In light of the recent discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman announced on Tuesday that meat from downer cattle will banned from entering the food chain. numerous steps the U.S.

Veneman indicated that the number of downer cattle slaughtered for human consumption is "small." She said she did not know how much this decision would cost the beef and dairy industries, reports Meat & Poultry magazine.

"We also will implement a more aggressive surveillance program," said Veneman. Carcass from any animal being tested for BSE will be held until test results are known.

USDA will further address Advanced Meat Recovery systems– designed to remove every scrap of meat from a carcass. According to Veneman, "We (USDA) will address process controls for AMR systems. The rule will ensure spinal cord (and other nervous system tissues) do not enter the food chain."

USDA announced other actions, including, specified risk materials in the head and spinal columns of cattle more than 30 months old age will be declared unfit for human consumption.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service will issue a regulation ending the use of air-injection stunning. USDA will expedite the efforts toward a national food-animal identification program. "Our goal is to develop a consistent, verifiable national program," notes Veneman.

Meat & Poultry magazine