UN warns BSE risk could be global

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


UN warns BSE risk could be global

By James Blitz in Rome and Michael Mann in London Published: February 7 2001 22:08GMT | Last Updated: February 8 2001 00:48GMT

Mad cow disease could spread to as many as 100 countries across the globe and should not be dismissed as purely a European phenomenon, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation warned on Wednesday.

As the European Union struggles to calm consumer panic that has seen beef consumption fall by more than a quarter since October, the FAO urged countries that imported meat and bone meal (MBM) or cattle from the EU to ban the feeding of MBM and increase surveillance to try to eradicate the disease.

"Our research suggests that at least 100 countries are at risk from BSE because of cattle or meat meal imported from Europe during the 1980s," said Jacques Diouf, director-general of the FAO.

"The regions that imported large quantities of meat meal from Britain during this period are the near-East, eastern Europe and Asia."

The FAO's warning will send shockwaves through the beef industry in countries that still see BSE as an exclusively European problem.

The introduction of a cattle testing programme across the EU has uncovered the first cases of the disease in countries such as Germany, which long claimed to be BSE-free.

The FAO is reluctant to spell out the individual countries that might be at risk. But Andrew Speedy of the FAO noted that countries like Egypt, Iran, Iraq and India imported MBM from the UK during the 1980s and have intensive livestock industries. "So that is a situation we are worried about," he said. http://ads.ft.com/html.ng/site=ftcom&pos=pop&transId=981646253160

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), February 08, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ