CSPI Reacts to New BSE Safeguards

Long Overdue, But Rules Could Go Further to Protect Public

December 31, 2003

Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal

Today’s announcement by USDA represents several leaps forward for consumers, but unfortunately USDA delayed these needed reforms too long to prevent the fallout from the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S.

A ban on specified risk materials in the human food supply only applies to animals 30 months or older, despite the fact that several cattle found to harbor the disease were younger than 24 months of age.

USDA has finally announced that meat from Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) systems that contains spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia fails to meet food safety standards and can’t be sold for human consumption, but enforcement is largely dependent on infrequent government testing. USDA’s own tests have documented that the meat that comes from these machines frequently contains spinal cord and isn’t fit for human consumption. USDA’s announcement on AMR meat doesn’t go nearly far enough to protect consumers.

Finally, USDA’s announced animal identification system is critically needed. This is an important improvement that has too long been delayed due to opposition from the cattle industry.


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