- ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Reuters)
- Leading U.S. livestock feed producer Purina Mills Inc. acknowledged on
Friday that it produced the feed that led U.S. authorities to quarantine
a cattle herd in Texas as a precaution to keep mad cow disease out of U.S.
- The feed contained meat and bone meal made from ruminant
animals, which has been banned from U.S. cattle feed since 1997. Feed containing
meat and bone meal from infected cattle is suspected in Europe of spreading
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE ), or mad cow disease.
- A Purina spokesman said on Friday the company had stopped
using ruminant meat and bone meal in all its feed.
- ``As of last night, Purina Mills no longer uses any ruminant
meat or bone meal in any of our products or at any of our plants,'' Purina
Mills spokesman Max Fisher said.
- No case of BSE has ever been reported in the United States.
Purina Mills said its operations had used only meat and bone meal produced
in the United States.
- Fisher said the company's move followed a successful
voluntary recall of one animal feed product shipped to one customer. Purina
said it discovered the feed had gone to a Texas cattle feedlot but may
have contained ruminant meat and bone meal.
- Purina's statement followed an announcement by the Food
and Drug Administration on Thursday that it had quarantined a herd of cattle
in Texas to investigate whether the cattle might have been fed ruminant
- Scientists believe cattle can contract BSE if they eat
the remains of infected animals. More than 80 people have died in Europe
from the human variant of BSE, believed to be tied to consumption of infected
- Purina's decision would go further than the government
regulation by removing ruminant meat and bone meal from all its products,
including feed intended for poultry and swine.
- ``By so doing, that totally takes the risk factor down
to zero of ruminant meat and bone meal getting formulated into a cattle
product at a Purina plant,'' Fisher said.
- ``Purina voluntarily initiated this product recall and
immediately notified regulatory agencies about the recall,'' the company
- ``The customer is holding all animals pending the outcome
of regulatory agency review,'' it said. ``All remaining feed containing
the ingredient has been successfully recalled.''
- Fisher said the Purina Mills feed mill at Gonzales, Texas,
was responsible for the product that was recalled. The amount of suspect
feed amounted to 22 tons, he said.
- Texas cattle industry sources on Thursday estimated the
number of cattle being held at about 1,200 head. Texas is the largest U.S.
cattle-producing state, with about 2.9 million head at feedlots.
- Earlier this week, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
said it had invited officials of the feed industry, U.S. Agriculture Department,
FDA and the meatpacking and rendering industries to a meeting in Washington
next Monday, Jan. 29, to underscore the need for ``zero tolerance'' of
any mad cow disease threat to the United States.
- Purina Mills has 49 feedmills in the United States.
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