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EFSA BSE Report ‘Too Cautious’

17 May 2007

UK - British beef producers have hit out at a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report on BSE infectivity in specified risk material for not relaxing the rules. The key findings of the EFSA report were that the BSE epidemic in EU is on the decline.
However, it added that the likelihood of the infectivity in SRM derived from cattle of different ages must be based on experimental and incubation case studies in the UK and more recently in Germany, because a scientific consensus based on back calculation modelling could not be achieved.

The report added that BSE infectivity would be undetectable or still absent in the central nervous system of animals aged 33 months. However, at least one field case has shown that a BSE-infected animal was under 33 months old, and this failure to detect the TSE prion does not guarantee absence of the infectivity in a tissue. EFSA’s earlier opinion of April 2005 that detectable infectivity in the central nervous system appears to be 75 per cent (33 months) of the shortest total incubation time, which is 45 months, is still valid.

The UK’s National Framers’ Union livestock board chairman Thomas Binns said: “This is an overly-cautious approach, and we are disappointed this report doesn’t go any further. There is no improvement on the positive position of April 2005 when we got the green light to restart exports. The rules in place have to be proportionate to the risk and we shouldn’t be afraid of relaxing them when new science indicates it is safe to do so.

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Source: Meatnews.com


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