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Reinforcement of BSE monitoring and surveillance through tests

Member States could soon be required to carry out annual monitoring and surveillance programmes through rapid post mortem tests, to determine the true extent of BSE-infection in European cattle.

This follows the European Commission's endorsement of a draft decision aimed to r...
Member States could soon be required to carry out annual monitoring and surveillance programmes through rapid post mortem tests, to determine the true extent of BSE-infection in European cattle.

This follows the European Commission's endorsement of a draft decision aimed to reinforce the surveillance of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in cattle by introducing a monitoring programme from 1 January 2001.

The monitoring programme will particularly focus on animals which die on farms, sick animals slaughtered as emergencies and animals displaying unusual behavioural or neurological signs.

'It is of utmost importance to learn as much as possible about the scale of the disease in Europe. I encourage all Member States to introduce these tests,' said Mr David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.

The Commission believes these test results will provide a more complete picture of the incidence of BSE in the Community and of the patterns of infection in the animal population. It has also found encouragement from the results of similar tests carried out in Switzerland, where a 'significant' improvement in BSE has already been noted.

Mr Byrne urged the Member States to move ahead and adopt the Decision (proposed by the European Commission in November 1999), to remove specific risk materials from cattle (see RCN 14444).

While some Member States remain reluctant to accept the proposed measures, eight EU-countries already have similar legislation in place.

The Commission is now calling for Member States to present the results of their tests for evaluation. It is particularly keen to identify pre-clinical BSE in live animals or differentiate between BSE and other transmittable spongiform encephalopathies.

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Food - Policies
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