12 November 2001
Anderson: More BSE tests needed

By FWi staff

UNTIL the UK starts testing more cattle for BSE, it will be unable to accurately assess the extent of the disease, a leading scientist has warned.

Professor Roy Anderson of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee says Britain must come into line with other European countries.

Almost one million animals are tested by both France and Germany every year, but in Britain the figure is around 10,000.

Most of the UK tests are carried out on older animals or those that die from disease or through accidents.

These categories contain animals which could be more susceptible to BSE and could distort figures, claims Prof Anderson.

To get a more accurate picture, tests must be carried out as a matter of routine, says the advisor to the government.

Earlier this month, Prof Anderson warned that BSE may be spreading undetected across the Channel because of unreliable tests at European abattoirs.

At the beginning of the year, BSE tests for all cattle aged over 30 months became compulsory throughout the EU.

As part of its own BSE controls the UK had already banned most older cattle from the food chain.