Canada and the US have both announced new safeguards against the spread of BSE, or mad cow disease, in the last few days.

The US Department of Agriculture said the Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of certain cattle-derived materials from human food, including dietary supplements, and cosmetics. This includes specified risk material, such as the brain, skull, eyes and spinal cord of cattle aged 30 months or older, which is thought to carry concentrations of the infectious agent for BSE, material from non-ambulatory cattle, the small intestine of all cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed for human consumption, and mechanically separated beef.

Consumption of products contaminated with the infectious agent that causes BSE in cattle is believed to be the likely cause of the human form of the disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

The USDA also said the FDA had reached a preliminary conclusion that it should propose to remove specified risk material from all animal feed and is working on a proposal to accomplish this goal.

Meanwhile, the government of Canada has announced it will introduce new animal feed restrictions to further strengthen Canada's safeguards against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The government said it intends to require the removal of bovine specified risk material from the animal feed chain.