2 March 2000
‘BSE risk in German sausage’

GERMAN sausage sold as free of unwanted offal has been shown by a new test to contain brain tissue.

Scientists in Germany discovered that up to 15% of some varieties of wurst contained undeclared brain material, reports New Scientist magazine.

Countries which recognise that their cattle may have BSE destroy brain and spinal cords from slaughtered animals, as these are the most infectious parts.

While Germany says it has no cases of BSE, there are doubts about this claim.

There are also concerns that imported source meat from countries with BSE – such as France or Switzerland – could have brain in it, even though this would be illegal. New Scientist reporter Debora MacKenzie told the Radio 4 Farming Today programme there had been no way to check whether specified offal bans were being strictly enforced, until this test was developed.

Ms MacKenzie rejected Germanys claims to be BSE-free.

She said: “There is a bit of BSE in the cattle population that either has been covered-up or it had gone undetected.

“Germany imported a lot of British cattle and meat and bonemeal during the 1980s, it cant have disappeared. There must be some infected cattle out there.”

She said a low incidence of the disease may make it difficult to detect.

Earlier this week, the first native-born BSE case in Denmark was announced.

The Danish government admitted it did not follow EU regulations to prevent BSE.

It only introduced specified risk material measures in its abattoirs on Tuesday (29 February).

On Wednesday (01 March) the British ministry of agriculture announced that a piece of spinal cord was discovered hanging from a beef carcass which had been given a health marking in an abattoir.