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FDA Announces Ban on Feeding of Poultry Litter

Livestock Update, March 2004

John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech

The Food and Drug Administration announced on January 26, 2004 that it will publish an interim final rule that will increase regulations related to the ban on mammalian derived feeds first implemented in 1997. The new science-based restrictions and regulations regarding feeding practices for ruminant animals are in keeping with the USDA and FDA "abundance of caution" philosophy in response to the single US case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The new ban will impact feeding and milling practices for beef and dairy producers across the US, but may have the greatest effect in the Southeast and Midwest.

Upon publication of the interim final rule in the Federal Register the bans and regulations will immediately go into effect. Publication will most likely occur in late February. The rule will:

For producers in the Southeast and Midwest, a feeding ban on poultry litter will result in the loss of a protein supplement and hay substitute that had formerly been supported by 30 years of research. However, poultry litter contains spilled feed which may contain ruminant derived proteins sometimes used in poultry diets. Although the amount of banned protein from spilled feed in litter was originally considered in 1997 by the FDA to be "insignificant", the FDA will eliminate the possibility of cattle being inadvertently fed mammalian protein.

There is a high probability of a grace period for beef producers to use existing stocks of feeds containing poultry litter. The grace period may be up to 60 or 90 days after the publication of the ban. It should be noted that at this time, we have not received official notification of a grace period. Extension professionals will continue to update beef producers as more information becomes available.

The ban on feeding of mammalian blood and blood products will affect calf management and rearing programs of beef and dairy producers. These proteins are commonly used in milk replacers and colostrum substitutes because they are easily digestible and contain amino acids and peptides essential for calf growth and development. Milk replacers that contain milk, milk proteins, and proteins from non-banned sources will be allowed.

After the 1997 ban on use of mammalian derived proteins, smaller feed mills often stopped using products banned from ruminant diets and eliminated them from their mills. This simplified their record keeping and milling practices. Along with the new requirements on milling practices and line separation, the FDA announced it will step up inspections of feed mills and renderers. How the new regulation will impact mills in our region is not known. However, the FDA and its state partners intend to inspect 100% of the renderers and feed mills that mix feeds containing proteins banned for ruminants.

The FDA will take public comment on the interim final rule after publication. However, producers must abide by the new FDA bans and regulations immediately upon publication. The complete text of the FDA announcement can be found on the web at:

Producers with questions or concerns about feeding practices related to the new FDA ruling should contact their County Extension Agent.

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