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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is one variety of a group of diseases known as "Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies" (TSEs). TSEs cause microscopic holes in the brain, giving it a sponge-like appearance under a microscope. TSEs are always fatal and affect both humans and animals.
BSE is the type of TSE that occurs in cattle. Scientists believe cattle are infected when they eat feed that contains remnants of infected animals.
The most common human TSE is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Scientists believe a new variant form of CJD is caused by consuming the brain and spinal cord of animals infected with BSE.[Top of Page]
Protecting the Livestock Feed Supply
Since 1997, the United States and Canada have banned the use of most mammalian protein in ruminant feed. Effective in 2009 this rule was amended and an additional rule was created to strengthen the United States defense against BSE. These rules apply to feed manufacturers, distributors, renderers, protein blenders, transporters, ruminant feeders and others handling ruminant feed.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) BSE Feed Rules
"Animal proteins prohibited in ruminant feed" (21CFR589.2000) has been in effect since 1997 and was amended effective April 27, 2009. A second rule designed to further reduce the risk of the occurrence of BSE also became effective April 27, 2009. This new rule ( Cattle materials prohibited in animal food or feed to prevent the transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Part 589.2001 ) prohibits certain animal products from being fed to all animals. The amendment, the new rule, and comments were published in the April 25, 2008 Federal Register.
The following BSE feed rule related Guidance Documents are available on the FDA Website. The first seven are based on the 1997 feed rule but will be updated by FDA to include the amendment and the new rule. The last publication listed (CVM GFI #195) is based on the 2008 rule.
Also on the same FDA Webpage there are links to ruminant feed inspection results, BSE and Pet Safety, plus additional related information.[Top of Page]
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) BSE Related Information
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