The FDA reports that they are encouraged by the decision of the Japanese government to lift the temporary ban on imports of United States beef products. "We believe that this decision by Japan acknowledges the effectiveness of U.S. measures adopted over the years-one of the most critical measures being FDA's ruminant feed ban-to protect our country from BSE or bovine spongiform encephalophathy, also known as mad cow disease," says Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, acting Commisioner.
The Food and Drug Administration erected one of the most crucial defenses against this disease in 1997, when it issued a rule prohibiting the use in feed for cattle and other ruminants of some mammalian tissues that might contain the BSE infective agent. Since then, FDA and state health authorities have carried out more than 41,000 inspections of feed manufacturers, renderers, and other producers of feeds for cattle and other ruminant animals to ensure that the rule is rigorously implemented to protect the public health. Over the years, the compliance rate with the FDA regulation has exceeded 99 percent for renderers, protein blenders, and feed mills.
Together with the preventive steps adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FDA's animal feed rule has erected a firewall that has protected our country against the spread of BSE within our cattle herd. FDA continues to work with its partners, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to ensure that effective measures are in place to protect the United States from BSE.