23 September 1998
Portugal risks beef export ban

EUROPEAN UNION officials could take action over a sudden surge in the cases of mad-cow disease in Portugal and evidence of poor controls on animal feed.

EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler said a complete export ban, similar to the one in Britain in1996, could not be ruled out.

Portugal has had 141 cases of mad-cow disease, or BSE , with more than 50 this year.

The EU is particularly worried about the failure to enforce a ban on meat and bone meal in cattle feed. This was responsible for spreading the epidemic in Britain where there have been around 170,000 cases.

According to the latest figures from the European Commission, Ireland has had 258 cases of BSE, France 40, Belgium 5, Holland 2 and Luxembourg 1.