Search OCA
Get Local!

BSE adviser urges beef import curbs

May 15, 2002 The Guardian (London) by James Meikle
Tighter controls against imported beef pate, sausages and meat pies should be considered as the BSE crisis continued through Europe, a government scientific adviser warned yesterday.

Roy Anderson said anti-BSE measures in the rest of the European Union should not lead consumers into a false sense of security since tests on cattle for the disease could not necessarily identify infected animals.

He cautioned against Britain relaxing its ban on most cattle over 30 months entering the food chain, a measure not copied elsewhere. This was a far better safety measure than the tests. His remarks will keep alive suspicions that consumers in Europe are not being as well protected against BSE as in Britain, although the risk in the EU pales by comparison with that which existed in this country before any anti-BSE measures for food were introduced in 1989. Other countries allow older cattle to go into food provided they are tested free of BSE. Although meat from these cannot be sold to Britain in carcass form, it can enter the country as processed food. The food standards agency has long recognised these products might pose a higher risk to consumers and has advised them to establish their country of origin, even if the law does not yet require this on labels.

Prof Anderson, of Imperial College, London, and a member of the government's anti-BSE committee, Seac, said the loophole was one "which in an ideal world you would like to block" and "which I have been on about for some time".

He said: "People could be fooled, 'it is tested, it is safe'," when in fact firms making the testing equipment and companies using it had to address the issue of how sensitive the tests really were. They might be picking up infectivity only in the last few months of incubation when meat could be unsafe long before. "As the European epidemic develops this is something we shall increasingly have to keep an eye on."

Britain tests hardly any apparently healthy animals compared to other countries because of its 30-month rule. Yet it still had 135 cases of BSE in January and February, taking to the total towards 181,000 since 1986. Ireland has had 907 cases, with 60 in the first two months of the year. France, with 52 cases in the first two months of the year, has recorded 571 cases and Germany, 29 cases in January and February, has had 167 in all.

The food standards agency is reviewing whether it should recommend changes to the 30-month rule as part of a regular check on anti-BSE measures.

Home | News | Organics | GE Food | Health | Environment | Food Safety | Fair Trade | Peace | Farm Issues | Politics
Forum | Español | Campaigns | Buying Guide | Press | Search | Volunteer | Donate | About Us | Contact Us | Email This Page

Organic Consumers Association - 6771 South Silver Hill Drive, Finland MN 55603
E-mail: Staff · Activist or Media Inquiries: 218-226-4164 · Fax: 218-353-7652
Please support our work. Send a tax-deductible donation to the OCA

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.
Please Support Our Sponsors!

Organic Valley

Organic
Valley

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

Dr. Bronner's
Magic Soaps

Botani Organic

Botani
Organic

Aloha Bay

Aloha Bay

Eden Organics

Eden Foods

Frey Vineyards

Frey
Vineyards

Intelligent Nutrients

Intelligent
Nutrients