Final rule released by USDA for "downer" cows
The American Meat Institute (AMI) today welcomed USDA’s final rule that will prohibit the processing of cattle that become non-ambulatory after they pass federal veterinary inspection. The Institute had petitioned for such a rule last year and the industry has been voluntarily complying with it despite the fact that it was not final.
Previously, if cattle passed veterinary inspection at a plant and subsequently became non-ambulatory, these cattle could be re-inspected to determine if they were fit for processing. Veterinarians had the authority to permit them to be processed as “suspects” and then re-inspected post-mortem. This rule ends that option.
Additionally, the final rule requires that establishments notify inspection program personnel when cattle become non-ambulatory disabled after passing the ante-mortem, or pre-slaughter, inspection.
“We are pleased that USDA has acted favorably on a petition submitted by AMI and other industry organizations in April 2008,” AMI President J. Patrick Boyle said. “This rule codifies voluntary industry practice since we submitted the petition nearly a year ago.”
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