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The BBC's Michael Buchanan in Northern Spain
"The authorities here are looking for tougher measures from Europe"
 real 28k

Roger Waite of Agra Facts
"Possibly as many as 8 million tests across the EU"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 13:07 GMT
BSE spreads to Spain
beef
Spain is one of four countries banning French beef products
The first two cases of mad cow disease have been uncovered in Spain.

Health authorities in the north-western Spanish region of Galicia detected bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, during testing of 132 cattle.

The results came as European agriculture ministers ordered new tests on cattle aimed at warding off a potentially devastating loss of public confidence in beef.

French carcasses inspected in Italy
The crisis has grown since contaminated meat reached supermarkets
Spain, along with Austria, the Netherlands and Italy, has banned imports of French cattle and beef products following the discovery in France that animals from a BSE-infected herd had been sold for meat.

The Spanish Agriculture Minister, Miguel Arias Canete, said Spain was not facing an epidemic, and that testing methods had ensured that the infected animals had not reached the food chain.

The disease, which was first detected in Britain is believed to be linked to the fatal and still untreatable human brain disease, variant CJD.

From January, all cattle over 30 months old thought to be at risk of having BSE must be tested before being passed fit for consumption.

Then, next summer, the tests will be extended to apparently healthy animals.

The Spanish Agriculture Ministry will be holding a new conference later on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Italian farmers are meeting the country's agriculture minister to demand compensation for the slump in sales since a mad cow crisis began gripping France.

Aid cash

The farmers, who are staging a blockade at some French border crossings, say their products have been hit even though they are not implicated in the BSE scare.

One estimate says Italian butchers have lost 30m in sales since the crisis began in France.

Italian farmers say that, as well as compensation, they also want a government marketing drive stressing the safety of Italian beef.

The French Government has already announced a $426m (FF3.24bn) package of measures designed to help the meat and farming industries recover from the crisis.

The package also includes cash to help research to find alternatives to animal feeds which include meat and bonemeal waste, which are thought to be a possible agent in spreading the disease.

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See also:

23 Nov 00 | Europe
BSE warnings fuel French anger
21 Nov 00 | Europe
EU compromise on BSE tests
10 Nov 00 | Europe
BSE alarm spreads across Europe
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