27 October 1999
French examined only 28 cattle in BSE check

FRENCH health officials in the Mayenne department, western France, have checked just 28 out of 700,000 cows for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the past ten years

Alain Charon, director of the veterinary service, said that five tests had proved positive, the fifth a week ago.

The admission will fuel suspicion that the prevalence of BSE in France is more prevalent than statistics indicate.

Last weeks case was only the seventy-first since 1990, and the twenty-second since 1 January, according to French ministry of agriculture figures.

There are 1,000 cases of BSE which have been diagnosed in the UK this year.

British farms are the subject of regular spot checks. There is no similar tight regulation taking place in France.