Brussels, 10 April 2002
The EU's scientific steering committee adopted two opinions on BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) on 5 April, agreeing a strategy for testing small ruminants for BSE if they test positive for scrapie, and advising that if BSE in such animals is likely, the present risk management strategy is no longer justified. The Commission has pledged to consider these views.
The EU's strategy for eliminating BSE and scrapie involves mandatory testing and the elimination of high risk substances from the animal feed and human food chain.
The recommendation on a standard approach to testing small ruminants for BSE follows a recent increase in testing for scrapie in sheep. Thus far, BSE has only been found in cattle, but if it were discovered in sheep, EU scientists believe that product safety could only be achieved by a combination of approaches aimed at rooting it out. As sheep are so far believed to have remained free of BSE, the committee decided not to amend the list of materials to be removed from the human food and animal feed chain.
For further information on the opinions, please consult the following web address: http:///europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/ss c/outcome_en.html