Have you herd the moos? FDA re-opens comment on cow intestines in cosmetics

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Have you herd the moos? FDA re-opens comment on cow intestines in cosmetics

Related tags: Interim final rule, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

The Food and Drug Administration has reopened the public comment period on a 2005 directive allowing certain previously prohibited cattle parts to be used in cosmetics.

Earlier this month the Administration announced that it was taking a new look at regulations that will indicate which parts of a cow’s insides can be included in cosmetics.

In 2004, the FDA issued a rule prohibiting certain cattle parts — including small intestines — from entering food for human consumption or cosmetics. The regulations were meant to protect the public from the deadly disease. But in 2005, the agency amended the rule to allow small intestines, as long as a part called the distal ileum was removed.

The interim final rule protects consumers from exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by prohibiting the use of certain cattle parts in human food, including dietary supplements, and cosmetics,​” a statement on the FDA website outlined.

A move to ensure safety...

The decision to reopen the directive comes after recent research found portions of a cow’s intestines that were previously thought to be immune from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, as showing signs of “infectivity​.”

However, at this time the FDA believes that the levels of infectivity are so low that they do not pose a significant health risk to humans or ruminants in the US. And does not believe there would be a measurable reduction in the risk from BSE by removing additional parts of the cattle small intestine and, as such, would be appropriate to finalize the interim final rule without changing any provisions related to the small intestine.

Nonetheless, it is reopening the comment period to give interested parties an opportunity to comment on the studies and on FDA’s tentative conclusion.

Now, “We want to hear from other people,” says spokesperson Sebastian Cianci. “From what we’re seeing, we’ve concluded that there wouldn’t be a measurable reduction of risk from removing other parts. However, we want other people to weigh in before a final determination is made​.”

In reaching its conclusion, the FDA says it has also considered a recent opinion from the European Union Food Safety Authority on the risk of BSE from parts of the small intestine other than the distal ileum. A look at the opinion handed down from EFSA’s Panel on Biological Hazards shows that the group was unable to draw a conclusion about the safety of other parts of a cow’s intestine.

The reopened comment period runs for another 36 days and can be seen here​.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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