Stopping bovine spongiform encephalopathy before it spreads involves feed controls, which have been effective in the United States. However, the extent of control of cattle tissue exclusion from animal feeds has been a point of debate. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced today it would ban cattle tissues capable of transmitting BSE from all animal feeds, pet foods and fertilizers.
The banned tissues are known collectively as specified risk materials, and have been shown in infected cattle to contain concentrated levels of the BSE agent. Canada has already applied identical controls to the human food system where SRM are removed from all cattle slaughtered for human consumption.
The new regulations go into effect July 12, 2007, with added time for small establishments to reach full compliance. An awareness campaign will be rolled out to ensure that regulated parties are fully aware of their responsibilities and have adjusted their practices and procedures as required, according to a CFIA release.
SRM are defined as the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord) of cattle aged 30 months or older and the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) of cattle of all ages.
Removal of SRM from these markets will impact several industries. The government says it is working on alternative uses for SRM, including process that generate biofuel.