[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 30 October, 2004, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
UK experts test for BSE in goats
Photo of UK BSE lab tests
British scientists analyse data for BSE in goats
British scientists have been asked to confirm the presence of "mad cow disease" in a French goat.

If accepted this would be the first time bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been naturally transmitted to another species.

Routine tests by French scientists found traces of the brain wasting disease in the goat two years ago.

The European Commission wants their discovery endorsed but has downplayed the chance of further infection.

An abnormal strain of scrapie - from the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) family of diseases - was found in the French goat during European-wide tests in 2002.

Further analysis showed the case was indistinguishable from BSE.

A mouse injected with tissue from the goat's brain went on to develop BSE during the two-year laboratory testing period needed for the disease to manifest itself.

The scientific data will be undergoing evaluation at a specialist European research centre in Surrey over the next two weeks.

A spokesperson for the European Commission's Consumer Protection Office explained: "We've been sending the research done in France to the EU Reference Laboratory in Weybridge in the UK to have a look [at] how this test was conducted."

Food safety

The spokesperson was keen to point out strict controls on the disposal of animal carcases ensure there should be no danger of spreading the disease.

And the European Commission has confirmed the infected goat and its herd did not enter the human food chain.

The Commission is waiting for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to confirm its position on these findings.

Following a BSE scare in the 1990s, the EU banned the use of animal parts in feed and also removed high risk material such as spinal cord, intestines and brain from the food and feed chain.

More than 100 people have died so far in Europe from the human form of mad cow disease, mostly in Britain.

Previously the disease has spread between animal species only in laboratories.


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


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific