28 February 1997

Leak reveals Germanys BSE control failings

INSPECTIONS of German controls to detect and reduce the risk of BSE spreading have revealed failings in feed mills and inadequate surveillance in abattoirs, according to a leaked report by the European Commission.

The findings, due to be discussed by the EU Commissions standing veterinary committee in March, will prove embarrassing to Germany, which has criticised the UK governments monitoring of meat and bonemeal and specified bovine offal regulations.

A commission spokesman said responses from the federal states (landers) concerning surveillance and detection of BSE in abattoirs had not satisfied investigators.

The commission also expressed its concern about the chance of meat and bonemeal entering ruminant feed. At present, the Germans feed MBM to pigs and poultry, but the commission was worried about this getting back into the livestock chain. Evidence of cross-contamination of feed was found in feed mills, and two plants failed to reach EC standards.

The investigation, which looked at the detection of BSE in abattoirs through sampling of brains, national regulations to stop meat and bonemeal entering the ruminant chain and cross-contamination of feed mills, found defects in most member states.

The leak follows the announcement last week that the commission has slapped a ban on Irish meat and bonemeal exports, worth £2m a year, because the Republic failed to satisfy the commission.

A German Agriculture spokes-man said bilateral discussions over the commissions investigation were taking place with the commission. Proposals to ban the feeding of meat and bonemeal to all animals could be discussed by the German parliament in September. &#42

Tony McDougal