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Keeping Mad Cow Out of Cosmetics

The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association says it is unlikely the infection can be contracted from beauty products.

"This is someone with a wild imagination who wants zero risk," said Gerald N. McEwen Jr., vice president of science for the cosmetic trade group. "It isn't that easy to transmit that stuff. And find a product that has brain extract in it."

_____Mad Cow Disease_____
Blood Transfusion Linked to 2nd Human Case of Mad Cow (The Washington Post, Aug 6, 2004)
Errors Found in USDA Mad Cow Identification (The Washington Post, Jul 15, 2004)
USDA's Mad Cow Detection Challenged (The Washington Post, Jul 14, 2004)
FDA Announces Prohibitions on Some Cattle Parts (The Washington Post, Jul 10, 2004)
USDA Expands Mad Cow Inquiry (The Washington Post, Jul 3, 2004)
Special Report
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_____Previous Columns_____
USDA Rule on Pallets and Pests Leaves Some Fuming (The Washington Post, Oct 12, 2004)
OSHA Withdraws More Rules Than It Makes, Reviews Find (The Washington Post, Oct 5, 2004)
Park Service Retiree Group Wades Into Political Waters (The Washington Post, Sep 28, 2004)
Feud Ferments Between Soy Sauce Makers (The Washington Post, Sep 21, 2004)
More past columns
_____Regulations on the Web_____
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OMB Watch is a public interest group that monitors the Office of Management and Budget.
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Sausage makers and the companies that supply their casings may be the hardest hit by the rule.

Under the rules at FDA and USDA, the small intestine, which is the material used to make natural sausage casings, is considered a risk material. Sausage makers are barred from importing, or acquiring domestically, intestines that were removed from cattle after Jan. 12, shortly after the diseased cow was discovered.

This means the makers of kielbasa, knockwurst, blood sausage, kishka and other Old World favorites are about to run out of casings -- even though the North American Natural Casing Association and its international counterpart have been pleading with regulators and the White House to change the rule.

The American Meat Institute, which represents meat and poultry processors, said the small intestine is a significant export product for slaughterers, especially to Japan. "For specialty sausage makers, it's a big item," said James H. Hodges, president of the group's research foundation. He said the one part of the small intestine that poses some risk of infection is routinely removed and discarded.

The prohibition has caused some sausage makers to stop production, share scarce casings with competitors, or find alternatives, according to Shirley A. Coffield, legal counsel for the North American Natural Casing Association. Hog and sheep casings are not the answer for bigger, heavier sausages like blood sausage.

"A lot of [makers] . . . want to remain consistent. Our membership prides itself on the traditional products," said Jay Wenther, assistant executive director of the American Association of Meat Processors, of Elizabethtown, Pa., which represents small processors.

Processors and casing makers want the FDA to limit removal to the one troublesome part or allow exports from BSE-free countries such as Brazil and Argentina.

"We are really, really upset," Coffield said. "We have $190 million worth of sausage in beef casings and thousands of companies are affected. If it's another year [of this], our people are out of business."


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