uEU FOOD safety commissioner, David Byrne, this week praised France for bringing forward voluntary testing of 40,000 cattle for BSE and urged other member states to follow suit. Paris announced last weekend that its programme will be up and running by early May, following a tender. Meanwhile, Brussels is due to issue proposals for EU-wide testing next week, though it will not take effect until the end of the year.
uAGRICULTURAL production continues to concentrate into fewer hands throughout Europe, according to a new study from Eurostat, with two thirds of output controlled by just 10% of holdings. Over the past 30 years, the six founder members of the EU have seen farm numbers drop 42%, while average farm size increased by 70%. All countries have seen an increase in the number of units over 50ha, except the UK.
uGERMAN chemicals giant BASF has agreed to pay around US$3.8bn (£2.4bn) for Cyanamid, the agrochemicals division of American Home Products. BASF says the move will more than double its annual crop protection sales – around $1.9bn in 1999 – to become one of the worlds leading crop protection manufacturers. BASF believes the acquisition will strengthen its product portfolio, including the addition of a proven insecticides. Fifteen active ingredients under development are expected to be launched in 2006. BASF estimates combined peak annual sales of $2bn. *