Document Directory

21 Dec 00 - CJD - German sausages linked to BSE
21 Dec 00 - CJD - Austria bans German beef
21 Dec 00 - CJD - German anger grows with third BSE find
21 Dec 00 - CJD - Austria bans German beef and cattle
21 Dec 00 - CJD - Demand for reindeer meat up as people turn away from beef
21 Dec 00 - CJD - German anger grows with third BSE find
21 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE crisis puts reindeer on the menu
21 Dec 00 - CJD - Austria bans all imports of German beef and cattle
21 Dec 00 - CJD - Two New Cases of Mad Cow Disease Reported in France
21 Dec 00 - CJD - Vaccine is 'no risk'
20 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE loophole allows old beef imports
20 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE meat from foreign cattle may be ending up in burgers
20 Dec 00 - CJD - Vaccine given despite warning
20 Dec 00 - CJD - French BSE may be boon for NZ sheepfarmers
20 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Risk In Uk Because Of Loophole
20 Dec 00 - CJD - Germany discovers third BSE case
20 Dec 00 - CJD - UK Watchdog Vows to Close Loopholes in BSE Measures
20 Dec 00 - CJD - CJD bill to soar as NHS cuts surgery risks
20 Dec 00 - CJD - 'Zero risk' assurance over blood donor with vCJD
19 Dec 00 - CJD - Civil servants blamed in BSE inquiry will not be disciplined
19 Dec 00 - CJD - France bans blood from visitors to UK
19 Dec 00 - CJD - German BSE scare boosts sale of horse meat
19 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE loophole allows old beef imports (SEAC misled)
19 Dec 00 - CJD - New moves to tackle BSE crisis
19 Dec 00 - CJD - Imported meat sales drop
19 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Measures Fail to Cover Pies, Burgers
19 Dec 00 - CJD - CJD death raises cluster fears
18 Dec 00 - CJD - Secrecy over BSE debates may end
17 Dec 00 - CJD - Stores drop French beef
17 Dec 00 - CJD - Belgian Expert Bemoans EU Panic Over BSE
17 Dec 00 - CJD - Second Mad Cow case confirmed in Germany
15 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease Waning in Europe



21 Dec 00 - CJD - German sausages linked to BSE

Staff Reporter

BBC... Thursday 21 December 2000


The German government has issued an urgent warning about popular varieties of cooked sausage which could be infected with BSE .

The Health Ministry in Berlin has ordered the withdrawal from sale of a range of products which contain spinal meat from cattle which, if infected, can transmit the disease to humans.

The warning follows confirmation of a third case of BSE in Germany and just 24 hours after European Commissioner David Byrne suggested some German sausages still contained risky material.

Health Minister Andrea Fischer said the government had to eliminate every real risk to the consumer after initially angrily rejecting Mr Byrne's comments.

And despite her reassurances, BBC correspondent Rob Broomby says nervous consumers have begun to turn up their noses at the ubiquitous German sausage.

Confidence shattered

Once, Germany believed itself to have the highest standards of meat production in Europe.

But the discovery of just three cases of BSE, compared with hundreds in France and thousands in Britain, has shattered consumer confidence.

Traditional vendors of sausage products report consumers are turning away in droves and figures show sales have been slashed by 20%

Newspapers have devoted pages to the possible dangers lurking under the skin of Germany's myriad varieties of sausage.

On Wednesday, the tabloid BZ carried a front-page picture of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder biting into a large hot-dog with the caption "BSE Horror - Does it still taste good, chancellor?"

'Helpless dismay '

"Helpless dismay at the sausage counter," read a headline on Bild newspaper.

"Nobody knows for certain if German sausage is safe," said the Berliner Zeitung daily paper.

A meat industry spokesman dismissed Commissioner Burn's comments as ridiculous, and called the affair a storm in a teacup.

But many sausage manufacturers have already switched recipes to remove beef products.

German officials had claimed that German cattle were free from BSE - until the first case in a German-born cow was announced on 24 November. Two further cases have been confirmed since and more are expected.


21 Dec 00 - CJD - Austria bans German beef

Staff Reporter

BBC... Thursday 21 December 2000


Five BSE cases have now been detected in Germany

Austria has banned all imports of German cattle and beef to minimise the risk of contamination after a fifth case of Mad Cow disease was reported by the German authorities.

Austria, one of the few European countries which has had no reported cases of BSE so far, imposed the ban after the European Union said it could proceed with the measure.

The ban on all imports of German beef and cattle took effect as of 1120 local time. The EU raised no objection

Health Ministry spokesman

Health officials in the southern German state of Bavaria, which borders on Austria, said on Thursday that tests on two animals had proved positive - bringing the total to five since nationwide testing began a few weeks ago.

Sausages not safe

The German Government on Wednesday issued an urgent warning about popular varieties of cooked sausage which could be infected with BSE.

The Health Ministry in Berlin has ordered the withdrawal from sale of a range of products which contain spinal meat from cattle which, if infected, can transmit the disease to humans.

Health Minister Andrea Fischer said the government had to eliminate every real risk to the consumer after initially angrily rejecting suggestions from the EU that some sausages contained risky material.

BBC correspondent Rob Broomby says nervous consumers have begun to turn up their noses at the ubiquitous German sausage.

Confidence shattered

Once, Germany believed itself to have the highest standards of meat production in Europe.

But the discovery of a handful of BSE cases, compared with hundreds in France and thousands in Britain, has shattered consumer confidence .

Traditional vendors of sausage products report consumers are turning away in droves and figures show sales have been slashed by 20% .

Many people are switching to chicken and turkey .

But now the country's biggest supplier, the PHW Poultry Group, has said prices are rising and shortages are possible.

Newspapers have devoted pages to the possible dangers lurking under the skin of Germany's myriad varieties of sausage.

On Wednesday, the tabloid BZ carried a front-page picture of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder biting into a large hot-dog with the caption "BSE Horror - Does it still taste good, chancellor?"

'Helpless dismay'

"Helpless dismay at the sausage counter," read a headline on Bild newspaper.

"Nobody knows for certain if German sausage is safe," said the Berliner Zeitung daily paper.

A meat industry spokesman dismissed Commissioner Burn's comments as ridiculous, and called the affair a storm in a teacup.

But many sausage manufacturers have already switched recipes to remove beef products.

German officials had claimed that German cattle were free from BSE - until the first case in a German-born cow was announced on 24 November.


21 Dec 00 - CJD - German anger grows with third BSE find

Reuters

Stuff... Thursday 21 December 2000


BERLIN (Reuters): Germany issued an urgent public warning on Wednesday to stop using certain products containing meat obtained from the backbones of cattle slaughtered before October 1 .

Health Minister Andrea Fischer issued a statement saying the warning was a precautionary step. As fears over the spread of Mad Cow disease to Germany mounted, she urged producers of the meat obtained from the spines - affecting certain types of cooked sausage - to immediately withdraw their products.

"We have to eliminate every real risk," Fischer said of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that has now been detected in three cows in Germany. Fischer said the health ministry will examine on Thursday whether further legal steps against the meat obtained from the spines is possible.

She said the warning was issued shortly after the federal institute for consumer protection and veterinary medicine (BgVV) said there was a possibility of a health risk with the use of such meat products.

Germany earlier confirmed its third case of Mad Cow disease and consumer anger at official inaction rose as a cabinet minister said further cases were now likely.

Health authorities in the southern state of Bavaria, which provides over a quarter of Germany's beef, confirmed they had found a third cow with BSE and said a further two suspected cases were under investigation.

Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke, who only weeks ago insisted Germany was free of the brainwasting disease linked to a similar illness in humans, said that these discoveries were probably only the start.

"There will be certainly further suspicious cases," he told Die Welt newspaper. "We have to assume there can be more BSE cases," he added.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has conceded that his government underestimated the risk to German cattle of the disease, thought to be transmitted through contaminated meat-based fodder.

But consumer groups rejected his government's assertion that it now had the problem under control with measures to ban such animal feed before a similar move comes into effect next year across the European Union.

The health warning from Fischer came after Germany's beloved national delicacy, the predominantly pork-based sausage, was linked to BSE's deadly human equivalent, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

The European Commission on Tuesday called on Germany to withdraw from sale the many wurst products that have a small beef content.

Fischer's health warning for some meat products followed her earlier attempts to calm fears about the safety of sausages. She said there was no need to withdraw wurst from shops because animal parts believed to cause vCJD were no longer used in its production.

"There has been no cow brains in sausage for a year and a day. There is no reason to take dramatic steps," she said.

Fischer stressed consumers could continue to buy sausage, saying her comments on Tuesday that she would not be buying wurst herself were because she does not eat much meat anyway.

Bavaria announced new safety measures on Tuesday as Austria, which borders the region to the south and has so far been BSE-free, asked Brussels for permission to ban German beef.

Fischer said the Austrian move was premature.


21 Dec 00 - CJD - Austria bans German beef and cattle

Reuters

CNN... Thursday 21 December 2000


VIENNA, Austria (Reuters) -- Austria says it has banned all imports of German cattle and beef to minimise the risk of contamination after its big neighbour reported the fifth case of Mad Cow disease in its livestock.

Austria, one of the few European countries which has had no reported cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) so far, imposed the ban after the European Union said it could proceed with the measure under the bloc's national safeguard rules.

"The ban on all imports of German beef and cattle took effect as of 1120 local time. The EU raised no objection," said Gerald Grosz, a spokesman for Health Minister Herbert Haupt.

Health officials in the southern German state of Bavaria, which borders on Alpine Austria, said on Thursday tests on two animals proved positive -- bringing the total to five since nationwide testing began a few weeks ago.

Germany has issued an urgent public warning as a precautionary measure to producers to stop using certain products containing meat from the backbones of cattle slaughtered before October 1.


21 Dec 00 - CJD - Demand for reindeer meat up as people turn away from beef

Staff Reporter

News Asia... Thursday 21 December 2000


Reindeer meet has become more popular, thanks to the BSE (Mad Cow disease) crisis .

Forced to look for alternatives to beef, European consumers are asking for more reindeer meat exports from the north of Finland.

Officials there say the herdsmen cannot keep pace with the rising demand.

Reindeer herdsmen feed their flock hay and lichen, which is what reindeer in Lapland have always eaten.

This a natural vegetarian diet with no animal remains mixed in with their feed.

The Association of Reindeer Herdsmen hopes to bring modern marketing techniques to expand the reindeer industry.

Over the past three years, reindeer meat production has hovered around two million kilograms per year, but the Mad Cow disease has led to an explosion of interest from buyers abroad.


21 Dec 00 - CJD - German anger grows with third BSE find

Staff Reporter

News Asia... Thursday 21 December 2000


Germany issued an urgent public warning on Wednesday to stop using certain products containing meat obtained from the backbones of cattle slaughtered before October 1.

As fears over the spread of Mad Cow disease to Germany mounted, Health Minister Andrea Fischer urged producers to withdraw immediately meat obtained from the spines of cattle.

bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has now been detected in three cows in Germany.

On Thursday, the health ministry will examine whether further legal steps against meat obtained from the spines is possible.

She said the warning was issued shortly after the federal institute for consumer protection and veterinary medicine (BgVV) said there was a possibility of a health risk with the use of such meat products.

Consumer groups, however, rejected the government's assertion that it had the problem under control, with measures to ban such animal feed before a similar move comes into effect next year across the European Union.

The health warning from Fischer came after Germany's beloved national delicacy, the predominantly pork-based sausage, was linked to BSE's deadly human equivalent, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

The European Commission on Tuesday called on Germany to withdraw from shelves the many wurst products that have a small beef content.

Fischer's health warning for some meat products followed her earlier attempts to calm fears about the safety of sausages. She said there was no need to withdraw wurst from shops because animal parts believed to cause vCJD were no longer used in its production.

New safety measures were announced in Bavaria on Tuesday as Austria, which borders the region to the south and has so far been BSE-free, asked Brussels for permission to ban German beef.

Fischer said the ban was premature


21 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE crisis puts reindeer on the menu

Ananova

PA News... Thursday 21 December 2000


Reindeer meat is becoming more popular in Europe because of the BSE crisis.

Forced to look for alternatives to beef, European consumers are asking for more reindeer meat exports from the north of Finland.

Officials there say the herdsmen cannot keep pace with rising demand.

Reindeer herdsmen feed their flock hay and lichen This a natural vegetarian diet with no animal remains mixed in with their feed, reports Channel NewsAsia


21 Dec 00 - CJD - Austria bans all imports of German beef and cattle

Staff Reporter

News Asia... Thursday 21 December 2000


In the latest alarm over the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease, in Europe, Austria has become the first European Union country to ban all imports of German beef and cattle, after several cases of BSE were detected in German herds.

Two new BSE cases in German cattle were reported on Thursday, bringing the total to five so far.

And authorities expect that number to rise , with the introduction of systematic BSE testing last month.

Hungary , meanwhile, says it will ban the use of meat-based animal feed for six months from January, in a bid to prevent a similar ban on its beef.

Britain, France and Ireland already face embargoes on their meat after numerous cases of BSE were discovered in their cattle.


21 Dec 00 - CJD - Two New Cases of Mad Cow Disease Reported in France

Staff Reporter

Al Bawaba... Thursday 21 December 2000


Two new cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow disease, have been discovered in France, bringing the year's total to 141 -- nearly five times the figure for 1999, the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.

One of the cases was discovered in Normandy and the second in the central Loire region.

A total 221 cases of BSE have been reported in France since the disease appeared in 1991, 30 of them in 1999.

The sharp increase in the number of cases registered nationally this year is partly explained by a new government testing program started in June. The program, initially intended to cover 48,000 animals, was broadened last week to include all cattle more than 30 months old.

Experts say that eating meat from cattle infected with Mad Cow disease can lead to a fatal human form of the brain-wasting illness, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) -- PARIS (AFP)


21 Dec 00 - CJD - Vaccine is 'no risk'

By Rita O'Reilly

Belfast Telegraph... Thursday 21 December 2000


EXPERTS agreed today that there is no cause for public concern over the polio vaccine alert in the Republic.

They spoke out after it was revealed that children were given a vaccine in 1998 that contained serum from a donor diagnosed with variant CJD, the human form of Mad Cow Disease.

Leading American CJD scientist Paul Brown and Professor Michael Farrell, a neuropathologist at Beaumont Hospital said there was no cause for alarm.

Prof Farrell said the human serum albumin that was used in the manufacture of a polio vaccine used was so diluted that the risk is near zero.


20 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE loophole allows old beef imports

By Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor

Times... Wednesday 20 December 2000


British food manufacturers can legally import beef over 30-months-old - which may harbour BSE - and use it in their pies and burgers, it emerged last night.

The Government and the Food Standards Agency has so far given a warning about the possible use of beef over 30-months-old in salami , corned beef and other processed beef imported from the continent or of cowboy meat traders operating illegally in Britain.

There was never any hint, until now, that British food processors could lawfully process this potentially dangerous older meat in the UK and then sell it on to the public.

A member of the Government's main BSE advisory committee, the Spongiform Encepalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC), suggested last night that the committee had been misled about the safeguards for British consumers. Harriet Kimbell, the consumer representative on SEAC, flagged up the anomaly at a Ministry of Agriculture press briefing and said the matter was cause for great concern. "The regulations are not as tight as we thought they were."

She said she had no evidence that manufacturers were actually exploiting the loophole but said she suspected it was happening .

Tim Yeo, Shadow Agriculture spokesman, demanded clarification last night from Ministers and from Sir John Krebs, the Food Standards Agency. He said: "This is incredible news and it makes a farce of all our controls."


20 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE meat from foreign cattle may be ending up in burgers

By David Brown, Agriculture Editor

Telegraph... Wednesday 20 December 2000


A legal loophole still leaves the British public at risk from BSE tainted French beef.

Prof Harriet Kimbell, a member of the Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee (SEAC) and senior government adviser, disclosed that beef from cattle more than 30 months old could be imported from France, Germany, the Republic of Ireland and other countries affected by Mad Cow disease and processed into products sold in this country.

She suggested that the committee had been misled into thinking that consumer safeguards in Britain were stronger than they are. Until now, the Government has restricted its warnings to the possibility of risks from meat products manufactured abroad and from rogue traders.

She said: "The regulations are not as we thought they were. It is highly likely that meat from cattle over 30 months old is being sold in this country ." It is illegal in Britain to use any beef from cattle over 30 months of age for human consumption. Until yesterday it was generally understood that all meat from older cattle could only be brought into Britain if it was destined for re-export.

Prof Kimbell said that she and other members of SEAC were surprised to discover that the ruling applied only to fresh meat . Manufacturers could import beef and process it, after which it was legal to sell it here. So far there are 88 known and probable cases of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in Britain. Five victims are still alive. Four cases are know to have occurred abroad - one in Ireland and three in France.

All the major supermarkets have denied that they sell French beef or products made from it but about 5,000 tons a year are imported here. Thousands of tons of Irish beef are also imported.

The Food Standards Agency, the body responsible for protecting the public from BSE and other food-borne dangers, admitted last night that it has known about this loophole for some time . It has so far advised the Government that there is no need to ban imports of French beef to protect consumers.

The Tories immediately demanded a statement from Nick Brown, Minister of Agriculture, who was at a meeting of EU farm ministers in Brussels last night, and from the Food Standards Agency.

Tim Yeo, shadow minister of agriculture, said: "This is a very serious disclosure. It is ridiculous that we have rules in the United Kingdom to destroy all cattle more than 30 months old to protect people from BSE and then import meat from the same category of cattle which is then sold to our consumers."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture said: "This is a matter for the Food Standards Agency."


20 Dec 00 - CJD - Vaccine given despite warning

by Carl O'Brien and Karl Brophy

Irish Examiner... Wednesday 20 December 2000


The polio vaccine at the centre of the latest CJD health scare was still being administered to tens of thousands of Irish children one year after Brussels officials warned it was potentially dangerous .

It emerged yesterday that the blood of a British donor, diagnosed with the human form of Mad Cow disease, was used to make 83,500 doses of the polio vaccine administered in Ireland. Approximately two thirds of all children given the routine medical polio vaccination in Ireland between January 1998 and January 1999 , as part of the childhood immunisation scheme, received medicine from the contaminated batch.

Thousands of adults travelling abroad in that period, including Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, were also given the vaccine, manufactured by the British based Medeva plant.

Health Minister Michéal Martin and medical experts are insisting the vaccination is safe and that there is no risk of people contracting the fatal CJD virus from it.

However, the vaccine was still being used in Ireland a year after the EU's medical safety body urged authorities to avoid using UK stocks if possible, to protect patients from the risk of contracting the human form of BSE.

The Irish Medicines Board yesterday said it had been warned of the EU decision and immediately began seeking alternative donors. A spokeswoman said it took a minimum of six months to source vaccines free of the UK material.

A parents' group, the Informed Immunization Network (IIN), are now challenging the Government to promise they will pay the medical costs and compensation to anyone who contracts a disease as a result of receiving a vaccine from the contaminated batch.

"This has confirmed our worst fears about the polio vaccine. They say there is no risk, but they can't say that because they simply don't know. They have carried out no tests," said IIN spokesman Colin McCaffrey.

"If they think it is safe they can prove it by indemnifying those who have received it and pay any costs they incur. But we know they won't do that because they're not sure."

Minister Martin said yesterday he revealed the CJD infection link because he believed a media leak over Christmas would only serve to heighten fears on the issue. Hotline numbers set up for concerned parents were already being flooded with calls last night.

"There is zero risk... Why am I making it public at this time? Because I believe fundamentally that I have no honourable alternative The public right to know must outweigh any issues of timing," he said.

Both Fine Gael and the Greens are calling for a full review of how vaccines are approved with Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell suggesting an independent inspector be appointed.


20 Dec 00 - CJD - French BSE may be boon for NZ sheepfarmers

Staff Reporter

NZ Press Association ... Wednesday 20 December 2000


LONDON: France's Mad Cow disease epidemic looms as a boon for New Zealand sheepmeat farmers, as concerned European consumers turn their backs on beef .

France has admitted to more than 200 cases of bovine spongiform encephelopathy (BSE), as Mad Cow disease is formally known, although a British specialist last week put the figure at more than 7000 .

Eating beef infected with BSE may cause a fatal, brain-wasting form of the disorder called new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. British supermarket chains this week stopped buying French beef.

That has opened opportunities for the likes of lamb, mutton, chicken and pork.

Prices for New Zealand sheepmeat exports to Britain - its largest market by volume and value - rose rapidly during the 1996 BSE epidemic.

There is an expectation the smaller-scale French epidemic will have the same effect.

British mutton and lamb was now 10 percent more expensive at the Paris livestock auction market than before the scale of the epidemic was realised, NZPA has been told.

But European Union (EU) quotas meant there was no prospect of shipping more than 225,000 tonnes of New Zealand sheepmeat into Europe, where it was already selling well.

"The market dynamics up here have been quite good without BSE," New Zealand Farmers Ltd London-based managing director Brian Johnston told NZPA.

"BSE will result in a further tightening of supplies. That can only have a positive effect on price. How much that will be, we don't know."

His company, which supplies almost half all the imported lamb in the United Kingdom market, is co-owned by the South Island's Alliance Group, and North Island's Affco New Zealand.

Excitement about the opportunity BSE afforded had to be tempered by marketing and political considerations, Mr Johnston said.

Marketing concerns were that consumers would turn away if prices went too high, causing a price over correction. Shoppers and restaurants might also prefer rival products, such as pork or chicken.

Politically, New Zealand was keen to avoid being seen as taking advantage of French misfortune, or displacing suppliers from other European countries - such as Ireland - that the EU was intended to protect.

Those considerations have seen marketers avoid using New Zealand's BSE-free status as a buying point, a move that European producers could see as an implied slight.

Mr Johnston said sheepmeat buyers already knew New Zealand was BSE-free, and with no more able to imported under the EU quota, there was little benefit and some danger in such an approach.

The news was not as positive for New Zealand beef growers.

Apart from the product being tainted by association with BSE, even if it did not exist in New Zealand, there is intense competition from South American suppliers capable of providing large volumes.

Britain has detected more than 177,000 cases of BSE, but some estimates put its true tally at 900,000 .

A total of 87 people in Britain have contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, all but five of whom have died, according to official figures. France has two confirmed cases and one suspected case, and there has been one case in Ireland. - NZPA


20 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Risk In Uk Because Of Loophole

Staff Reporter

Wales Western Mail ... Wednesday 20 December 2000


British consumers may be eating beefburgers and pies made with meat from countries where Mad Cow disease is increasingly a problem, a Government adviser warned yesterday.

Professor Harriet Kimbell said the loophole in safety regulations was only discovered three months ago.

It means meat from older cattle - which are more at risk from BSE - can legally be brought into Britain from countries such as France, where cases of the disease have risen sharply.

Prof Kimbell, an adviser on the official Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, said the discovery was cause for concern.

It is illegal to import and sell fresh meat from cattle over 30 months old, but manufacturers could quite easily get round this, she said.

"It is not illegal for an English manufacturer to go to Europe in his own lorry, buy fresh meat and make it into meat products such as frozen beefburgers or pies, and sell it in Britain."

She said she had no evidence that manufacturers were actually exploiting the loophole but suspected it was happening.

The 30-month rule was introduced in Britain to stop older cattle entering the food chain. Similar restrictions will come into force across the EU on January 1.


20 Dec 00 - CJD - Germany discovers third BSE case

Staff Reporter

CNN... Wednesday 20 December 2000


Germany is trying to calm consumer fears on sausages

MUNICH, Germany -- A Bavarian cow has been identified as suffering from Mad Cow disease -- the third case of the brain-wasting condition found in Germany.

A health authority spokeswoman in the town of Cham said on Wednesday a test had confirmed the latest case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Germany had maintained for a long time that it was BSE-free. Two of the three cases now discovered come from Bavaria, which produces nearly 30 percent of German beef.

New safety measures were announced by German authorities on Tuesday, the same day Austria , which borders the region to the south and has so far been BSE-free, asked the European Union for permission to ban German beef.

Iran has also now suspended a contract to import 4,300 tonnes of meat from Germany in line with its import ban due to Mad Cow disease in Europe, the daily Hambastegi said on Wednesday. Iran imposed a ban on meat imports from Europe earlier this month.

German Health Minister Andrea Fischer is trying to calm consumer fears about the safety of eating sausages, the national delicacy, after a call by the EU's executive commission to stop the sale of wurst containing beef.

Fischer said there was no need to withdraw wurst from shops because animal parts believed to cause the human equivalent of BSE, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), were no longer used in its production.

"There has been no cow brains in sausage for a year and a day. There is no reason to take dramatic steps," Fischer told German Radio.

She also denied advising consumers to avoid sausage, explaining that her comments a day earlier that she would not be buying wurst were because she did not each much meat anyway.

Fischer urged EU Food Safety Commissioner David Byrne to push for the bloc's ban on animal-based feed to become a permanent fixture and not be limited to six months, as it is at the moment.

"It would be fitting for an EU Commissioner to fight for something like that," said Fischer, a member of the ecologist Greens party that is a junior party in the ruling Berlin coalition.


20 Dec 00 - CJD - UK Watchdog Vows to Close Loopholes in BSE Measures

Reuters

YAHOO... Wednesday 20 December 2000


LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's food watchdog vowed on Wednesday to close any loopholes in measures aimed at protecting consumers from Mad Cow disease, saying it would not hesitate to step up restrictions.

(Mad Cow correspondent's note: The SEAC was misled about this loophole and was unaware of it. However, the FSA has known of the problem for 3 months but has done nothing until the information was leaked into the public domain. The FSA is 90% staffed by ex-MAFF civil servants and is headed up by a government selected scientist selected for his pro-GM views. The FSA has effectively been shown to be a MAFF puppet organisation by this farago and its raison d'etre compromised)

The Food Standards Agency had earlier faced criticism from a government adviser who said Britain might still be selling pies and burgers made from meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

FSA chairman Sir John Krebs said the agency was doing all it could to halt the spread of the brain-wasting disease. ``BSE has caused a harrowing and invariably fatal disease for humans. No other food-borne disease is currently surrounded by so much uncertainty and carries such dreadful consequences,'' Krebs said in a statement.

"We have brought to light loopholes in existing controls and are taking action to close them.''

Harriet Kimbell, a member of the government's advisory committee on BSE, said on Tuesday Britain's restrictions fell short of halting all imports of meat from older cattle, which are more likely to have the brain disease.

She said pies and burgers being sold in Britain, first hit by the disease in 1986, could contain meat from animals over 30 months old , years after the government decided to ban such beef from entering the food chain.

The FSA said, ``The review drew attention to issues related to imported beef and beef products and the difficulty in policing the current rules.''

It said the European Union would tighten BSE controls as of January 1, which would improve safeguards on imported beef, but the agency had asked for more detailed labeling of where meat came from and had ordered more checks on imports.

"(In the meantime) the FSA instructed local authorities to step up enforcement measures on imported beef.''


20 Dec 00 - CJD - CJD bill to soar as NHS cuts surgery risks

James Meikle, health correspondent

Guardian... Wednesday 20 December 2000


The NHS faces the prospect of paying billions of pounds for throwaway surgical instruments as part of the spiralling costs to cut the theoretical risk of patients catching the human form of BSE.

All tonsil operations in Britain - about 85,000 a year - are soon likely to be performed using £400 sets of once only instruments, and this switch to fully disposable equipment in mainstream surgery is likely to be just the forerunner of a change in surgery procedures at NHS and private and military hospitals.

Surgeons and government officials are investigating the use of more disposable instruments in complicated operations including brain and eye surgery where the risks rise for contamination of instruments with rogue prions - the proteins thought to be responsible for variant CJD. Tonsillectomies , not performed as often these days, are usually carried out only on children with frequent tonsilitis.

Dentists and opticians have already been told to buy more single-use equipment and there are tougher measures for decontaminating non-disposable instruments. Government advisers on BSE and vCJD have said that proper sterilisation can substantially reduce levels of infectivity.

A decision about the surgical changes will be made next month .

Some of the 88 victims of vCJD in Britain, five of whom are still alive, have been teenagers but it is not certain either how they were infected or how long the disease was incubating before they displayed the symptoms, which include depression, anxiety and loss of bodily control.

Cheap beef products are still prime suspects behind the disease. Government advisers have said the risk of transmitting the disease via surgical instruments was still "theoretical and unquantifiable". None of the vCJD cases so far has been linked to surgical contamination and it is understood a risk assessment has suggested that disposable instruments for tonsil surgery may only prevent one extra case of vCJD. But the Phillips inquiry into BSE and vCJD called for a "precautionary approach ". Advisers have recognised that some precision equipment for single use could be unaffordable. There could also be problems storing disposables before safely destroyiing them.

The costs of the medical consequences of vCJD are mounting. Measures to cut the risk of vCJD contamination through blood donations are costing £83m a year in England and north Wales alone; the change in tonsil operations would cost another £35m yearly. The treatment of vCJD patients costs beween £6,500 and £40,000 . Instruments used on vCJD patients are already destroyed, including medical equipment costing nearly £30,000 . Yesterday, France became the latest among countries to ban blood donors who have been to Britain between 1980 and 1996.

The news of the measures coincided with new concerns that loopholes in food regulations allowed manufacturers to get round rules making it illegal to import and sell meat from cattle over 30 months old. Harriet Kimbell, a member of Seac, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, said: "It is not illegal for an English manufacturer to go to Europe, buy meat and make it into products like frozen beefburgers, and sell it in Britain."

• A person in the UK whose blood was used in the production of a polio vaccine administered in Ireland, has been diagnosed with vCJD, the Irish government said yesterday. Between January 1998 and January 1999, 83,500 doses of the oral vaccine were distributed, mostly to the young.

The Irish health minister, Micheal Martin, insisted there was no risk of the recipients getting the disease."This person's donation was one of 22,353 [in] a pool. The final dilution was 1 to 63,866."

People are being advised to contact their GPs to find out about affected batches.

• Steven Lunt, 33, a victim of vCJD who died in April, seldom ate beef, an inquest heard yesterday. John Pollard, the south Manchester coroner, said Mr Lunt, of Stockport, died of variant CJD. Health officials are investigating a possible link between the deaths of Mr Lunt and Paul Dickens, 28, who lived near him.


20 Dec 00 - CJD - 'Zero risk' assurance over blood donor with vCJD

Ananova

PA News... Wednesday 20 December 2000


A UK blood donor whose donation was used in the production of a polio vaccine administered in Ireland has been diagnosed as having variant CJD .

Between January 1998 and January 1999, 83,500 doses of the oral vaccine were distributed, mostly to babies and young children, the Irish government has announced.

But Irish Health Minister Michael Martin insists there is no risk of any of the recipients contracting the brain disease.

In a statement, the minister said: "One UK blood donor, the plasma of whose donation was used in Britain to make a batch of the product human serum albumin, has recently been diagnosed as having the variant form of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease .

"This person's donation was one of 22,353 used to make a pool. This in turn was combined with another pool to give a final dilution of 1 to 63,866.

"More detailed checking is taking place in relation to the precise usage of this vaccine.

"It is not possible to state in medicine that there is absolutely zero risk , but expert advice, both national and international, available to the department indicates that in this situation it is almost certainly the case."

There is no longer any UK-sourced plasma material contained in any vaccine in use in Ireland, he said.

Polio vaccine is given to children at the ages of two, four and six months and a booster immunisation is given at primary school entry age.

Adults are also given the vaccine before travelling to certain countries. Concerned parents have been invited to contact their family doctor to discover if their child received a dose from any of the affected batches.


19 Dec 00 - CJD - Civil servants blamed in BSE inquiry will not be disciplined

Patrick Wintour, chief political corresponent

Guardian... Tuesday 19 December 2000


The government has decided no civil servant should be disciplined as a result of the £4bn BSE fiasco , which has blighted agriculture and soured diplomatic relations with France and Germany.

Fifteen civil servants and five ministers were criticised by Lord Phillips's inquiry into the disaster. Many of the civil servants have subsequently resigned or retired.

Ministers responded to the Phillips report two months ago by setting up a review led by Sheila Forbes, a civil service commissioner. Her recommendations may be published in the next few days to lift the shadow hanging over the civil servants' careers.

In setting up the Forbes inquiry, the agriculture secretary, Nick Brown, hinted strongly he was personally opposed to disciplinary action against civil servants.

He told MPs last month: "Whenever serving public servants are subjected to criticism by a public inquiry, the question arises whether any form of disciplinary action should be taken".

He then quoted from the Phillips report, which said: "If those criticised were misguided, they were nonetheless acting in accordance with what they conceived to be the proper performance of their duties".

Mr Brown also stressed in his Commons statement that some of the individuals criticised receive praise from the inquiry, but there is no corresponding list of individuals who are praised.

The Phillips inquiry criticised the individuals, mainly in the Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Health , on the grounds that they should have acted differently in light of the information that they had available at the time.

The bulk of the criticism cen tered on civil servants failing to do more to bring the potential dangers of BSE to ministers attention.

Amongst civil servants criticised include William Rees , chief veterinary officer between 1980 and 1988, and his successor up to 1997, Keith Meldrum .

The report also highlighted deficiencies by Sir Keith Calman the chief medical officer to 1998.

Phillips also attacked the head of the ministry of agriculture animal health division Robert Lowson .

The chief medical officer for Scotland between 1991-1996, Robert Kendell , was also criticised for misleading statements about the safety of beef.

The report also criticised Thomas Eddy , head of Maff animal health (disease control) division from June 1993 for misleading minutes concerning the possibility that CJD cases in young people might prove to be linked with BSE.


19 Dec 00 - CJD - France bans blood from visitors to UK

Staff and agencies

Guardian... Tuesday 19 December 2000


The French government today announced it was banning blood donations of people who spent more than a year in Britain from 1980 to 1996 , a precautionary measure against health risks related to BSE.

The move aimed to screen out donors with a higher risk of exposure to meat tainted with BSE. The brain-wasting ailment originated in Britain in the late 70s, probably as a mutation of a sheep disease. By the mid-90s, Britain was seeing tens of thousands of cases a year.

Fears about BSE and its health risks to humans have surged in France since October, when potentially infected beef was discovered on the country's supermarket shelves. Since then, the government has taken stringent measures to prevent the disease's spread, even banning some cuts as popular as the T-bone steak.

Today's measure was purely precautionary, the government insisted. It said there was no proof that variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, believed to be the human form of BSE, can be transmitted through the blood.

"This decision will be reevaluated in light of any new scientific information that would put in question the risk analysis on which [the decision] is founded," the communique said.

France's move follows a decision last month by the Swiss Red Cross to implement a ban on blood donations from people who lived in Britain between 1980 and 1996.

People are thought to contract vCJD by eating beef infected with BSE. Two people are known to have died in France from the ailment, compared to 81 people in Britain. The disease eats holes in the brain, and no cure has been discovered.

In 1996, the European Union banned imports of beef from Britain, and millions of British cows were incinerated.

The safety of donated blood has been a key concern in France since the "tainted blood" affair of 1985, in which more than 4,000 people contracted the HIV virus from blood transfusions. Many have since died, and several government officials stood trial over the affair.


19 Dec 00 - CJD - German BSE scare boosts sale of horse meat

By Toby Helm in Berlin

Telegraph... Tuesday 19 December 2000


Sales of horse meat are soaring in Germany as more of cases of Mad Cow disease are found in the country's beef cattle. Horse meat butchers are reporting an 80 per cent increase in business, including sausages made with a mixture of horse and pork.

Jens Beerwart, a butcher from Waiblingen, south-west Germany, said that while Germany's beef butchers were suffering, he was thriving. "Everyone is buying it . Old people, young mothers, young couples, single people. People from all walks of life. They think it is safer and it tastes good, like Argentine beef."

Germany's second BSE case was confirmed at a farm in Bavaria on Sunday, increasing consumers' fears about home-produced beef. The first German BSE case was discovered last month. Two other suspect cases, one in Bavaria and another in Baden-Wurttemberg, were reported at the end of last week and are likely to be confirmed by tomorrow.

The arrival of BSE has caused panic among health-conscious Germans who had been told by politicians that their farming and meat hygiene standards were so high they would never have any BSE cases.


19 Dec 00 - CJD - BSE loophole allows old beef imports (SEAC misled)

By Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor

Times... Tuesday 19 December 2000


British food manufacturers can legally import beef over 30-months-old - which may harbour BSE - and use it in their pies and burgers, it emerged last night.

The Government and the Food Standards Agency has so far given a warning about the possible use of beef over 30-months-old in salami , corned beef and other processed beef imported from the continent or of cowboy meat traders operating illegally in Britain.

There was never any hint, until now, that British food processors could lawfully process this potentially dangerous older meat in the UK and then sell it on to the public.

A member of the Government's main BSE advisory committee, the Spongiform Encepalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC), suggested last night that the committee had been misled about the safeguards for British consumers. Harriet Kimbell, the consumer representative on SEAC, flagged up the anomaly at a Ministry of Agriculture press briefing and said the matter was cause for great concern . "The regulations are not as tight as we thought they were."

She said she had no evidence that manufacturers were actually exploiting the loophole but said she suspected it was happening.

Tim Yeo, Shadow Agriculture spokesman, demanded clarification last night from Ministers and from Sir John Krebs, the Food Standards Agency. He said: "This is incredible news and it makes a farce of all our controls."


19 Dec 00 - CJD - New moves to tackle BSE crisis

Associated Press, Reuters, & Staff Reporter

CNN... Tuesday 19 December 2000


Individual nations are introducing their own measures to fight the spread of BSE

LONDON, England -- Fresh moves aimed at stopping the spread of Mad Cow disease have been initiated in three European countries.

Austria said on Tuesday that it wants to ban imports of German beef and cattle, while the French government announced it is to ban blood donations from people who spent more than a year in Britain.

The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis is believed to have originated in the UK, where almost 80 people have died from the disease's human strain, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

And in Bavaria, Germany, emergency measures to tighten up food safety were announced following the discovery of a new case of BSE in cattle.

Meanwhile, a scientist has warned that British consumers may be eating beefburgers and pies made with meat from countries where Mad Cow disease is increasingly a problem because of a loophole in safety regulations.

It is illegal to import and sell meat from cattle over 30-months-old in the UK, but Professor Harriet Kimbell, an adviser on the UK's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, said: "It is not illegal for an English manufacturer to go to Europe in his own lorry, buy fresh meat and make it into meat products such as frozen beefburgers or pies, and sell it in Britain."

In Bavaria, Health Minister Barbara Stamm said the state government would commit 20 million marks ($9 million) to researching the outbreak of BSE and to helping farmers directly affected.

In addition to brain, eyes and spinal tissue, Bavaria is also to eliminate the entire spinal column, intestine and spleen from use in food products such as sausage -- a German national delicacy.

Testing will also be stepped up to ensure banned animal and bone meal -- believed to be the main cause of transmitting BSE between animals -- is not in cattle fodder.

German Health Minister Andrea Fischer said there was no need to withdraw sausage from shops because animal parts believed to cause the human equivalent of BSE were no longer used in its production.

France's decision to ban blood donations affects anyone who spent more than 12 months in Britain from 1980 to 1996.

The move aimed to screen out donors with a higher risk of exposure to meat tainted with Mad Cow disease.

The Swiss Red Cross has already implemented a ban on blood donations from people who lived in Britain between 1980 and 1996.

In Austria, Gerald Gross, press spokesman for Austrian Health Minister Herbert Haupt, said the government expected a reply to its application to ban German beef from the European Commission within 24 hours.


19 Dec 00 - CJD - Imported meat sales drop

Mona El-Fiqi

Al Ahram ... Tuesday 19 December 2000


Following the announcement of a four-week ban on livestock imports from Western Europe, due to the reappearance of Mad Cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopthy known as BSE), sales of imported meat dropped dramatically.

Minister of Internal Trade and Supply Hassan Khedr, on the other hand, said that the ban, put in place on 27 November for an initial period of four weeks, will not affect the market. He went on to assure consumers that a meat shortage is unlikely to occur since imported meat only accounts for 25 per cent of local consumption.

Khedr recommended that importers make arrangements with beef producers in countries such as Australia and the United States.

Nevertheless, Ibrahim Swidan, chairman of the Port Said Modern Trade Development company and a foodstuff trader, believes that the ban will have an impact on the local market. Swidan said that sales of imported meat are expected to decline because of a lack of consumer confidence in procedures being taken to ensure that imports do not violate the ban.

Predicting the impact on prices of locally produced meat is difficult given that foreign beef -- usually imported in frozen form -- is sold at lower prices than locally produced meat.

Consequently, the Food Commodities Council affiliated with the Ministry of Internal Trade and Supply has recommended that Egypt enter into agreements with countries not affected by the ban to facilitate the import of beef.


19 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Measures Fail to Cover Pies, Burgers

By Elizabeth Piper

YAHOO... Tuesday 19 December 2000


Tuesday December 19 1:53 PM ET LONDON (Reuters) - Shops in Britain may still be selling pies and burgers made from meat tainted by Mad Cow disease due to loopholes in measures aimed at keeping BSE (news - web sites) out of the food chain, a government adviser said on Tuesday.

Harriet Kimbell, a member of the government's advisory committee on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), said restrictions fell short of halting all imports of meat from older cattle, which are more likely to have the brain disease.

``There could be processed meat over 30 months old in this country being sold quite legally. Yes, I think it's highly likely don't you?'' Kimbell told a news conference.

``There is a legal loophole ...It is illegal to import fresh meat over 30 months, but it is not illegal for an English manufacturer to drive his own lorry to...Europe and buy fresh meat (over 30 months) and make it into meat products.''

She said it was also not illegal to import pies or processed foods made with meat over 30 months old from countries with BSE.

``It is an anomaly . If we think there shouldn't be meat eaten over 30 months old then I think there shouldn't be meat in pies over 30 months old...And that includes frozen beefburgers.''

Kimbell said the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee had voiced their concerns over the restrictions but it was up to Britain's food watchdog to rethink measures to halt what could become a merry-go-round of infected beef sales.

BSE has spread across Europe since the first UK herd was found with the disease in 1986 and then linked to its human form, new variant Creuztfeldt Jakob disease, 10 years later.

Consumer panic was sparked elsewhere in Europe after French supermarkets said in October they may have unwittingly sold contaminated beef. Then Germany, Spain and other countries reported cases of BSE.

Britain imported 726 tonnes of frozen beef on the bone from France from September of last year until August, and a further 1,318 tonnes of frozen beef. Imports of fresh meat of both types stood at 679 tonnes, the Agriculture Ministry said.

Those imports may also contain meat from cattle under 30 months old that could carry the disease without showing clinical symptoms, scientists have said.

Committee members said they had to put up with unsophisticated tests and a lack of knowledge of the disease for the time being until more money was made available for research.

``Clearly the backbone of the controls in this country is ensuring that animals over 30 months old do not get into this country,'' Chris Bostock, acting chair of the committee, said.

``We have to rely on current validated tests which have only been validated on clinically affected animals...but it is not in the remit of SEAC to change these things.''


19 Dec 00 - CJD - CJD death raises cluster fears

Staff Reporter

BBC... Tuesday 19 December 2000


A coroner has found a Stockport man died from the human form of Mad Cow disease - as experts investigate a second case in the area .

The finding will raise fears of a possible "cluster" of cases in the Greater Manchester area.

Father of three Steven Lunt, who rarely ate beef, died in April from the disease, an inquest heard today.

South Manchester coroner John Pollard recorded a verdict of death from new variant CJD - the origin of which is unknown.

Scientists are investigating links to the death of Paul Dickens, 29, who lived just 250 yards from Mr Lunt.

Mr Dickens died after developing symptoms of the disease including memory lapses and loss of co-ordination.

Mr Lunt, 33, of Adswood, Stockport, Greater Manchester, loved white meat and lamb but only ate beef on very few occasions during his life, his sister Jeanette Littler said.

Ms Littler told the coroner, sitting at Stockport Magistrates Court, that her brother liked to visit McDonald's but only for a chicken burger.

Unemployed Mr Lunt, who was described by his father Keith as being fit and health prior to his illness, developed the symptoms of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease in August 1999, the inquest heard.

He was initially treated in psychiatric care for personality changes and aggression before the diagnosis of vCJD was made.

His condition then deteriorated and Mr Lunt, whose weight plummeted from 13st to 6st, died at St Anne's Hospice, Heald Green, Greater Manchester, on April 12 this year.

Samples sent to the CJD unit in Edinburgh later confirmed the cause of death as being bronchial pneumonia brought on by CJD.

Unknown origin

Pathologist Dr Helen Reid said that the cause of the disease was "in all probability by eating infected beef".

She said she would be extremely surprised if it was caused by anything else.

But Ms Littler, of Melrose Crescent, said even as a child her brother only ate lamb and white meat.

The coroner explained that the normal inquest verdicts available to him were not suitable in Mr Lunt's case as he had heard conflicting evidence from Dr Reid and Ms Littler relating to whether beef was a contributing factor.

He said: "I am going to record the fact that he died from new variant CJD - the origin of which is unknown."

Outside court Mr Lunt's family described how they had watched him struggle before his death.

Ms Littler said he was never ill before the illness struck.

Euthanasia call

His other sister Karen Fitzgerald, 40, added: "When he wasn't sedated he would be crying and begging his dad to kill him.

"I am a nurse and my job is to care for people but I didn't know what to do with him."

Ms Fitzgerald said that euthanasia should be a legal option for victims of vCJD.

"They wouldn't leave animals like that. Look at how many cattle were slaughtered but my brother was just expected to plod on."

Scientists are investigating links to the death of Mr Dickens a possible second case of vCJD in the Adswood area.

Dr David Baxter, consultant in communicable disease control for Stockport Health Authority, said that a preliminary investigation was already.

He said the cause of Mr Dickens's death was yet to be confirmed.

A team of experts would travel to the area to look for connections between the two cases.


18 Dec 00 - CJD - Secrecy over BSE debates may end

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Telegraph... Monday 18 December 2000


Government advisers are debating whether to be more open in their deliberations on Mad Cow disease and variant CJD in the wake of the BSE inquiry, which highlighted how the culture of secrecy contributed to the epidemics.

Experts who advise ministers on BSE and vCJD, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, are divided by a proposal to hold committee discussions in public . The Department of Health confirmed that SEAC has held preliminary discussions on the issue. The move towards greater openness is backed by one of its members, Prof John Collinge of St Mary's Hospital, London, who believes it is necessary "to build public confidence".

Prof Collinge said it was important to show that some scientific and health issues are far from clear-cut, to illustrate the range of opinions and to highlight the uncertainties. But other committee members fear that Seac would be misrepresented by the media.

The report by Lord Phillips that resulted from the BSE inquiry emphasised how "Whitehall secrecy is at the crux of the whole problem", according to Prof Collinge. Although there could be teething problems, Prof Collinge believes that, in the long run, it would be beneficial to open up Seac to public scrutiny.

Prof Collinge acknowledges that when it comes to certain matters, to do with commercial or patient confidentiality, closed sessions will be necessary. "But I don't see why the majority of discussions can't be held in public."

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "What we want is for the public to have as much information as possible, even where some of that evidence or data may be uncertain."

(Mad Cow correspondent's note: Secrecy is a way of life to UK civil servants, similar worthless promises of openness have abounded since 1996, if SEAC meetings are opened to the public then important issues will simply be addressed in closed sessions)


17 Dec 00 - CJD - Stores drop French beef

Staff Reporter

Sunday Times... Sunday 17 December 2000


Some of Britain's biggest food retailers have stopped selling French beef after customer fears over BSE.

Tesco , the biggest grocery chain, confirmed it had carried out a review of its products, including fresh and frozen meat, to ensure that none contained beef from France .

Sainsbury , Asda and Marks & Spencer said they were not selling French beef , though they say their motive is to support British farmers.

The action means French beef is effectively embargoed in Britain's leading food outlets, even though the government has refused to bow to popular pressure for a ban.

Research published last week showed that the risk of eating contaminated French beef could be up to 20 times greater than eating British beef, because more BSE- infected cattle are being slaughtered in France than in Britain. France is continuing to ban British beef in defiance of the European Union.

"There is customer concern about France and we have to recognise that," said Tesco .

All 670 Tesco stores in the UK were checked two months ago for the origin of meat on sale. About 95% of its fresh meat was British. Sainsbury said it had no French beef on sale in its 440 stores and M&S said it had stopped sales, even in its French stores .

France still slaughters cattle for consumption over 30 months old, a practice outlawed in Britain because 30 months is the maximum age at which most animals are deemed to be BSE-free.

Experts say the scale of the problem in France is hidden because many farmers fear that, if they admit cattle are infected, their whole herd could be slaughtered.


17 Dec 00 - CJD - Belgian Expert Bemoans EU Panic Over BSE

Reuters

YAHOO... Sunday 17 December 2000


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium's top Mad Cow expert joined others on Saturday in warning that the European Union (news - web sites)'s latest attempts to stem the spread of the disease smacked of panic and could exacerbate risks to human health.

``The European Union has played panic football under pressure from the consumer,'' Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch of Belgium's Centre for Veterinary and Agrochemcial Research said in an interview with the newspaper De Standaard.

``Instead of bringing the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) risk under control, they have created an even greater public health problem,'' Vanopdenbosch, an adviser to the Belgian government and European Commission, said.

In a bid to restore consumer confidence in beef after reports of fresh Mad Cow cases around the continent, EU farm ministers decided earlier this month to temporarily ban all meat and bone meal in animal feed and to cull older cattle which have not been tested for the disease.

(Mad Cow correspondent's note: see previous articles about the tests only being capable of detecting BSE immediately before clinical symptoms appear and EU admissions that their primary purpose is to re-assure consumers)

Ministers are due to meet again next Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss how to implement the decisions as well as hold a rare televised debate on food safety issues.

But Vanopdenbosch said the EU's decision would create mountains of waste and be hugely expensive.

He said in Belgium alone the meat and bone meal ban would mean one million tons of animal feed would have to be burned at a cost of some $244.8 million . In addition, tons of carcasses would have to be stored until they could be destroyed.

De Morgen newspaper reported on Saturday that Agriculture minister Jaak Gabriels had estimated the cost of burning unwanted meat and bone meal at seven billion francs . He was to hold talks on the issue with regional farm ministers on Monday, ahead of the EU farm ministers meeting.

''I have seen what happens in England,'' he said. ``Rats , cats , dogs , mice run round eating the meal and spreading it around. A big risk , because cats and rodents are also susceptible to BSE,'' he said.

Britain has had a ban on meat and bone meal since 1996 and British scientists have already warned about the health problems posed by having to store tons of animal waste.

There is a Europe-wide shortage of hot furnaces which can destroy the mutated brain proteins that cause BSE.

France, which sparked the latest Mad Cow scare in November following the first confirmed deaths there from new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of BSE, said recently it planned to store meat and bone meal at military bases.

Vanopdenbosch said there was practically no risk to humans who continued to eat beef.

``Even if you eat meat from a Mad Cow, the risk that you will become sick is so small as to be negligible,'' he said, adding that the chances of getting salmonella poisoning were much greater.

Thirty percent of Belgium's pig farms are contaminated by one sort of salmonella , local media reported this week.


17 Dec 00 - CJD - Second Mad Cow case confirmed in Germany

Associated Press

Nando Times ... unday 17 December 2000


MUNICH, Germany (December 17, 2000 12:19 p.m. EST) - Officials confirmed Germany's second case of Mad Cow disease Sunday and were investigating animals from other herds in southern Bavaria state with initial positive results.

Bavaria's Health Ministry confirmed the disease in an animal near the city of Oberallgau. The cow, born in 1995 and one of a herd of 80 animals, was destroyed Wednesday after the initial positive result.

Further tests confirmed the animal had bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, commonly known as Mad Cow disease. The entire herd will now be slaughtered and their brains examined for further signs of the disease.

Europeans have been gripped in a new wave of panic over Mad Cow, fearing the spread of a human form of the fatal brain-destroying ailment, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Officials are also looking at how the animals were fed, as contaminated bone and animal meal in cattle feed are believed to cause Mad Cow disease.

The first confirmed case of the disease in Germany was discovered last month, adding the country to the list in Europe to where BSE has spread.

Two other animals in Bavaria have also tested positive in initial testing and the herds are being isolated as further investigation continues.

Britain ignited Europe's Mad Cow scare when the disease was first identified there in 1995, and infected cows have also recently been discovered in France and Spain. The European Union has passed restrictions on feeding practices to stem the spread of BSE.


15 Dec 00 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease Waning in Europe

Agency

YAHOO... Friday 15 December 2000


STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish experts said on Friday that Mad Cow disease is on the wane in Europe, with new slaughtering and animal feed production rules combining with intensified quality controls to make EU beef safe.

``BSE as a problem is becoming extinct,'' Stig Widell, a senior official at the animal department of the national board of agriculture told a seminar on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the brain-wasting cattle disorder commonly called Mad Cow disease.

The upbeat Swedish assessment came at the end of a year in which Germany, Spain, Portuguese Azores, Poland, Britain Italy and France either reported new BSE cases or where public health authorities are on the alert for fresh outbreaks.

Widell said: ``In all of Europe there will be less than 2,000 reported cases of Mad Cow disease this year.''

By 2002, the total number of Mad Cow incidents in the EU's 15 member states would be a few hundred and in 2003-2004 only a handful compared with the 1992 peak of 36,000 cases, he said.

The EU has now imposed a six-month blanket ban on meat and bone meal (MBM) in all animal feeds, extending an earlier ban on mammal proteins in animal feeds to ruminants.

But some experts warn that unless the carcasses and MBM is disposed of completely, cases of BSE could still crop up, albeit at a more steady rate than so far.

This opinion is based on concerns that some MBM stocks have been exported at knockdown prices to Europe and Africa.

BSE Rare Except In Britain

Marianne Elvander of the Swedish National Veterinary Institute's laboratory said negligent compliance with the meat and bone meal ban was the main reason for the spread of BSE.

Lars Plym-Forsell, senior veterinary inspector at Sweden's National Food Administration, said BSE was quite rare, except in Britain which has reported most cases.

Since the mid-1990s, EU countries have stepped up veterinary checks and tightened slaughter rules to make sure BSE infected tissues do not enter the human food chain, Plym-Forsell said.

Veterinarians believe BSE is caused by a type of protein, called a prion, which cattle cannot digest.

Prions alter the animal's own natural proteins and create an infectious layer on the brain and bone marrow and other tissues linked to the nervous system.

``Overall, the probability that a cow infected with BSE would come all the way to the slaughterhouse is extremely low. At slaughterhouses the tissues that can contain prions are removed and prions have never been detected in meat,'' he said.

The EU recently imposed mandatory BSE checks on all cattle aged over 30 months when slaughtered. Sweden, Finland and Austria, classified as countries unlikely to see a BSE outbreak, do not have to check all animals but will also increase testing.