »

  6. JulieAnn says:

    Anyone having problems accessing the ITCHMO FORUMS? I get some kind of google API error that it is registered to a different site.

  7. Katie says:

    Since the FDA move like snails and accomplish little because their bosses in agribusiness and the White House control them..and than of course, if it can’t go in the pet food the corporations will have to pay an increased price for disposal. And, they certainly aren’t going to give up profit or greed for the safety of the American people. And, like every agency in Washington they will review, and re-review, discuss it, and re-review it - I wonder where the government employees get their meat from or if they are all vegetarians???


  8. kelly says:


  9. Captn'Carl says:

    Once again, it looks like our government is our worst enemy.

  10. HighNote says:

    Since our Government only has inspections on 1 percent of the cattle I have felt they were trying to cover up the mad cow disease in the first place. I think they know we have it in this country but do not want anyone to know about it since it would effect our foreign trade. People die all the time because of dementia and this has to do with Prions in the brain eating away the memory and is so much like the mad cow disease. the mad cow has to do with the Prions too. I find this a little too close for comfort. It makes me wonder if some people with dementia may have a much slower and milder type of mad cow. There was also an article I read about a town in Indiana or Illinois.. Some where in that area that had two different people come down with the wasting disease. and WE had a case in Kansas too. There is little talk about it when someone get it. Sort of like our poor pets.. they kept it hush hush too.
    No…. our government is not for us any more and they have not been for sometime. Before the pet food recall I do not think a lot of people realized that our government is not for the people any more. They are being paid off by big business and we the people and our pets are suffering for it all.
    I doubt if our government will do anything about it. After all remember they were trying to stop that one company from checking all their cattle because they wanted to sell them to Japan and our goverment did not want them to check all of them. Why? Because they were afraid they would find some cattle with the disease and then all of our trade would be over..
    I also was upset when reading that our milk cows are fed to the jails and the old folks homes. I did not mind the jails but the elderly have a hard time chewing their food and milk cows are tuff meat and go cheaper. Sad that we would do this to the old.

  11. Anonymous says:


    I agree with your position, “It’s the mighty powerful packers monopoly that has fought the efforts for proper testings.. They won’t participate.. Packers lobby money in the hands of politicians to dispel it.” But much of that you said isn’t factual.

    I recently posted an article that the Canadian ranchers have a class action suit against their govt claiming the govt didn’t do it’s job to protect their industry from BSE. Their lawyers recently found that the govt was negligent in keeping track of cattle imported into Canada from England, and those cattle were slaughtered and fed to other cattle.

    In addition, Canada and the U.S. had an agreement that if either country found a case of BSE, the border between our countries would be immediately closed to prevent the spread of the disease to our respective cattle herds.

    Documents were found that Canada had a case of BSE in 1993, informed the USDA, and both govt agencies agreed to keep it secret so as to not close the border, on the theory that our cattle industries are a “North American” herd, and it would result in damage to the cattle industry in both countries.

    At this time both countries had a good testing program for BSE to prevent what had happened in England.

    When the first BSE case was diagnosed in Washington state in 2003, and that mad cow was an import from Canada, the problem was out in the open and our own USDA’s response was to immediately close the border to meat and cattle from Canada. This was the PROPER response. But then they got pressure from the meatpackers so they weakened and allowed bone in meat to be imported, and since then the USDA continues to write rules to allow other meats from Canada, and then under 30 month age live cattle, and this past year have written a rule to allow OVER 30 months of age cattle! (In other words, ANY CATTLE from Canada)

    Until last year, both countries had a good testing program for BSE. I think both countries mandate testing downer cattle for BSE, which is, of course, the higher risk cattle.

    A recent publication by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that provides CDC’s statistical analysis of BSE testing data for Canada and the United States, concluding that: “The proportion of Canadian-born BSE cases identified by Canadian authorities through the testing of animals in Canada, 2003-April 2007 (10 cases among approximately 160,000 animals tested) is presently statistically significantly higher (26 fold higher) than the proportion of U.S.-born BSE cases identified by U.S. authorities through the testing of animals in the U.S. during the comparable period (2 cases among more than 875,000 animals tested).”

    Last year, after USDA claimed to have found 2 cases of BSE in the US, BOTH COUNTRIES scaled back their BSE testing. IMO, the USDA was getting pressured to keep the border open by the packers, so they tested UNTIL they found some BSE cases (non-typical), and then they didn’t want to test and find more so as to not damage their bottom line! And also, if USDA is making rules to allow ANY AGE Canadian cattle into this country, they are bound to find more BSE cases, and the liklihood, given Canada’s BSE problem, is that the cases they find could be of Canadian origin!

    I attended the hearing in Portland Friday before the 9th circuit court on the R-CALF case to close the Canadian border to cattle and meat UNTIL we know that Canada has it’s BSE problem under control. This case was originally filed in 2003, and the judge had issued a temporary injunction to close the border, but a 3 judge panel of the 9th circuit had overturned the injunction.

    We hope the results of this hearing will allow our case to go forward and be heard on the scientific evidence. (The 9th circuits opinion to overturn was that we should defer to the USDA, they are the “EXPERTS”)

    During this hearing on Friday, USDA’s lawyer admitted to the increased number of BSE cases in Canada, but said that this case should be heard on the evidence presented in 2003, and that USDA is working on the new cases, and should be given time to write rules regarding them. One judge was seeming to take the position that we should defer to the expert USDA, but it is hard to tell what they really think with their questions.

    The USDA lawyer stressed that we will never have zero risk, and that minimal risk is acceptable. IMO, that would NOT be acceptable to someone whose family member has died of vCJD! We should AIM FOR ZERO RISK, whether talking of BSE or contaminants in people food or animal feed!

  12. Elaine says:

    Sorry Krista,

    I was anonymous in that post.

  13. Elaine says:

    High Note,

    Our USDA inspects way more than 1% of our meat at slaughter plants, I think you are confusing USDA meat inspections with FDA inspections at our border.

    At this time the USDA has scaled back BSE testing on healthy animals, but I think they are still testing all of the downer cattle that exhibit BSE symptoms.

    USDA’s handling of the BSE problem with Canada has effectively killed our export market. Most countries that have refused U.S. meat would accept it IF we had Country of Origin Labeling so they could be assured that we weren’t sending them meat from countries with a BSE risk. All of the trade agreements with countries that have refused our meat contain that language!

    USDA has been pressured by the Big Packers to Not label as to COOL, because they like to import cheaper meat from other countries and use our USDA inspected label to fool customers into thinking it is U.S. meat. The countries we trade with are not fooled!

    Cap’n Carl, it isn’t our form of government at fault, we have the BEST! A Constitutional Republic! It is the abuse by corrupt congressmen being influenced by multnational business conglomerates that is the problem!

    Read my post to Krista, it contains some info that may help.

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