Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

EU Member States agree to post mortems for cattle

The EU Member States have now formally adopted plans for a testing scheme to monitor and survey BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in Europe.

This follows the EU's Standing Veterinary Committee's agreement to the European Commission's proposal to reinforce epidemic survei...
The EU Member States have now formally adopted plans for a testing scheme to monitor and survey BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in Europe.

This follows the EU's Standing Veterinary Committee's agreement to the European Commission's proposal to reinforce epidemic surveillance of BSE in cattle by introducing a monitoring programme from 1 January 2001 (see CORDIS news RCN 14579).

The new policy requires the Member States to carry out annual monitoring programmes on a targeted sample of animals, with a particular emphasis on animals that die on farms, sick animals slaughtered as emergencies and animals displaying unusual behavioural or neurological signs. Around 65,000 tests will be carried out amongst the cattle population most at risk. The Commission is convinced the results of these tests will provide the community with a clearer picture of the epidemiology of BSE in Europe.

Speaking after the Standing Veterinary Committee's decision on 4 April, European Commissioner for Health and consumer protection, Mr David Byrne, welcomed the agreement.

'I hope it will provide us with more information about the efficiency of our surveillance systems in Member States and enable us to provide maximum protection for European citizens.'

According to the European Commission, there are about 41 million cattle over two years old in the EU. Around 400,000 of these are considered most at risk. With their adoption of the Commission's proposal, Member States undertake to test a sample of 65,000 cows - more than 10% of the risk population - for the presence of clinical symptoms of BSE.

The testing programme will be evaluated after six months to see if any adjustments are needed.

In addition, Mr Byrne asked Member States to press ahead with the adoption of another proposal calling for the removal of 'SRMs' - specified risk materials - from cattle.

'SRMs, which include the brain, spinal cord and spleen, carry the greatest risk of infectivity for BSE and possible risk for human exposure to nvCJD (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease). These tissues should not enter the food chain, he said.

Eight Member States already have national measures in place to remove SRMs.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top