FDA Splits the Baby on BSE Final Rule Implementation

April 29, 2009

By Ricardo Carvajal –      

FDA has announced that it expects compliance with its final rule prohibiting the use of certain cattle origin materials (e.g., brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age and older) in the food or feed of all animals on October 26, 2009.  When the final rule was published, the effective date was listed as April 27, 2009.  In response to rumblings that a number of affected parties would be unlikely to achieve compliance by that date, FDA solicited comment for 7 days on whether it should delay the effective date of the rule by 60 days.  The comments revealed that a 60 day delay would not be nearly enough.  However, FDA evidently had no appetite for a significant postponement of the effective date of the rule.  Instead, FDA has announced that the effective date remains April 27 – but the “compliance date” is now October 26, 2009.

Of late, more attention has been paid to the essential role that the states play in maintaining food safety, and to the problematic lack of uniformity in standards, practices, and funding from state to state.  It appears that the lack of uniformity extends to carcass disposal.  As noted by FDA, “State law may dictate whether dead animals can be buried or composted, or whether an incinerator needs to be approved before one is built.”  Thus, a number of states may be lacking the infrastructure needed to absorb the quantities of cattle material that will be diverted from animal feed under the final rule.  FDA has promised to help by finalizing its Draft Small Entities Compliance Guide for Renderers and by engaging in more outreach to State agencies and the rendering industry.

Categories: Foods