January 15, 2004
Feed Ban Compliance Program Manual Available
Jan. 2004 -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in early November the availability of a compliance program guidance manual for ruminant feed ban inspections.
The compliance program assists investigators in determining compliance with the FDA regulation prohibiting the use of specified animal proteins in ruminant feeds.
?Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)/Ruminant Feed Ban Inspections? was designed to prevent the introduction and/or spread of BSE within the United States.
Because of the agency?s need to provide guidance and instructions to agency and state investigators in conducting inspections for preventing the introduction of BSE in the United States, the guidance took effect immediately. However, FDA is accepting comments on the document and will use them in the development of future policy.
The guidance documents can be viewed at: http://www.fda.gov/cvm/index/bse/bse_guidance.htm
Downer Animal Legislation
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) introduced an amendment on the floor during consideration of the Senate agriculture appropriations bill that would prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture from spending funds to certify for human consumption any four-legged animal which cannot stand or walk unassisted at an ?establishment subject to inspection.?
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), along with other livestock organizations, submitted a letter to all agriculture appropriations conferees, urging them to leave the amendment out of the final appropriations conference report.
The groups stated, ?While perhaps well intentioned, the amendment will actually impede USDA and industry efforts to protect the U.S. from the introduction of diseases by acting as a deterrent to keeping so called ?downer? animals in the formal disease detection and eradication system.?
There are a number of reasons an animal may not stand or walk at destination, which are unrelated to the safety or quality of meat from that animal.
Irish Farmers Told to Obey EU Law
Farmers in Northern Ireland have been told to comply with new European laws aimed at combating scrapie in sheep.
Farmers with a confirmed case of scrapie now have the option of having all their sheep genotyped for free, which will enable them to preferentially breed sheep for scrapie resistance.
?Producers are advised that they should only use the most resistant rams and remove their more susceptible sheep as soon as practical,? said a Department of Agriculture spokesman.
Producers also will receive assistance with regard to genotype testing of replacement animals to ensure they are of a scrapie-resistant genotype.
Goats on affected holdings must be disposed of, as they are not known to have scrapie-resistant genes.
Six States to Participate in ICVI Pilot Project
California, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin will soon partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service?s Veterinary Services on a pilot project that would provide state and federal animal health officials with instantaneous access to information regarding livestock movements in and out of their state.
Such rapid access is crucial in determining the disposition of potentially exposed or infected livestock, as it would decrease the amount of time needed to obtain the information ? from days to mere minutes.
Accredited veterinarians can voluntarily use the Web-based Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) via the internet. An ICVI will be printed out to accompany the animal, and the information will be transmitted electronically to the destination state.
This Phase I pilot project will enable USDA to apply lessons learned to the implementation of the electronic ICVI in the remaining states.
?It will take some time to implement this process as well as to educate the veterinarians in how to use the system,? said Jim Logan, chairman of the American Sheep Industry Animal Health Committee. ?However, this process is definitely needed.?
Canadian Sheep ID Program in Effect
The Canadian national sheep identification program went into effect Jan. 1, 2004. The program requires all sheep and lambs leaving the farm have an official tag.
The purpose of the mandatory tagging is to provide information that can be used in the case of a serious animal-health disease outbreak or food-safety crisis.
Every sheep must be identified with an official hot-pink tag before leaving its herd of origin or co-mingling with sheep from other flocks.
The producer of the herd of origin is responsible for buying the official tag, applying it to the animal and maintaining the records.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations for sheep are similar to those of the cattle identification program.
Laurence Read, vice chair of Canada?s Sheep and Wool Commission commented, ?There is opposition, but I don?t think we have a choice.?
The only exception to the identification rule is if sheep are being shipped directly to a federally or provincially registered abattoir for immediate slaughter.