Disease or better detection?
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CTA. 2002. Disease or better detection?. Agritrade, April 2002. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52910
At their meeting in February, the EU Council of Ministers acknowledged the...
At their meeting in February, the EU Council of Ministers acknowledged the deficiencies in BSE testing which had been found in Germany. Following discussion of this issue, Commissioner Byrne (Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection) urged ministers to review their own national procedures for BSE testing. In his briefing to the Agriculture Council, Commissioner Byrne noted that the total number of BSE cases in mainland Europe had almost doubled in 2001 to 957 cases. It was felt that this is more likely to be a consequence of increased testing and detection, rather than any increased incidence of the disease. However concerns were expressed over the age profile of the infected animals, with animals born as recently as 1998 testing positive for BSE. This is a clear indication that cattle were still being exposed to infection at that date, probably through contaminated meat and bone meal. The view was expressed that many of the mistakes which had been made in EU member countries were now being repeated in pre-accession countries. Commissioner Byrne warned that the massive accumulation of stocks of meat and bone meal must be destroyed quickly, otherwise it would be only a matter of time before an accident or fraud led to a serious incident. Comment: It was recognised some time ago that the introduction of compulsory testing would overstretch the capacity of member states' laboratories to undertake the task. Against this background there may be some grounds for concern that EU meat which has not been effectively tested for BSE may be slipping through the net and be available for export to third countries. This is potentially a source of concern to ACP countries not only from a public health perspective but also from a production and export perspective. Should any of this suspect EU beef find its way into the markets of beef exporting ACP countries, these countries could find their BSE free status compromised, with serious consequences for their exports.