BSE Investigation in California Complete

An investigation into the fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States discovered in late April has determined that compliance with existing feed regulations was excellent, concluding that feed was not the cause of the infection.

A brain sample collected from a dead dairy cow at the Baker Commodities’ rendering transfer station in Hanford, CA, tested positive for L-type atypical BSE. While cases of classical BSE have been linked to the use of contaminated meat and bone meal as an ingredient in cattle feed, the origin of atypical strains of BSE is unknown. Since 1997, mammalian proteins have been prohibited in ruminant feed in the United States, and in 2008, further safeguards were put in place prohibiting the brain and spinal cord from cattle 30 months of age and older in all animal feed.

Given the scientific uncertainty about the origin of the L-type strain of BSE, the Food and Drug Administration and California Department of Food and Agriculture conducted an extensive feed investigation to try to determine if any feed supplied to the infected cow could have been manufactured with or cross-contaminated by ingredients that are prohibited for use in feed for ruminant animals. Particular attention was focused on controls in place at each facility the animal resided since birth to prevent cross contamination.

Review of the BSE inspection histories found that compliance with feed regulations was excellent. None of the facilities had used prohibited material in their feed manufacturing during the entire period of interest, although one facility distributed prohibited material but did not use it to manufacture feeds. This facility maintained separation between its manufactured feed and products for distribution that contained prohibited material.

The investigation found that no feed suppliers to the index premises processed with prohibited material during the period of interest, that all feed facilities obtained appropriate assurances from their suppliers that incoming ingredients did not contain prohibited material, and that vehicle inspections and/or driver certifications were used by all facilities to ensure that products were not transported in vehicles that had hauled product containing prohibited material in the previous load. Based on these findings, the feed investigation team did not identify any conditions where feed ingredients supplied to the index premises had been manufactured with prohibited material, or where feed suppliers to the index premises did not have adequate safeguards in place to prevent cross-contamination during feed manufacture, storage, or transportation.

October 2012 RENDER | back