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Washington, D.C. – Consumers and cattle producers across the nation would be better protected from the threat of mad cow disease if today’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal is accepted, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

The FDA unveiled new measures to keep the risk of mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), low in the U.S. by amending animal feed regulations. The new regulations would prohibit the use of certain high risk cattle materials that can potentially carry BSE. Since 1997 these materials were banned only from cattle feed but would now be banned from all animal feed, including pet food.

“Whether you raise or eat beef, lamb or chicken, livestock producers and consumers alike should welcome the FDA’s most recent action to reduce the risk of mad cow contamination in the U.S.,” said Enzi. “This proposed rule should reassure our trading partners that we are just as serious about closing the pathways for mad cow transmission in the U.S. as we are about opening the pathways for international trade of our products. I look forward to the implementation of country of origin labeling which will also give consumers another way of knowing their food is safe.”

The proposed rules are now open to a 75-day public comment period. Enzi believes the FDA could go further by prohibiting other ingredients such as certain proteins, waste and poultry litter from finding its way into cattle feed bunks and he encourages people to comment on the rule.

Comments can be submitted to the FDA through www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/bse.html, on the web.

Mad cow disease is a chronic degenerative disease that attacks the central nervous system of cattle. The disease is transmitted when feed contaminated with BSE is consumed by other animals.

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