Canada may change its cattle feed policies in order to reduce the risk of mad cow disease, following recommendations from a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation directive earlier this month.

The UN named Canada as being at risk because it imports live cattle and parts for feed from countries that have cases of mad cows disease. Changes to the regulation would be a total ban on feeding animal parts to other animals.

Also, materials such as spinal cord, brains and intestines may be banned from the animal and human food chain. Currently, Canadian policy prohibits feeding parts from ruminants to other ruminants however feeding ruminants to non-ruminants is permitted.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent