WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it fully supports the safety policies announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which build on the principles and procedures that FDA and USDA have developed since 1997.
In order to attain these goals, the FDA will evaluate the impact of the new policies on the agency's resources, so that it can devise and implement the most effective and efficient enforcement strategies. The FDA will take appropriate steps to provide for the proper handling of increased non-food rendering materials that may result from these USDA policies. The FDA will also direct sufficient resources to meet its increased responsibilities for protecting the safety of the food and feed supply.
In the last six years, the agency has sponsored workshops, teleconferences and other outreach programs to stimulate cooperation of state, local, and cross-border authorities in a vigilant surveillance for BSE; it has issued import alerts and bulletins to detain all products with processed animal protein from countries with BSE; it has requested blood centers to exclude blood donations by individuals who might be carriers of the BSE agent; and it has urged manufacturers of drugs, vaccines, medical devices and cosmetics to use only materials derived from cattle that are BSE-free.
The main focus of FDA's BSE-prevention program has been regular inspections of all renderers and feed mills in the U.S., more than 99 percent of which have achieved compliance with a 1997 FDA rule that prohibits the inclusion of most animal protein in feeds for cattle and other ruminants. The effectiveness of FDA's surveillance was most recently confirmed by the fact that all of the firms involved in the current BSE investigation were found to be in compliance with the FDA rule, and that the agency working with state and industry officials was able to halt the distribution of all of the meat and bone meal from the sick cow.