UK cautious over BSE testing age
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) calls for a further report on BSE
surveillance before the country will implement the new BSE testing
The EU decided to increase the age at which slaughter cattle must be tested
for BSE to 48 months, thus reducing the number of cattle tested. The new EU
legislation is expected to come into force on January 1 2009, subject to
approval by the European Parliament. At present, all healthy cattle destined for
human consumption must be BSE tested if slaughtered at over 30 months, while
fallen cattle must be tested at over 24 months.
Following a meeting of
the FSA board on October 15, chair Dame Deirdre Hutton said: "The board supports
the move to testing at 48 months but would not wish this to be implemented until
a further report on surveillance has been produced and this has been passed to
SEAC (the Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee) for review.
The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) reacted angrily to the FSA's decision
to create "hurdles that could delay the lifting of the [age] limit and cost the
beef industry millions". FUW livestock committee chairman Aeron Prysor Jones
said a comprehensive analysis by the UK Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) had
concluded that even if the testing limit was raised to 60 months, the risk to
humans would effectively be zero.
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