In response to a report this week that a Texas feed mill may have inadvertently mixed meat and bone meal derived from U.S. cattle in with a feed supplement later fed to cattle, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association espoused caution.

"There has never been a case of BSE found in the U.S. There has been never a case of nvCJD diagnosed in the U.S.” said Chuck Schroeder, NCBA CEO. "It's important to understand that you can't get vCJD by eating fresh, unprocessed beef cuts. The infectious agent that causes BSE is not found in meat or milk. It has only been found in brains, spinal cord and retina in infected animals in European herds."

But Schroeder hardly dismissed the error at the mill as minor.

"The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) supports full compliance with FDA regulations that prohibit the feeding of mammalian-derived protein supplements that might be a risk for carrying the BSE infectious agent,” he said. “We have made it clear to the feed industry and the rendering industry from the start that we expect full compliance. If there are violations of the law – whether purposeful or accidental – NCBA expects these to be dealt with according to law.

"If there are folks who don't understand the seriousness of the situation, they need to be brought to understand it – both by communication from the industry and if necessary by penalties from the regulatory authorities involved. There is simply no excuse for non-compliance. As an industry, we are unwavering on that.”

NCBA is hosting a meeting in Washington, D.C. Monday, Jan. 29 to discuss compliance with FDA feed regulation. Plannning for the meeting began last November and is not in direct response to the latest trouble. NCBA has invited officials of FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the feed industry and the meatpacking and rendering industries to the meeting to discuss ensuring full compliance with FDA rule.