BSE-in-sheep scare hits Welsh

22 November 2000

BSE-in-sheep scare hits Welsh

By FWi staff

WELSH lamb producers are being hit by a slump in sales in southern Europe following fears that sheep may have BSE.

Don Thomas, managing director of Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions says exports started to slow down two weeks ago.

This follows announcements made about the possible theoretical risk of BSE in sheep.

Wales has developed important markets for lighter weight lamb in Southern Europe, Mr Thomas told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

He speculated that consumers In Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain may not fully understand the situation.

In contrast, consumers in northern Europe seemed more “pragmatic” about the fear of BSE in sheep as sales had not slumped there.

“Weve tried to point out to southern Europe importers that we do have the most regulated red meat-producing system in the world,” said Mr Thomas.

“And we have a very good traceability system and virtually ensure the stock is traced back to the farm of origin.”

Mr Thomas said his group did not wish to get involved in the scientific debate surrounding BSE in sheep.

“Until that risk is proven, it remains a theoretical one,” he said.

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