5 April 2000
EU gathers world BSE numbers

THE European Union has been investigating BSE in cattle from 12 countries outside its 15 member states.

Its scientific steering group has gathered information from countries including the USA, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.

A report on the geographical status of BSE is currently being drawn up.

Philip Whitehead, leader of the Labour group in the European Parliament, said imports could be refused from the countries even if they didnt test for BSE.

“If we felt that there was a risk with imported beef or any other livestock product, from outside the EU, that would be a valid reason to say we couldnt allow it in” he told the Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

“You cant say to the population of Europe that theyll have to accept a greater degree of risk from imported foodstuffs than we expect them to have from food produced in Europe.”

Mr Whitehead called for a worldwide BSE test to establish the scale of the risk from the disease.