IT'S ILLEGAL TO FEED ANIMAL PROTEINS TO COWS
Clell V. Bagley, D.V.M.,
USU Extension Veterinarian

In recent months, federal regulations have gone into effect which make it illegal for a dairyman to feed animal protein (such as meat meal) to his dairy (or beef) animals. The purpose of the regulation is to prevent the establishment and amplification, through the feed, of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or "mad cow disease" of Great Britain). The same ban applies to all other ruminants, such as sheep, goats, buffalo, elk and deer.

The regulations ban the use in ruminant animal feed of protein that was derived from mammals. For example, meat meal from rendered cattle offal is prohibited. So is that from rendered mink carcasses, etc. (mink are a special concern). There are a few exceptions and these products could be fed:

    * Poultry protein product is exempt (not a mammal).
    * Pure swine or horse protein and also marine origin protein.
    * Blood and blood products.
    * Gelatin.
    * Milk and milk proteins.
    * Products that have been cooked and offered for human consumption.
    * Tallow (not a protein and undergoes high temperature processing).

Rendering establishments and feed mills must follow regulations to properly label products and to prevent cross contamination. If a feed contains prohibited animal protein, the tag and/or the invoice must state, "Do not feed to cattle or other ruminants." Feed mills that are "on-farm" come under this same provision and for protein blending, etc. would be considered as a feed manufacturer and distributor.

Dairy producers feeding any animal origin protein (which should only be that which is legally approved), must keep records for at least one year after the purchase:

1. Keep copies of all purchase invoices for all feeds received that contain animal protein. (For     feed for ruminant animals this can only be non-prohibited material.)
2. Keep copies of labeling of feeds that contain animal protein.

These regulations will require some adjustment for both dairy and beef producers. But, there is sufficient scientific evidence to warrant the regulations to protect the public. We do NOT want a problem similar to that in Great Britain.

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