3 January 2001
BSE testing spreads across EU

By FWi staff

TESTS for BSE in cattle are gradually gaining momentum across the EU, with France and Ireland leading the way.

New rules from January 1 prevent over-30-month cattle getting into the food chain unless they have tested negative for BSE.

This does not affect the UK directly as over-30-month cattle are banned under BSE controls.

In the other member states, cattle that have not been tested will enter the “purchase for destruction scheme” until June 30, 2001.

On July 1, compulsory testing of all EU cattle over thirty months will be introduced, but some states are already trying to establish routine testing

Ireland expects to have it up and running nationally within days and in France a few laboratories, notably in the la Manche and lOrne departments have started.

But most labs in Brittany, Normandy, and the Loire regions, those areas most affected by BSE, will not be ready until February.

Portugal intends to introduce compulsory testing from April 1, while Spain is already testing over-20-month imported cattle from “high risk” BSE countries.

These include such as Ireland, France and Switzerland.

Testing of “at risk” over-30-month cattle — those subject to emergency slaughter, plus a some of those which died on farms — has been compulsory in the EU since Monday (Jan 1).

Some countries, including France and Germany, have been doing this for some time, resulting in an increase in BSE cases found in those countries.