UK: BSE testing change could benefit meat sector
By Jane Byrne
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Supply-Chain/BSE-testing-change-could-benefit-meat-sector
A move to raise the age limit from 30 to 48 months at which
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), following a meeting yesterday, said it supports the move to testing at 48 months but would not wish this to be implemented until a further report on surveillance has been produced and this has been passed to the Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee (SEAC) for review.
SEAC said that an increase in the age at which cattle intended for human consumption are BSE tested would represent "a minimal to negligibe increase in the risk to human health."
The proposal to raise the age at which cattle are BSE tested came as a result of recent changes to EU legislation. EU Members States are now allowed to apply to reduce their monitoring programmes for BSE.
The change in the testing age could result in about 140,000 more cattle going into the food chain without being tested, saving the industry around £1m in sampling and transport costs.
The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said that the move would be particularly welcome to processors in the light of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) proposal to pass the cost of BSE testing back to the industry.
Johnston, National Farmers Union (NFU) livestock advisor told
FoodProductionDaily.com that the introduction of the new regulations would be
“good news for the
national herd is becoming safer on an annual basis and this regulation can
help maintain consumer confidence in the product,” said
Since 1994, measures have been in place in the EU to protect human and animal health from BSE. These have mainly consisted of the removal of certain organs and parts of cattle - specified risk materials (SRM) - before human consumption and of a ban on giving feed contaminated with animal proteins to animals.
SRM is that part of the animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity. SRM controls remove over 99 per cent of BSE infectivity that may be present in cattle.
peak in 1992 there were over 36,000 cases of BSE in the
The NFU told FoodProductionDaily.com previously that it hopes that eventually age discrimination will be scrapped altogether, providing greater freedom for processors in selection of animals used.
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