French press on with tests
BRITAIN is not the only European country where fears of BSE have once again been raised. More cases of the disease are emerging in France as the government pushes ahead with its programme of spot checks.
Launched at the beginning of June, the French tests for sub-clinical BSE are carried out on fallen stock on farms in areas most affected by the disease. So far the government has tested over 4500 samples out of 48,000 planned for the year.
Using the Swiss-developed Prionics system, the French government announced another three cases, bringing to seven the total number so far picked up. The animals concerned were born between October 1993 and July 1994 in separate herds in three regions of north-west France. The herds of 367, 83 and 80 cows were all destroyed in accordance with standard procedure.
A further BSE case was confirmed by the French authorities this week under conventional reporting procedures, for cattle showing full symptoms of the disease at death. The animal, from lAin, was destroyed along with the 208 others in its herd.
This brings the total number of officially recognised casualties in France this year to 41, well ahead of the 30 recorded for the whole of 1999. The latest discoveries add credence to allegations of widespread under-reporting of the disease in France made by Brussels earlier this year. *