E.U. to extend meat and bone meal ban in anti-BSE drive

E.U. to extend meat and bone meal ban in anti-BSE drive

June 19, 2001 Deutsche Presse-Agentur

The European Union's executive Commission said Tuesday that it was extending a ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal to all farm animals. [The United States could learn a lesson from this--BSE coordinator]

The move means that the bloc's 1994 ban on feeding meat-and-bone meal (mbm) to ruminants will also cover pigs and poultry and reflects a continuing drive to fight bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease which ravaged the bloc's livestock sector earlier this year.

The ban on use of mbm to pigs and fowl, introduced earlier this year, ran out on June 13.

The Commission pledge came after E.U. Ministers of Agriculture meeting in Luxembourg failed to hammer out a common position on the ban, forcing the E.U. executive to promise its own measures.

Sweden and Finland want to be allowed to resume use of meat-and- bone mean (mbm) in animal feed, arguing that their herds remain free of BSE.

But Germany, France, Spain and Austria, worried about a resurgence of the deadly livestock disease, argued fervently in favour of an indefinite extension of the ban to reassure worried consumers.

E.U. officials said the ban on feeding mbm to pigs and poultry would be kept under review in light of future decisions on countries' BSE risk classification and their progress in implementing strict and effective controls.

This means that countries that have seen no cases of BSE may be exempted from the ban under strict conditions.

Ministers accepted the introduction of compulsory offspring and cohort slaughter (with whole herd slaughter on a voluntary basis) in the event of the discovery of BSE cases as of 1 July 2001.

Taking further steps to reassure consumers, the ministers reached political agreement on a series of measures regulating production of animal feed in the bloc.

They agreed to prohibit the recycling of condemned animal material in animal feed and banned intra-species recycling involving the feeding of healthy pig meat to pigs or healthy poultry to poultry.

Agriculture ministers agreed that animal by-products can only be used in feed for farmed animals if they come from animals declared fit for human consumption.

Animal by-products contaminated with BSE or scrapie, or with residues of prohibited substances such as growth hormones or environmental contaminants such as dioxins and PCB's must be completely disposed of as waste by incineration or landfill after undergoing appropriate heat treatment.

Animal by-products presenting a risk of contamination with other animal diseases (i.e. animals which have died on the farm or were killed in the context of disease control measures on the farm) or at risk of residues of veterinary drugs may only be recycled for uses other than animal feed after appropriate heat treatment.

"This legislation is a major step towards preventing feed-borne food crises such as BSE and dioxin contamination," said E.U. Consumer Affairs Commissioner David Byrne.

"This is a milestone in improving the safety of what we eat", said Byrne." dpa si klb eg

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