Artificial colostrum poses no EBL risk, says DEFRA

DEFRA has reassured farmers there is no risk of introducing EBL (Enzootic Bovine Leukosis) into their herds via artificial colostrum.

A spokesman said that even when EBL antibodies were identified in milk replacer, there was no risk of infection.

“Imported pre-packaged colostrum is spray-dried and heat treated to inactivate the virus. Antibodies are not the virus itself, so identifying EBL antibodies in artificial colostrum does not mean there is a chance of infection.”

Earlier this year a calf tested positive for EBL after receiving Canadian colostrum powder containing EBL antibodies.

There have been no cases of EBL in the UK since 1996 and since 1999, the UK has been classified as officially EBL-free by the European Union.

New EU regulation, will ensure all colostrums must be imported from EBL-free sources. When these come into force they will ensure farmers will be able to feed calves without the risk of them testing positive in surveillance blood tests.