The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has proposed amendments to federal regulations that are aimed at strengthen existing animal feed controls.

The amendments are intended to further protect Canadian cattle from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.

The proposed amendments prohibit the use of specified risk material (SRM) in animal feeds, including pet food. SRM are cattle tissues that may contain the infectious agent that causes BSE. The Canadian government already requires the removal of SRM from the human food supply.

"As a precautionary measure, the government implemented a feed ban in 1997 prohibiting the feeding of ruminant animals with most mammalian proteins. Preventing SRM from entering the feed production chain enhances the existing feed ban by diminishing the effects of potential cross-contamination of animal feeds that could occur as feed is produced and distributed, as well as any inappropriate on-farm use," the CFIA said.

The amendments also prohibit the use of SRM in fertilisers in order to prevent the potential accidental or intentional misuse of fertilisers as feed.