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USDA's Implementation of New State-Delegated Meat Inspection Program Addresses Most Key Farm Bill Requirements, but Additional Action Needed

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) completed most of the key activities outlined in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill), which authorized a new meat and poultry inspection program to support interstate shipment of meat and poultry products from establishments with 25 or fewer employees, inspected by state agencies. Specifically, FSIS issued program regulations in May 2011for the new inspection program, called the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program,and it provided additional guidance in October 2011 instructing states on what they needed to demonstrate to be approved for the CIS program.As of January 31, 2013, three states—Ohio, North Dakota, and Wisconsin—and eight establishments in two of those states had been selected to participate in the program. However, although FSIS established a technical assistance division, that division has not coordinated with other USDA agencies on initiatives to provide outreach, education, and training to establishments and grants to states for those initiatives and also for technical assistance to small establishments,as required by the 2008 Farm Bill. Also, FSIS gave funds to four states to assess the changes they would have to make to their inspection procedures to meet the 2008 Farm Bill requirements for CIS, and to serve as models for other states that might be interested in the new program, but FSIS did not collect information from the four states. FSIS acknowledged that the information could be useful to other states that may be considering CIS but it does not plan to provide funds to other states for similar assessments."
Date: May 30, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Posthearing Questions Related to Fragmentation and Overlap in the Federal Food Safety System

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO testified before Congress at the hearing A System Rued: Inspecting Food. This report responds to Congress's request that GAO provide answers to follow-up questions from the hearing."
Date: May 26, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety: Experiences of Seven Countries in Consolidating Their Food Safety Systems

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The safety and quality of the U.S. food supply are governed by a complex system that is administered by 15 agencies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), have primary responsibility for food safety. Many legislative proposals have been made to consolidate the U.S. food safety system, but to date no other action has been taken. Several countries have taken steps to streamline and consolidate their food safety systems. In 1999, we reported on the initial experiences of four of these countries--Canada, Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Since then, additional countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, have undertaken consolidations. This report describes the approaches and challenges these countries faced in consolidating food safety functions, including the benefits and costs cited by government officials and other stakeholders. In commenting on a draft of this report, HHS and USDA said that the countries' consolidation experiences have limited applicability to the U.S. food safety system because the countries are much smaller than the United States. The two agencies believe that they are working together effectively to ensure the safety of the food supply."
Date: February 22, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

School Lunch: Modifications Needed to Some of the New Nutrition Standards

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "School districts faced several challenges implementing the new lunch requirements in school year 2012-2013, according to the eight districts GAO visited and food service and industry officials GAO interviewed from across the country; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) response to some of these challenges has been limited. For example, because USDA regulations restrict the amounts of meats and grains that can be served in school lunches each week, all eight districts GAO visited needed to modify or eliminate popular menu items. These changes sometimes led to negative student reactions. The meat and grain restrictions also led to smaller lunch entrees, making it difficult for some schools to meet minimum calorie requirements for lunches without adding items, such as gelatin, that generally do not improve the nutritional quality of lunches. In response to feedback from states and districts regarding operational challenges caused by the meat and grain restrictions, USDA lifted the limits temporarily, first for the remainder of school year 2012-2013 and then for school year 2013-2014. USDA officials said they did not see a problem making the temporary changes to help with implementation because the limits on meats and grains and the limits on the calories in lunches are somewhat redundant, as both address portion size. However, because the change was seen as temporary, the eight districts GAO visited made only marginal changes to their menus. Rather, several district food services officials, as well as relevant industry representatives, indicated the need for a permanent federal decision on these restrictions, which USDA has also acknowledged."
Date: June 27, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety: USDA and FDA Need to Better Ensure Prompt and Complete Recalls of Potentially Unsafe Food

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Two large food recalls completed in 2003 were associated with 8 deaths and nearly 100 serious illnesses in at least 16 states. Manufacturers voluntarily recall potentially unsafe food by notifying their customers to return or destroy it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), for meat, poultry, and egg products, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for other food, have programs to monitor voluntary food recalls, verify that companies contact their customers, and maintain recall data. GAO (1) examined the recall programs and procedures USDA and FDA use to protect consumers from unsafe foods and (2) compared their food recall authority with the authority of agencies to recall other consumer products."
Date: October 7, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nutrition Education: USDA Provides Services through Multiple Programs, but Stronger Linkages among Efforts Are Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are catching up to tobacco use as the leading cause of death in the United States. In addition to having negative health outcomes, children with poor nutrition may have a harder time succeeding in school than other children. To help improve nutrition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides nutrition education through five of its programs. The department spent $472 million on these efforts in fiscal year 2002. GAO was asked: (1) What key actions can officials take to increase the likelihood of success in nutrition education? (2) Do USDA and state and local officials take these actions during program design, service delivery, and program monitoring and evaluation?"
Date: April 27, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety: FDA's Food Advisory and Recall Process Needs Strengthening

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Several government entities, including federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and some states such as Texas, have the authority to order product recalls. Generally, FDA is to follow the same process for implementing its food recall authority as other federal agencies use to order recalls of other products, including (1) determining that available evidence of a threat meets a standard of proof to order a recall, (2) offering a company the opportunity to voluntarily recall a product before a recall order is issued, and (3) providing the company with an opportunity to challenge a recall decision. FDA has internal procedures describing the steps it will take to order a food recall, although these procedures are not yet public and the agency has not issued regulations or industry guidance to clarify its ordered food recall process. FDA faces a number of communication challenges when advising the public about food recalls or outbreaks of foodborne illness, ranging from balancing technical accuracy with timeliness of communications to coordinating messages with other agencies to meeting the needs of diverse public audiences. The agency has taken steps to begin meeting these challenges but has yet to fully address recommendations from GAO and others to fashion a comprehensive food recall communication policy and related implementation plans. Specifically, FDA has not (1) adopted a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Risk Communication to create a policy for emerging events to more comprehensively address several of its communication challenges; (2) created plans recommended by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council to help address coordination challenges surrounding its communications; or (3) fully implemented a recommendation from GAO’s past work to determine jointly with ...
Date: July 26, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Veterinarian Workforce: Actions Are Needed to Ensure Sufficient Capacity for Protecting Public and Animal Health

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Veterinarians are essential for controlling zoonotic diseases--which spread between animals and humans--such as avian influenza. Most federal veterinarians work in the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Defense (DOD), and Health and Human Services (HHS). However, there is a growing national shortage of veterinarians. GAO determined the extent to which (1) the federal government has assessed the sufficiency of its veterinarian workforce for routine activities, (2) the federal government has identified the veterinarian workforce needed during a catastrophic event, and (3) federal and state agencies encountered veterinarian workforce challenges during four recent zoonotic outbreaks. GAO surveyed 24 federal entities about their veterinarian workforce; analyzed agency workforce, pandemic, and other plans; and interviewed federal and state officials that responded to four recent zoonotic outbreaks."
Date: February 4, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biobased Products: Improved USDA Management Would Help Agencies Comply with Farm Bill Purchasing Requirements

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The federal government spends more than $230 billion annually for products and services to conduct its operations. Through its purchasing decisions, it has the opportunity to affirm its policies and goals, including those related to purchases of biobased products, as set out in the 2002 farm bill. A biobased product is a commercial or industrial product, other than food or feed that is composed of, in whole or part, biological products, renewable domestic agricultural materials, or forestry materials. GAO examined (1) actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other agencies have taken to carry out farm bill requirements for purchasing biobased products, (2) additional actions that may be needed to implement the requirements, and (3) views of stakeholders on the need for and costs of testing biobased products. GAO interviewed officials from USDA, major procuring agencies, testing entities, interested associations, and 15 manufacturers of biobased products."
Date: April 7, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Commitments by the European Union and the United States to Reduce Agricultural Export Subsidies

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the European Union's (EU) and the U.S.' agricultural export subsidy programs, focusing on: (1) EU and U.S. compliance with the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture commitments to reduce agricultural export subsidies; and (2) EU and U.S. plans regarding the future use of agricultural export subsidies."
Date: June 18, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Agriculture: Retail Food Prices Grew Faster Than the Prices Farmers Received for Agricultural Commodities, but Economic Research Has Not Established That Concentration Has Affected These Trends

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Over the past 25 years, farmers have received a decreasing share of the consumer food dollar. Some analysts and farm interest groups are concerned that this decline can be attributed, in part, to increasing concentration in agriculture. They believe that firms in highly concentrated markets may be able to exert market power by raising retail food prices while also depressing prices farmers receive for agricultural commodities. Others have argued that concentration has facilitated changes, such as technological innovations, that have improved productivity and served to lower food prices while increasing some farm incomes. The influence of any one factor, such as concentration, in determining agricultural commodity and retail food prices (commodity and food prices) varies and is difficult to isolate. Our prior work has noted that concentration may be one of a number of factors that can influence prices along the food marketing chain from farms to food processors, retail stores, and finally, consumers. To better understand the impact of concentration on commodity and food prices, economists have used a variety of analytical techniques and data sets. However, their work has been complicated by various issues, such as the difficulty in fully accounting for shifting consumer demand for food products, the introduction of new processing and distribution technologies, interactions between various levels of the food marketing chain, and the evolution of agricultural and other government policies. For example, some have suggested that changes in consumer preferences, such as demand for quick, easy-to-prepare processed foods, may explain much of current trends in the declining farm share of consumer spending. Similarly, as the dairy industry has become more concentrated, it also has been affected by changes in how milk markets function. The introduction of better refrigeration, pasteurization, and packaging technologies ...
Date: June 30, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety: FDA Has Begun to Take Action to Address Weaknesses in Food Safety Research, but Gaps Remain

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The United States faces challenges to ensuring food safety. First, imported food makes up a substantial and growing portion of the U.S. food supply, with 60 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables and 80 percent of seafood coming from across our borders. In recent years, there has been an increase in reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with both domestic and imported produce. Second, we are increasingly eating foods that are consumed raw and that have often been associated with foodborne illness outbreaks, including leafy greens such as spinach. Finally, shifting demographics means that more of the U.S. population is, and increasingly will be, susceptible to foodborne illnesses. The risk of severe and life-threatening conditions caused by foodborne illnesses is higher for older adults, young children, pregnant women, and immune-compromised individuals. In January 2007 GAO designated federal oversight of food safety as a high-risk area needing urgent attention and transformation because of the federal government's fragmented oversight of food safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of roughly 80 percent of the U.S. food supply--virtually all domestic and imported foods except for meat, poultry, and processed egg products--valued at a total of $466 billion annually, as of June 2008. In 2007 the FDA Science Board, an advisory board to the agency, reported that science at FDA suffers from serious deficiencies. In addition, our prior reviews of FDA's food safety programs have identified gaps in scientific information, limiting FDA's ability to oversee food labeling, fresh produce, and dietary supplements. Further, as part of our recent review on the effectiveness of the strategic planning and management efforts of FDA, 67 percent of FDA managers reported, in response to a GAO survey, that updated scientific ...
Date: April 23, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Crop Insurance: Opportunities Exist to Reduce the Costs of Administering the Program

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the federal crop insurance program with private insurance companies, which, in turn, work with insurance agencies that sell crop insurance. In 2008, according to USDA, the program cost $6.5 billion, including about $2.0 billion in allowances to insurance companies to cover their administrative and operating (A&O) expenses, such as salaries and sales commissions to agencies. GAO was asked to examine (1) the reasons for recent substantial increases in A&O allowances, and the purposes for which insurance companies use these allowances, and (2) insurance agencies' expenses for selling federal crop insurance policies, and questionable practices, if any, that agencies use to compete for business among farmers. GAO analyzed USDA and private insurers' data, among other things."
Date: April 29, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Beginning Farmers: Additional Steps Needed to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of USDA Assistance

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs have long supported beginning farmers. USDA generally defines a beginning farmer or rancher as one who has operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less--without regard for age--and who materially and substantially participates in its operation. USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) makes and guarantees loans for farmers who cannot obtain commercial credit, including beginning farmers. FSA also reserves funds for beginning farmers within its loan programs. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides higher conservation payments for beginning farmers through two of its conservation programs. GAO reviewed the key steps USDA has taken to help beginning farmers and assessed the department's actions to measure the effectiveness of these steps.."
Date: September 18, 2007
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Crop Insurance: Additional Actions Could Further Improve Program's Financial Soundness

Description: A statement of record issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) crop insurance program, focusing on whether USDA: (1) has set adequate insurance rates to achieve the legislative requirement of actuarial soundness; (2) appropriately reimburses participating crop insurance companies for their administrative costs; and (3) has established methodologies in the revenue insurance plans that set sound premium rates."
Date: March 17, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Irradiation: FDA Could Improve Its Documentation and Communication of Key Decisions on Food Irradiation Petitions

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria cause an estimated 14 million cases of foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in about 60,000 hospitalizations and 1,800 deaths. Foodborne illness symptoms can range from mild gastroenteritis to life-threatening renal syndromes. The populations most susceptible to the more serious symptoms include very young children, individuals 60 years and older, pregnant women, and people who have a weakened immune system. In 2007, about 20 to 25 percent of the U.S. population was in this high-risk category. Moreover, consumers' vulnerability to foodborne illness is increasing as a result of changes in demographics, among other things. For example, older Americans will make up an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2015. The pathogens that account for much of the most severe foodborne illness can be greatly reduced by subjecting food to ionizing radiation, also known as food irradiation. Many experts believe that irradiation can be effectively incorporated into an establishment's food safety program to further ensure the safety of the food against pathogens. Irradiation can also be used as a phytosanitary treatment where it is applied at low doses to safeguard natural resources by replacing fumigation or other chemical treatments to eliminate particular plant pests from fruits and vegetables imported into the United States. This report responds to Congressional request for information on food irradiation. Our objectives were to determine (1) how Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) current labeling requirements for irradiated food products compare with the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) labeling requirements and how FDA's proposed changes to its requirements might impact the amount of food that is irradiated and (2) the extent to ...
Date: February 16, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Farm Programs: Direct Payments Should Be Reconsidered

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "From 2003 through 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made more than $46 billion in direct payments to farmers and other producers. These producers planted varying percentages of acres that qualified for payments based on their historical planting yields and designated payment rates (qualifying acres). Cumulatively, USDA paid $10.6 billion—almost one-fourth of total direct payments made from 2003 through 2011—to producers who did not, in a given year, grow the crop associated with their qualifying acres, which they are allowed to do. About 2,300 farms (0.15 percent of farms receiving direct payments) reported all their land as “fallow,” and producers did not plant any crops on this land for each year for the last 5 years, from 2007 through 2011; in 2011, these producers received almost $3 million in direct payments."
Date: July 3, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Crop Insurance: Actions Needed to Reduce Program's Vulnerability to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal crop insurance protects producers against losses from natural disasters. In 2004, the crop insurance program provided $47 billion in coverage, at a cost of $3.6 billion, including an estimated $160 million in losses from fraud and abuse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) administers this program with private insurers. The Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (ARPA) provided new tools to monitor and control abuses, such as having USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) conduct field inspections. GAO assessed, among other things, the (1) effectiveness of USDA's processes to address program fraud and abuse and (2) extent to which the program's design makes it vulnerable to abuse."
Date: September 30, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food and Commodities: Federal Purchases and Major Regulations That Potentially Affect Prices Paid

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the federal government's food and commodity purchases, focusing on: (1) details about federal agencies' purchases of food and agricultural commodities from fiscal year (FY) 1997 through FY 1999; and (2) information on major regulations that may affect the prices paid by these agencies for these products."
Date: June 15, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety: FDA's Imported Seafood Safety Program Shows Some Progress, but Further Improvements Are Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "More than 80 percent of the seafood that Americans consume is imported. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that imported seafood is safe and produced under sanitation and safety systems comparable to those of the United States. Since GAO reported in 2001 that FDA's seafood inspection program did not sufficiently protect consumers, additional concerns have arisen about imported seafood containing banned substances, such as certain antibiotics. In this review, GAO was asked to evaluate (1) FDA's progress in implementing the recommendations in the 2001 report and (2) other options to enhance FDA's oversight."
Date: January 30, 2004
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Farm Programs: Changes Are Needed to Eligibility Requirements for Being Actively Involved in Farming

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Compliance reviews conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) to determine if farming operation members (individuals and entities) meet the payment requirements for being actively engaged in farming are hindered by broad and subjective requirements and difficulty in verifying individuals' evidence of claimed contributions. To be actively engaged in farming, an individual is to make significant contributions to that operation in personal labor or active personal management (or both). However, the definition of active personal management in FSA regulations is broad and can be satisfied by an individual performing at least one of eight services representing categories such as supervision of activities necessary in the farming operation. Also, FSA regulations allow farming operation members to make contributions of management without visiting the operation, enabling individuals who live significant distances from an operation to claim such contributions. An FSA state official said that the agency finds problems with management contributions more often for those who live significant distances from an operation. FSA officials have also noted that the requirements for what constitutes a management contribution are subjective. FSA's handbook states that it is difficult to measure what constitutes a management contribution and that such a contribution must be critical to the profitability of a farming operation. FSA officials said that making such a determination is difficult and subject to interpretation. Also, officials from FSA headquarters and state offices GAO visited said that verifying evidence of management contributions is challenging, in part due to the extent to which compliance reviews must rely on interviews with payment recipients. FSA recognizes that it has the authority to change the definition of what constitutes a significant contribution of management in its regulations. However, as FSA stated in ...
Date: September 26, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Agricultural Research: USDA's Response to Recommendations to Strengthen the Agricultural Research Service's Programs and Facilities

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) task force's recommendations to strengthen the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) programs and facilities, focusing on: (1) the actions ARS has taken to close and consolidate laboratories; (2) the task force report's major recommendations designed to, among other things, improve operational efficiencies; and (3) ARS' reaction to the task force report."
Date: February 15, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Food Safety: FDA Should Strengthen Its Oversight of Food Ingredients Determined to Be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for ensuring the safety of most of the U.S. food supply, is not required to review substances, such as spices and preservatives, added to food that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for their intended use. Currently, companies may determine a substance is GRAS without FDA's approval or knowledge. However, a few substances previously considered GRAS have later been banned; and concerns have been raised about the safety of other GRAS substances, including those containing engineered nanomaterials, materials manufactured at a tiny scale to take advantage of novel properties. GAO was asked to review the extent to which (1) FDA's oversight of new GRAS determinations helps ensure the safety of these substances, (2) FDA ensures the continued safety of current GRAS substances, and (3) FDA's approach to regulating engineered nanomaterials in GRAS substances helps ensure the safety of the food supply. GAO reviewed FDA data on GRAS substances and interviewed a range of stakeholders, among other things."
Date: February 3, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mad Cow Disease: An Evaluation of a Small Feed Testing Program FDA Implemented in 2003 With Recommendations for Making the Program a Better Oversight Tool

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of most proteins derived from mammals (referred to as prohibited material) in feed intended for cattle and other ruminants. The feed-ban rule is one of the primary actions taken by the federal government to protect U.S. cattle from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, which is believed to be spread through feed that contains malformed protein found in certain tissue--particularly brain and central nervous system tissue--of BSE-infected animals. Earlier this year, mad cow disease was found for the first time in a 12-year old animal born and raised in the United States. In January 2002, we reported on the effectiveness of federal actions to prevent the introduction and spread of BSE in the United States and identified a number of areas where improvements were needed to strengthen FDA's oversight of firms in the feed industry. In February 2005, we issued a follow-up report that examined the effectiveness of FDA's actions since the 2002 report to ensure industry compliance with the feed-ban rule and protect U.S. cattle from BSE. Our report concluded that while FDA has taken a number of positive steps, its processes still have room for improvement. Our February 2005 report also noted that FDA had begun a small, discrete feed testing program in August 2003. We reported that we would provide information on this new feed testing program, which FDA described as a unique effort, once FDA provided us with data on the feed tests. FDA later gave us the information we required to examine those feed testing activities. Accordingly, this report assesses FDA's small feed testing program and examines the extent to which this feed testing program helps FDA better ...
Date: October 11, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department