30 July 1997
EU ratifies sheep and cattle SRM ban

By Amanda Cheesley in Brussels

EUROPEAN Union rules on removing specified risk materials (SRMs) from sheep and cattle at slaughter were officially approved by the EU Commission today.

The rules will come into force at the start of next year.

Eight out of the 15 member states backed the plans in Brussels last week, paving the way for the commission to introduce the ban. The ban requires abattoirs to remove the heads of sheep and cattle, including the brain and eyes, the tonsils and spinal cord of cattle, sheep and goats aged over 12 months, as well as the spleen of all sheep and goats.

EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler stressed that the new rules would ensure that human and animal health would be fully protected from any possible risk of BSE. He added that the cost of applying these measures was totally insignificant when compared to the losses incurred by the beef industry when consumers lost confidence in beef due to the BSE scare.