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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December, 2003, 12:22 GMT
Russia suspends US beef imports
Tissue samples from the suspected cow are being studied in the UK
Russia has suspended imports of American beef products after the US announced its first suspected case of BSE or "mad cow disease".

Ukraine, South Africa and a number of Asian countries also halted imports after receiving confirmation from the US of the case in Washington state.

The European Union, which already has bans on some US beef because of growth hormones fears, is not planning a ban.

A spokeswoman said the EU would keep "a very close eye on the situation".

"We have had a number of restrictive measures in place for a long time. For the moment there are no plans to change that," she said.

Tissue samples from the suspected cow are being studied in the UK, which suffered a devastating outbreak of mad cow disease in the mid-1990s.

First surfaced mid-1980s
Can pass to humans through infected beef products
Human form of disease called vCJD
vCJD has killed 137 people, mainly in the UK

The results will be known in a few days' time.

A spokesman for the UK's Meat and Livestock Commission said the discovery was "unfortunate".

"We sympathise with the industry in the USA, however they have got a number of important measures in place to ensure that their consumers are adequately protected," he said.

"Any consumers in this country who have any concerns should look for the British label which is clearly marked on the packaging."

According to figures released by the commission, Britain imported only 15 tonnes of beef from the US up to September this year.

BSE has been linked to new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), a human brain-wasting disease.

Barriers go up against US beef
24 Dec 03  |  Americas
Asia suspends US beef imports
24 Dec 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Diet craze boosts US beef sales
22 Nov 03  |  From Our Own Correspondent
US statement on 'mad cow' case
24 Dec 03  |  Americas
US eases Canada beef ban
09 Aug 03  |  Americas
Canada reports mad cow case
20 May 03  |  Americas
Q&A: Has vCJD peaked?
28 Feb 03  |  Health

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