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Written by Andrew Martin   

Monday, 27 March 2006


A short notice from the United States Department of Agriculture has created

a stir-and perhaps a wave of nausea-among the nation’s meat inspectors.


Called “FSIS NOTICE 15-06: Use of Non-Amenable Animal Tissue in Inspected

Products,” the notice essentially says that animals that you wouldn’t

normally associate with hamburgers can be “included in amenable meat or

poultry products produced in official establishments.”


In other words, anything from deer to dog meat can be ground into hamburger,

as long as it meets state regulations, which inspectors say tend to be

looser than the federal government’s.


“Suffice it to say, this is bizarre to inspectors in the field,” said Trent

Berhow, president of the Midwest Council of Food Inspectors locals, who

lives in Iowa. “To read this, it looks to us that any product that is

slaughtered under state inspection requirements can be co-mingled with

federally inspected products.


“Could you bring roadkill in?” he asked. “I don’t know how to read this. I

don’t think you would get (the USDA) to say we are talking about roadkill



Steven Cohen, a spokesman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service,

said the notice was simply clarifying previous policies that had conflicted

with each other. The bottom line, Cohen said, is that any kind of animal

meat can be used with USDA inspected meat as long as its not adulterated.


For instance, he said, he said buffalo meat could be blended with ground

beef, though he noted that the types of meat would have be listed as part of

the ingredients on the label. Could dog meat be blended with ground beef?


“I don’t believe that it is illegal, but there is no place that is producing

dog meat,” Cohen said, adding that the regulation fits a “very limited

circumstance. “I don’t think there’s anyone who is doing this on a

commercial basis.”


But roadkill wouldn’t qualify because, since the animal wasn’t slaughtered,

it would be considered adulterated, he said.


Non-amenable animal tissue, as defined in the notice, is any tissue from

animals not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and

the Poultry Products Inspection Act. It includes edible tissue from exotic

animals, rabbits, migratory birds and other animals not under the scope of

USDA inspection, like alligator and kangaroo.


News of the notice swept through the community of meat inspectors after one

of them sent an email to USDA’s technical support center asking for

clarification. In response to a question, Kris Kenne, a USDA staff officer,

said someone could mix deer meat with pork and sell deer dogs with a USDA

logo as long as the ingredients were labeled and state law allowed it.


Does this also mean that a slaughtered cat or dog can be added to sausage,

Kenne was asked?


“Yes, that is a possibility should one wish to pursue to use them as an

ingredient in the product. Public perception may not be so acceptable of the

practice though,” Kenne responded.


Kenne was not at his office on Friday and could not be reached for comment.




The Food Safety and Inspection Service, as of March 3rd, 2006, is not

inspecting non-amenable animal tissue.  This means tissue from certain

animals are not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act

and the Poultry Products Inspection Act.


To make this as clear as possible, the edible part of certain animals will

not be inspected.  Animals such as:

1) Exotic animals (reindeer, elk, deer, antelope, water buffalo, or bison)

or hybrid animals showing predominated characteristics of non-amenable

animal (e.g., catalo).  Catalo is tender meat produced by cross breeding

domestic cattle with American buffalo.


2) Rabbits.


3) Migratory water fowl or game birds.


4) Other animals not under the scope of FSIS’ voluntary inspection, e. g.,

alligator and kangaroo.


Non-amenable meats were inspected before this and then were mixed with

inspected regular poultry or meat.  Now non-amenable foods, animal tissue,

which are no longer inspected, are mixed with inspected poultry, meat and

chicken.  This is playing Russian roulette with your health.


It’s as simple as this.  Any establishment many be selling or serving you

this food which was not inspected and mixed with regular meat or poultry.

The FMIA and the PPIA, which are ‘protectors’ of our meat and poultry, are

putting us in greater danger than merely exposure to bacterial and virus



With the Bird Flu expected to hit our area in July we might just have been

placed in a more dangerous position.  Eating foods which might be carrying

the virus for Bird Flu would be very dangerous. 


Scientists are still unsure how many different ways Bird Flu can be

transferred to humans.  We don’t need another avenue left wide open to be

attacked by any carrier of the deadly bird flu virus.  Please contact your

Congressman to change FSIS notice 15-06 as quickly as possible.


Everyone should be concerned for their family and themselves.  We should be

warned of any major change in the handling of our meat and poultry supply.


For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

Sign our petition here:


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