29 March 2000
EU to endorse compulsory BSE tests

By FWi staff

EUROPEAN commissioners meeting in Brussels are expected to endorse new rules for the compulsory testing of BSE across Europe.

The scheme is set to be brought forward on Wednesday (29 March) in line with a commitment by the commission made in a white paper on food safety.

In an attempt to assess the real scale of BSE, it will force all member states to conduct random BSE tests focusing on cattle which die for no apparent reason.

Last week, David Byrne, the European Commissioner for health and consumer protection, said he was strongly committed to BSE testing.

“I would therefore urge Member States to accept this proposal so that [the programme] can come into effect at the end of this year,” he said.

The testing scheme will be targeted at older cattle which die in abnormal circumstances in a bid to understand how the disease is spread.

Mr Byrne said he welcomed an Frances announcement to introduce its own national BSE testing programme for cattle.

Testing for BSE will be an important measure to identify the scale of the disease in Europe, he added.

Other member states could also consider the introduction of national testing programmes independently of the Commissions proposal, said Mr Byrne.