U.S. Bans Sick 'Downer' Cattle for Meat
By MARK SHERMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman on Tuesday announced a list of new restrictions to further enhance the safety of the American beef supply, including a meatpacking ban on the use of sick ``downer'' cattle like the one discovered last week with mad cow disease.
She also announced bans against the use of small intestines and head and spinal tissue from older cattle in the U.S. food chain, as well as changes in slaughterhouse techniques with the aim of preventing accidental contamination of meat with cow nerve tissue.
The other new measures include:
Any animal tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) will not be allowed into the food supply until test results are confirmed. The Washington cow was sent to meatpacking plants almost two weeks before test results showed that it had mad cow disease.
Prohibiting air injection stunning of cattle, a pre-slaughter practice that can disperse brain tissue.
Stricter controls on automated carcass stripping systems to better insure that spinal cord tissue isn't nicked.
Creation of a national animal identification that would enable officials to respond faster to an outbreak.
This last statement is highly unlikely - Acquiunk
`These actions are not being taken in response just to our trading partners,'' Veneman said.
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