Commission changes BSE controls

A DECISION by the EU Commission in relation to BSE controls will remove a significant cost for meat processors in Ireland and enable them to boost returns to livestock farmers, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers has claimed.

ICMSA Beef and Cattle Committee chairman Martin McMahon said BSE in Ireland has virtually come to an end.

“It is clear the controls in animal feed are working effectively and BSE regulations must be further reviewed to take unnecessary costs out of the system,” he said.

Mr McMahon welcomed the commission decision to raise the age limit at which the vertebral column must be removed from cattle from 24 to 30 months.

Since October 2000, the vertebral column has been part of the EU list of Specified Risk Material, considered to pose the greatest risk of BSE transmission.

All the SRM has been required under EU legislation to be removed and destroyed in bovine animals over a certain age, to prevent it entering the food and feed chain.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Health, said the decision is a further reflection of the progress Europe has made in the battle against BSE.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food confirmed yesterday there were no cases of BSE disclosed here in the past week. The number of cases confirmed so far in 2008 remains at nine.

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