I just saw this news alert: “FDA bans cow blood in livestock feed, part of broader restrictions after mad cow discovery,” which made go looking for more information. My thinking was WTF are they doing feeding blood to cows. If that wasn’t bad enough there’s some other nasty ish in that report:
The first interim final rule will ban the following materials from FDA-regulated human food, (including dietary supplements) and cosmetics:
— Any material from “downer” cattle. (“Downer” cattle are animals that cannot walk.)
— Any material from “dead” cattle. (“Dead” cattle are cattle that die on the farm (i.e. before reaching the slaughter plant);
— Specified Risk Materials (SRMs) that are known to harbor the highest concentrations of the infectious agent for BSE, such as the brain, skull, eyes, and spinal cord of cattle 30 months or older, and a portion of the small intestine and tonsils from all cattle, regardless of their age or health; and
— The product known as mechanically separated beef, a product which may contain SRMs. Meat obtained by Advanced Meat Recovery (an automated system for cutting meat from bones), may be used since USDA regulations do not allow the presence of SRMs in this product.
The ‘no downers’ and ‘no (previously) dead cattle’ rules should have been in existence from day one. That just seems like common sense to me. As for the miscellaneous parts, that’s why I can’t mess with mystery meat like sausage, pepperoni, scrapple, etc.
But it gets even better:
The second interim final rule is designed to lower even further the risk that cattle will be purposefully or inadvertently fed prohibited protein. It was the feeding of such protein to cattle that was the route of disease transmission that led to the BSE epidemic in United Kingdom cattle in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
This interim final rule will implement four specific changes in FDA’s present animal feed rule. First, the rule will eliminate the present exemption in the feed rule that allows mammalian blood and blood products to be fed to other ruminants as a protein source. Recent scientific evidence suggests that blood can carry some infectivity for BSE.
Second, the rule will also ban the use of “poultry litter” as a feed ingredient for ruminant animals. Poultry litter consists of bedding, spilled feed, feathers, and fecal matter that are collected from living quarters where poultry is raised. This material is then used in cattle feed in some areas of the country where cattle and large poultry raising operations are located near each other. Poultry feed may legally contain protein that is prohibited in ruminant feed, such as bovine meat and bone meal. The concern is that spillage of poultry feed in the chicken house occurs and that poultry feed (which may contain protein prohibited in ruminant feed) is then collected as part of the “poultry litter” and added to ruminant feed.
Third, the rule will ban the use of “plate waste” as a feed ingredient for ruminants. Plate waste consists of uneaten meat and other meat scraps that are currently collected from some large restaurant operations and rendered into meat and bone meal for animal feed. The use of “plate waste” confounds FDA’s ability to analyze ruminant feeds for the presence of prohibited proteins, compromising the Agency’s ability to fully enforce the animal feed rule.
The ‘poultry litter’ thing is just nasty! Feathers, bedding and fecal matter?!?!? WTF!?!?! Plate waste? So cows have been used as garbage disposals. Nasty. Why are they feeding all this shit (no pun intended) to animals that are supposed to be herbivores?
It may be time to make that transition to being a vegan.