The U.S. government has plans to extend its ban against brains and spinal tissue byproducts in cattle feed to include food for dogs, cats, pigs and poultry.

Stephen Sundlof, Center for Veterinary Medicine director at the Food and Drug Administration, says the agency wants to prevent diseases from being passed onto consumers and other animals. FDA will likely draft new regulations, including on that could require processors that slaughter "downer" livestock to dispose of the brain and spinal cord before mixing animal feed and pet food, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

FDA is working with packers and animal-feed companies to develop a plan by 2007 to prevent high-risk materials like spinal tissue from ending up in feed.

"The whole point of this is to develop a more comprehensive plan for the feed from the time it leaves the farm," says Sundlof. "We need to minimize the risk." NPPC is monitoring this issue on the pork industry's behalf.

National Pork Producers Council