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Texas cattle quarantined over mad cow rules "WASHINGTON -- U.S. health regulators said today they had quarantined some cattle in Texas while officials investigate whether a feed mill violated rules designed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.
A Food and Drug Administration spokesman said the agency, in its first such action, was probing whether the cattle were accidentally fed meat and bone meal made from other U.S. cattle.
"There's a possibility that bone meal derived from U.S. cattle may have been mixed with a feed supply and later fed to cattle," FDA spokesman Lawrence Bachorick said, adding he could not disclose the name of the feed mill or how many cattle were involved.
"To date, no cases of (mad cow disease) have been confirmed in the U.S. Nevertheless, the cattle here are being kept in isolation until we can determine whether they are fit for human consumption," Bachorick said.
This was the first time FDA had quarantined cattle for possible violations of mad cow safeguards, Bachorick said.
FDA regulations prohibit cattle from being fed meat and bone meal made from other ruminant animals that could carry mad cow, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or a related disease. Scientists believe cattle can get the brain-wasting disease if they eat the remains of other infected animals.
Shares of fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. fell more than 7 percent today after the news, which also sent livestock futures lower.
FDA officials said last month that some feed mills were not fully complying with labeling and record-keeping rules designed to prevent mad cow from spreading through the food supply if it does appear in U.S. animals. Officials promised to crack down on operators who were not following the rules.
The Texas feed mill involved in the quarantine notified the FDA as soon as it realized it may have violated the agency's rules, Bachorick said.
The human form of mad cow disease, known as new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, has killed more than 80 people in Britain and cases of BSE have been appearing in many European countries."
-- tex (email@example.com), January 25, 2001