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Management of Certain Cattle Origin Material Pursuant to the Substances Prohibited from Use in Animal Food and Feed Final Rule

On April 25, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule (40 pp, 282K, about PDF) prohibiting the use of certain cattle parts in ALL animal feed, including pet food. The cattle parts that can no longer be used in animal feed, referred to as "cattle material prohibited in animal feed," or "CMPAF," consists primarily of brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age or older, and the entire carcass of dead stock cattle, unless such cattle are shown to be less than 30 months of age or the brains and spinal cords are removed. The new regulation became effective on April 27, 2009. However, on April 24, 2009, the FDA issued a final rule (3 pp, 53K, about PDF) which confirmed the effective date of April 27, 2009 and established a compliance date of October 26, 2009. The October 26, 2009 compliance date was established to allow additional time for renderers and other affected persons, including cattle producers and packers, more time to identify appropriate methods for disposing of the cattle material prohibited from use in animal feed. Therefore, after October 26, 2009, the CMPAF can no longer be rendered for animal feed use, and will have to be disposed of by other means (e.g., landfill, composting, incineration and possibly by disposal rendering). It is estimated that alternative disposal will be needed for between 300-350 thousand tons of cattle mortalities annually. In addition, the new rule is expected to divert approximately 15 thousand tons of slaughter by-products from being rendered for animal feed use.

As the effective date nears, questions are being raised by the rendering and waste management industries regarding the characterization and the regulatory status of the CMPAF. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a waste is designated as hazardous or non-hazardous. In order for a solid waste to be a hazardous waste it must either be specifically listed or exhibit a characteristic (ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic). Animal mortalities and wastes generated from the slaughter of animals, including CMPAF, are neither listed nor would they likely exhibit a characteristic. Therefore, the CMPAF material would not be a hazardous waste under RCRA, but a solid waste.

Under RCRA, the management of solid waste is under the jurisdiction of state and local governments. In response to the challenges being raised on the disposal of these wastes, the state agricultural agencies should work very closely with the state environmental/solid waste management agencies to ensure the most effective, environmentally safe, and economic disposal of these materials.

For more information, please visit the FDA's Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) page.

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