BSE: Disease Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what precautions have been taken to ensure there are no further outbreaks of BSE as a result of the recent incident in Aberdeenshire.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

All the evidence so far suggests this is an isolated case of classical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). As this incident occurred in Aberdeenshire, the Scottish Government have led the response, with support from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. We have made clear Defra is ready to provide assistance as required.

The Scottish Government have commissioned an epidemiological investigation to determine how the animal became infected. Whilst the disease is not directly transmitted from animal to animal, the affected animal’s three feed cohorts and one offspring have been traced and isolated, and have been humanely culled and tested for BSE as a precaution in line with UK and EU requirements. All test results are negative.

Studies have concluded that the BSE epidemic is in its final stage but that occasional cases should be expected in the ‘tail end’. The last case in the UK before this one occurred in 2015.

Strict protection measures remain in place which have been effective in reducing cases to these very low levels. The measures include the ban on feeding animal protein to farmed animals, which prevents the spread of BSE to animals through feed; removing specified risk material (SRM) – the most risky parts of animals – at slaughter to protects consumers from risk from food; and surveillance to monitor the level of BSE over time and thereby check on the continued effectiveness of BSE controls.

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