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MEPs express concerns about BSE

The Agriculture and Environment Committees of the European Parliament have issued a stark warning that the crisis over "mad cow disease" (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE) is continuing and a further spread of new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease cannot be ruled out.

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The Agriculture and Environment Committees of the European Parliament have issued a stark warning that the crisis over "mad cow disease" (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE) is continuing and a further spread of new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease cannot be ruled out.

The Committees adopted a joint resolution on the Commission's second half-yearly BSE follow-up report, by rapporteurs Reimer Böge and Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, on 18 February 1999.

MEPs are pleased with the Commission's progress in implementing a number of recommendations for eradicating BSE. But they also point to what they describe as the "catastrophic failure" of Member States to implement BSE-related Community measures, revealed by legal proceedings brought against them by the Commission. The MEPs also cited "negligence and omissions in the policy on combating BSE".

They are particularly concerned about the rise in cases of BSE in Portugal and are demanding that those responsible for exporting British beef be prosecuted.

The Committees are calling for a legislative role for the EP in agriculture under the Codecision Procedure, instead of its present consultative role. They are also insisting that preventative health and consumer protection must be given priority in all measures to tackle BSE.

The report will be debated by Parliament in plenary session in April 1999.

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