29 September 2000

BSE blood link may stem from MAFFblunder

A MAFF blunder may be responsible for an article appearing in the Sunday Times that suggested recent suspected cases of BSE were linked to cows being fed blood.

The article claimed MAFF figures showed that 22,000t of cow material, including blood, gelatin and tallow, were fed to cows each year.

It suggested this could be the cause of the BSE case in an animal born since the ban on mammalian meat and bonemeal was introduced on Aug 1 1996. The newspaper also suggested that a further seven unconfirmed cases could be linked.

But a MAFF spokesperson disputed the claims, saying: "We know 3000t/year of dried blood product is produced from the UK rendering industry, but this is not the same as it being fed to cattle.

"We are investigating what information we supplied to the Sunday Times some months ago. If we discover that it has reported inaccurately, we can complain."

But a spokesperson for the UK Renderers Association insisted that blood is not used in UK animal feed.

"Blood from UK abattoirs is spread on land, used in horticulture, exported or incinerated."

The report is yet another blow to farmers, retailers and animal feed companies who have worked hard to ensure UK food products are traceable, says Pamela Mounter of UKASTA.

"Feed companies dont use blood in animal feed in the UK. Major retailers simply wont have it.

"When this kind of report appears, it is sad for UK farmers, feed companies and retailers." &#42