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FDA taking step to ease U.S. mad cow risk

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WASHINGTON, Jul 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The Bush administration reportedly is considering tighter rules on animal feed to further cut the U.S. risk of mad-cow disease.

The plan is aimed at closing loopholes that might allow infected materials derived from cattle to be fed to cattle, which is how the disease is transmitted.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to seek elimination of high-risk materials such as cows' spinal cord and brain from all animal feed, including pet food, the Wall Street Journal said.

The fatal brain-wasting disease is technically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, and people can contract a similar form, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The disease, which is extremely rare but always fatal, is believed to spread when animals or humans eat certain parts of infected cattle, including brain and spinal-cord tissue. The first U.S. cow with the disease was discovered in December, though it was found to have been born in Canada.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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