30 August 2000
BSE fears boost calls to keep controls
By FWi staff
CALLS have intensified for BSE control measures to be maintained following research suggesting that the disease can exist in animals other than cattle.
The Food Standards Agency will take the controversial findings into account in its ongoing review of BSE controls, due to be concluded this autumn.
The agency is considering whether changes to the Over Thirty Month Scheme and legislation governing specified risk material and animal feed are needed.
An agency spokeswoman indicated that the research was unlikely to lead to a tightening of the rules. But it appears that existing controls will be maintained.
“The control measures already in place take into account the possible existence of sub-clinical BSE in cattle and other animals,” she said.
Agency officials have asked the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) to consider the findings at its next meeting on 29 September.
Peter Smith, SEACs acting chairman, has said he is unclear about whether the research should be considered with respect to human or animal health.
Welsh Assembly member and livestock farmer Glyn Davies said the research reinforced the opinion that anti-BSE controls should not be relaxed.
“The research makes it clear that we still do not know enough about BSE to relax any of the controls currently in place.”
That view was backed by the Consumers Association, one of the bodies which the Food Standards Agency will consult before measures can be loosened.
A spokesman for the association said: “The controls should not be relaxed.”
Livestock farmers and scientists have both criticised media coverage of the experiments since they were reported on Tuesday (29 August).
- Scientists criticise BSE coverage, FWi, 30 August 2000
- BSE fears: What the papers say, FWi, 29 August 2000
- NBA sceptical about new BSE fears, FWi, 29 August 2000