10 January 2001
Banned feed allowed into Britain

By FWi staff

MEAT and bonemeal — the feed at the centre of the BSE crisis — can still be brought into Britain, reports the Daily Express.

Despite a four-year ban on its use in Britain, a loophole makes it legal to import, although not to sell MBM feed.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown made this admission in a letter to shadow farm minister Tim Yeo.

Mr Yeo said: It is possible that this MBM animal feed could be imported cheaply and sold on without farmers being told what it is.

MBM can be used as garden fertiliser and in pet food if it comes from livestock certified fit for human consumption.

It is illegal to possess mammal MBM on livestock where it could come into contact with livestock feed.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that increased EU testing of cattle over thirty months old for BSE has produced more cases than expected.

In Belgium the federal agency for food safety has reported 14 suspected cases of BSE in 2,700 animals tested — five times the expected rate.

In France testing uncovered a case in an animal born after 1996, when earlier controls had been introduced.

Severe backlogs have also built up with Italian farmers saying that 10,000-12,000 animals are still awaiting the test which was introduced on January 1.

Only the Netherlands had good news, says the FT, reporting that all tests carried out since January 1 had been negative.