Mad Cow - Purina Stops Putting
Ruminant Remains In Cattle Feed

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. herds.
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 bone meal.
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 beef.
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 said.
``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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