16 January 2001
Extra UK cattle tested for BSE

By FWi staff

THOUSANDS of extra British cattle are being tested for BSE as part of an EU-wide scheme, reports The Independent.

Some 6500 animals that were not eligible for government aid to destroy them would be tested.

The cattle were those over 30 months old that died on farms or in transit, or were killed on farms.

Farm minister Nick Brown said Britain was playing its part in the EU-wide study following reports of increasing cases of BSE on the Continent.

Under existing BSE controls almost all cattle aged over 30 months are prohibited from entering the food chain in Britain.

Meanwhile, Brussels has played down fears in Germany that it could be on the brink of a “British-style” BSE epidemic, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The European Commission found itself at the heart of renewed panic because of a letter it sent to the German government.

It expressed concern at the death of a 28-month-old cow, saying such young cases had only been found in the UK “when the incidence of BSE was rising to epidemic proportions”.

But a commission spokeswoman said the new cases were of a different order from the British epidemic, when meat and bonemeal were fed on an industrial scale.

Germanys new consumer protection minister has refused to rule out the possibility that milk could harbour BSE, reports the Financial Times.

Renate Künast, who was appointed last week, admitted there was “absolutely no evidence” that milk could be affected by BSE.

But she added: “Nobody can rule it out”. In general, there was “too little scientific evidence”.

Ms Künast, has been placed in charge of a super-ministry which includes farm policy.

Germany hopes this will distance her from predecessors who were deemed to be too pro-farming at the expense of consumers.

Earlier in the week, the British Food Standards Agency announced that it is to investigate if BSE is being passed on to humans through cows milk.

In another development, it has emerged that Italys first suspected case of BSE was destined for a McDonalds restaurant, reportsThe Independent.

There was another case of BSE in Italy in 1994 but the cow had been imported from the UK.