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News 236 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Possible relaxing of BSE feed rule

Europe might consider allowing cross-feed of animal protein between pigs and poultry at some stage in the future. It will never lift its ban on using animal protein in cattle feed.

Experts at the EU's executive arm are compiling a report on the feasibility and risk of relaxing rules so that some animal proteins may be used in animal feed.

The study's results are due in late 2009 and the Commission will decide accordingly. Whatever the outcome will be, the EU however will never lift the ban on feeding animal protein to ruminants.

The EU banned the use of meat and bone meal (MBM) in cattle feed in 1994 after scientists concluded that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, was spread by feed contaminated by ruminant protein in the form of MBM.

Last year, EU scientists concluded that the BSE-related public health risks of using certain animal proteins in animal feed, particularly pig protein being fed to poultry and vice-versa would be negligible.

Fish meal already relaxed
The EU has already taken a first step towards relaxing its overall BSE restrictions: in April, national EU experts agreed to lift a seven-year ban on using fishmeal in animal feed and allow it to be used as a milk replacement for calves and lambs.

Providing the European Parliament agrees, that new provision would probably come into force in September. There is no plan to extend it to adult animals.

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