9 February 2000
Byrne plans Europe-wide BSE tests

By FWi staff

A COMPULSORY random test for BSE could be introduced throughout the European Union, if a new plan gets the go ahead.

European Consumer Affairs Commissioner David Byrne would like to see the test introduced to see if on fallen stock harbour the disease.

A spokeswoman for Mr Byrne told the Radio 4 Farming Today programme that the idea was still being worked on, and there were no proposals on the table yet.

She said the tests would allow the European Commission to form a better picture of the scale of BSE and construct a better monitoring system.

The idea for a random compulsory BSE test idea would not be put forward until March, and even then many observers predict a tortuous route through the EC.

Oppositon could come from vets who feel the three current tests are inaccurate, and member states which claim to be BSE-free might not want to jeopardise that status.

A report by European vets has discovered meat and bonemeal was still finding its way into cattle feed in France. MBM is banned in cattle feed in Europe.

It is generally accepted that BSE is transmitted through eating infected foodstuffs.