BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Nicola Carslaw
"Reassurances for the consumers and the meat industry"
 real 56k

Professor Peter Smith, Acting Chairman of SEAC
"A very extensive testing programme"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 01:32 GMT 02:32 UK
Europe 'has no BSE epidemic'
Cows
The latest figures on BSE are promising, say experts
By BBC Consumer Affairs Correspondent Nicola Carslaw

The latest results of BSE tests carried out on healthy cattle across the EU suggest there is no massive, hidden BSE epidemic in Europe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) figures show that in the first four months of this year only a tiny fraction of animals tested positive for the disease.

Tests for BSE in cattle destined for the food chain have been underway throughout the European Union since the beginning of the year.

Out of a total 1.7 million healthy animals tested, the figures show that by the end of April the number of positive cases reported were:

  • Spain 22 (from 73,859 tested)
  • France 21 (from 623,349)
  • Germany 13 (from 613,550)
  • Belgium (10 from 97,311)
  • Italy 7 (from 64,351)
  • Holland 2 (from 97,794)
  • Irish Republic 1 (from 71,699)

    The figures, showing a total of 76 cases across the EU, are encouraging says the FSA.

    'Low level' of cases

    Agency chairman Sir John Krebs said: "BSE remains the food issue of most concern to consumers and they want to know what is being done to protect them.

    "People have been worried about the spread of BSE in Europe but the EU programme of testing animals destined for the food chain shows a very low level of BSE cases. The figures indicate there is no hidden, massive epidemic of BSE in Europe."


    BSE remains the food issue of most concern to consumers

    Food Standards Agency
    However, Sir John warned against complacency.

    "The Food Standards Agency continues with 100% checks on imported beef. We will not tolerate any breaches of BSE controls and we will examine any new evidence rigorously," he said.

    Sir John said a new leaflet was being launched on Wednesday, together with the Consumers' Association.

    New information leaflet

    Titled 'BSE and Beef' it describes the BSE controls in place and also explains the various labels that can be found on beef on sale in the shops.

    The Consumers' Association hopes the leaflets will be distributed to every butcher's shop and supermarket in the UK.
    Butcher
    Information leaflets are to be distributed to butchers' shops and supermarkets

    Its spokeswoman, Mona Patel, said they had been designed to address shoppers' concerns about the nature of the risk of BSE and provide sources of further information.

    "It's important people have the chance to understand the issue so they can make choices about safety and the relative levels of risk from eating beef that's produced within the UK or elsewhere," she said.

    The figures unveiled on Wednesday, coupled with the leaflet, may offer reassurance to those worried about the risk of beef and BSE.

    Whether they will persuade any of those who have stopped eating beef to put it back on their shopping lists remains to be seen.

  • Search BBC News Online

    Advanced search options
    Launch console
    BBC RADIO NEWS
    BBC ONE TV NEWS
    WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
    PROGRAMMES GUIDE

    CJD

    Features

    Background

    CLICKABLE GUIDE

    AUDIO VIDEO
    Internet links:


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Europe stories