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European Parliament calls for a better control system for TSEs

The European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, public health and consumer protection has called for a better control system for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). This follows its adoption of a report on a European Commission proposal for a regulation t...
The European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, public health and consumer protection has called for a better control system for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). This follows its adoption of a report on a European Commission proposal for a regulation that will create a legal basis for the eradication of TSEs, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalitis) and scrapie. The proposal also lays down rules aimed at preventing the spread of the organism responsible for causing BSE through the transport of live animals.

Drafted in response to the BSE epidemic, the proposal seeks to create a uniform legal basis for controlling and preventing TSEs of any kind in animals and animal products. The parliamentary committee now welcomes the approach laid down by the Commission but has also adopted a number of amendments aimed at improving the regulation's scope.

For example, the committee wishes to introduce the option of using systematic rapid diagnostic tests for TSE in cattle. In addition, the committee is reintroducing demands for entire herds to be removed from the food chain to control BSE, although this is not a strategy favoured by the European Commission.

The Committee also believes that the concept of 'geographical area' as presented in the Commission proposal must be defined at Community level and not left to Member States' discretion. It also says the proposal should include products excluded from the regulation as it now stands, in particular cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other medicinal products. Lastly the committee stressed the importance of keeping the Commission informed of any suspicion or detection of TSEs.

A first reading of the report to the European Parliament is scheduled for the secondary plenary session in Strasbourg in May.

In the same week the EU Scientific steering committee issued its opinion on how safe it is to eat animal bones and blood in the light of recent research on the risks of BSE.

Related information

Subjects

Food - Safety
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