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Are FDA Mad Cow Guidelines Enough?

Seven months after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was reported, the FDA issued long-delayed bans on nervous system tissue and other cattle parts from use in human food, dietary supplements and cosmetics.

The new rules prohibit the use of the brain, skull, eyes and spinal cord tissue, where infectious agents of the brain-wasting disease first appear, from animals older than 30 months.

The agency has also requested public and industry comments on a proposed ban on the use of the materials in animal feed. The rules bring the FDA in line with those issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture just weeks after the discovery in December of a diseased cow in the Northwestern U.S.

Because the agency might not finalize all its animal feed rules until 2006, however, many food safety advocates are up in arms.

Your best bet to avoid this disease is to consume only "healthy meat." Obtaining healthy meat means avoiding most grain-fed meats. Grain-free meats not only provide a better balance of omega fats, but the animals are healthier, and the risk of acquiring an infection from a healthy animal is very remote.

Many stores will advertise beef as grass-fed, because virtually ALL cattle are grass-fed initially. But what matters is what they are fed in the months prior to their slaughter, not what they are fed initially, and most cattle are fed grains during this time.

USA Today July 11, 2004

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