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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

FDA Should not Delay Implementation of Enhanced Feed Ban


WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 15, 2009) — In formal comments submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday, R-CALF USA requested the agency — because of its obligation to put the health and safety of U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle herd ahead of the self-interested corporations and their trade association that continue to ignore the very real and long-term risks associated with BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease) — immediately reverse its plan to delay implementation of the enhanced feed ban while higher-risk Canadian cattle continue to enter the United States.


“R-CALF USA believes that USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) acted recklessly and irresponsibly by allowing higher-risk Canadian cattle to enter the United States even before the U.S. implemented such basic measures as an enhanced feed ban to at least attempt to reduce that higher risk, and before USDA conducted a scientific investigation to determine if Canada’s upgraded feed ban was even meeting Canada’s expectations for BSE eradication,” wrote R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee.


“Under present circumstances, the U.S. remains exposed to a heightened BSE risk from Canadian cattle, and the FDA has no choice but to immediately implement the enhanced feed ban to at least attempt to reduce the increased risk of BSE,” he continued.


The current U.S. feed ban — which is weaker than the feed ban initially implemented in Canada and found to be in sufficient to halt the spread of Canada’s level of BSE infectivity — is likewise inadequate to prevent the amplification and spread of BSE that USDA has forecast to be continually introduced into the U.S. from Canadian cattle.


“There is no justifiable reason for the FDA to delay the enhanced feed ban,” Thornsberry concluded. “The FDA has given the public only until this Thursday, April 16th, to comment on the delay, and we encourage independent cattle producers and consumers alike to demand that the agency act in the most responsible manner in the public’s interest. If USDA does not immediately eliminate the source of this heightened BSE risk by prohibiting the importation of Canadian cattle, FDA has no choice but to immediately implement the 2008 BSE final rule to at least attempt to begin mitigating this heightened risk. There are no responsible alternatives.”


R-CALF USA encourages U.S. consumers and U.S. cattle producers to submit comments on the FDA’s proposal before midnight Eastern, April 16, 2009. For information on how to submit a public comment and to see a sample comment letter, as well as R-CALF USA’s formal comments, go to www.r-calfusa.com and click on “Food Safety.”




by Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator, R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, sdodson@r-calfusa.com, 406-672-8969

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketing issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.