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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Veterinary Committee 

Results of the Standing Veterinary Committee, 15 November 2000

The Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC) discussed today the proposal from the European Commission to enlarge testing for BSE-cases to all cattle above a certain age in the EU. In general, there was broad support from the Member States to extend the testing program. The SVC expressed itself in favour - without taking a final decision – that already from 1 st January 2001 all animals falling into a risk group (emergency slaughters, animals showing neurological signs, animals being sick) should be tested. The extension would enlarge the already agreed testing programme due to start on 1 st January 2001 from a percentage of fallen stock to all bovine animals posing an increased risk of BSE.

This will be a major step forward to further increase the safety of food and to enhance transparency, since all risk animals will be tested. Certain animals within this group are currently still entering the food and feed chain - in future they could only do so if the BSE-test results would be negative. The measure will even further reduce any risk of BSE to the consumer. It would be an additional guarantee to the major measures in place to reduce any risk to a minimum level, like the ban of mammalian meat and bone meal to be fed to ruminants, the high rendering standards and the removal of specific risk materials (brain, spinal cord).

David Byrne and Franz Fischler on behalf of the European Commission repeated their determination that testing should be extended to all animals above a certain age entering the food and feed chain. In that way consumer confidence can be assured. The subject will now be further discussed at the Agricultural Council on Monday/Tuesday next week.

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