Document Directory

10 Jan 01 - CJD - German ministers resign over Mad Cow outbreak
10 Jan 01 - CJD - European cosmetics, medicines may be banned for fear of Mad Cow disease
10 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany's BSE crisis claims two ministers
10 Jan 01 - CJD - German ministers quit over BSE
09 Jan 01 - CJD - Bavaria's proposal for Mad Cow crisis contradicts German health agreement
09 Jan 01 - CJD - France blames Britain for its BSE
09 Jan 01 - CJD - New Cases Of 'Mad Cow' Disease In Spanish Cattle
09 Jan 01 - CJD - One possible case of Mad Cow disease in Denmark
09 Jan 01 - CJD - German health minister resigns over Mad Cow disease
09 Jan 01 - CJD - German ministers quit over BSE
09 Jan 01 - CJD - French beef industry threatens to close all abattoirs
08 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Concerns Prompt ID System for Canadian Cattle
08 Jan 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cow' beef ban confuses supermarkets
08 Jan 01 - CJD - France's Mad Cow Measures Opposed
08 Jan 01 - CJD - Protest at Mad Cow measures
08 Jan 01 - CJD - Meat Workers Block Traffic to Protest
08 Jan 01 - CJD - New Mad Cow Tests Threaten Supply Bottlenecks
08 Jan 01 - CJD - Committee to examine Mad Cow threat
08 Jan 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cow' Disease Cases Jump
08 Jan 01 - CJD - Saudi bans beef, mutton imports from EU
08 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease



10 Jan 01 - CJD - German ministers resign over Mad Cow outbreak

By Toby Helm in Berlin

Telegraph- Wednesday 10 January 2001


Two German cabinet ministers in charge of policy on Mad Cow disease resigned last night, dealing a severe blow to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government.

Karl-Heinz Funke, the agriculture minister, and Andrea Fischer, health minister, stepped down after intense criticism of their performances. The double resignation is the most serious crisis for Mr Schroder's Social Democrat/Green coalition since Oskar Lafontaine, the Left-wing finance minister, stormed out of the cabinet early in 1999.

Clearly angry, Mrs Fischer, 40, a member of the Green Party, said: "I have to accept that the trust of citizens in the government's ability to deal with the problem of BSE for their interests has been shattered." She conceded that she had made mistakes, but made it clear that she believed most of the faults lay elsewhere.

In an apparent sideswipe at Mr Funke, a Social Democrat, she referred repeatedly to the need for more emphasis to be put on the interests of German consumers and less on those of farmers who followed "industrial practices", adding that economic interests were threatening public welfare.

Until the end of last November, Mr Funke maintained that Germany was free of BSE and implied that consumers had no reason to worry that this would change. Mrs Fischer took a more pragmatic line, arguing that BSE cases could not be ruled out.

In the past six weeks, after a mass testing of cattle, nine cases of BSE have been confirmed in cattle reared in Germany. There are several more suspected cases. Guido Westerwelle, leader designate of the German Liberal Party, said Mrs Fischer had to resign because her crisis management had been "an absolute catastrophe".

Michael Glos, a senior member of the Christian Social Union said: "We see with interest that the Schroder government is dissolving. Within two years Schroder has lost seven ministers."

Strong criticism of the two German ministers had come not only from within the country, but also from the European Commission in Brussels which accused them of failing to support and implement policies drawn up to protect consumers.

Ten days ago it emerged that the government's own scientific advisers had warned ministers in April to expect the first cases of BSE. But Mr Funke's line remained the same until the first suspected case was reported in November.

Last week, Mr Schröder publicly backed both ministers, saying no constructive purpose would be served by searching for scapegoats. But he set up an inquiry into BSE under the leadership of a respected Christian Democrat politician, Hedda von Wedel. On Monday she called for the creation of a separate ministry for consumer protection.

Mr Funke, a farmer himself, said he had decided to go because he could not accept plans for a switch away from industrial farming methods to a greener form of agriculture proposed by Mr Schröder. He wanted "to make the way clear for the new way of farming".

It has been known for many weeks that Mrs Fischer and Mr Funke did not see eye to eye over the BSE crisis and that serious problems had arisen in co-ordination of policy between their two ministries.

">

10 Jan 01 - CJD - New 'Mad Cow ministers' to be named

Ananova

PA News- Wednesday 10 January 2001


Replacements for two cabinet ministers who quit the German government over the Mad Cow crisis are to be named.

Ulla Schmidt, a Social Democrat, will be named to replace Andrea Fischer, a Green, at the top of the Health Ministry.

Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke also quit because he wanted to "clear the way for a new beginning" in agriculture politics.

His replacement is not immediately known.

Ms Fischer stepped down in hopes of restoring confidence in the country's efforts to battle the bovine disease.

She had been accused of ignoring warnings by government experts on industry practices and putting farmers' interests ahead of consumers'.

"I must acknowledge that the confidence of German citizens in the government's ability to solve the (Mad Cow) crisis has been shaken," she says


10 Jan 01 - CJD - European cosmetics, medicines may be banned for fear of Mad Cow disease

By Kim Hyung-jin Staff reporter

Korea Herald- Wednesday 10 January 2001


The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) has launched a safety inspection of some European cosmetics and medicines that use cows' placenta as a preventative measure against a possible influx of Mad Cow disease in the nation, officials said.

"Although there is no scientific evidence that human beings can be infected with Mad Cow disease, we should be prepared for the worst case scenario ," a KFDA official said.

The decision follows similar moves in Japan and Australia , which have banned or are currently considering banning the European cosmetics and medicines , the official said, while requesting not to be identified.

"We will cautiously watch other countries' measures concerning the European cosmetics and medicines, and are collecting relevant information from abroad," he added.

"Based on the gathered information, we will make a final decision by the end of this month whether to prohibit the imports of these European products produced by the cow's extracts," the official said.

Cows' placenta is widely used in European cosmetics for its apparent anti-aging properties as well as its materials of neuron surgery and dentistry.

Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in medical terminology, hit Europe when it was initially reported in England in early 1996. Once infected, the animal's brain is severely contracted by "sponge-like" microscopic vacuoles appearing in neurons. Since then, several millions of cows have been slaughtered to prevent the spreading of the disease throughout Europe.

Although "Mad Cow disease" is scientifically known only to afflict animals, hundreds of people are found to suffer Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD, a disease with similar symptoms to the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

The CJD affects both men and women of all ethnicities mostly between the ages of 50 to 75 years. It occurs worldwide, affecting one out of every one million people each year.


10 Jan 01 - CJD - Germany's BSE crisis claims two ministers

John Hooper in Berlin

Guardian- Wednesday 10 January 2001


Germany's centre-left government was last night pitched into crisis by the resignation of two cabinet ministers accused of mishandling the fallout from the spread of BSE.

The sudden turn of events posed a new threat to British farming since the politician tipped to take over as Germany's health minister is best known as a determined opponent of the lifting of the ban on beef imports from Britain.

The departures of Andrea Fischer, the health minister, and Karl-Heinz Funke, the agriculture minister, represented the biggest shock to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's administration since the resignation of his controversial finance minister, Oskar Lafontaine, in early 1999.

The chancellor's own judgment is under scrutiny in this latest crisis. Until last Friday, Mr Schröder backed both ministers in the face of media and opposition claims that their handling of the BSE crisis was a shambles. Their resignations suggest he has been driven by the outcry into an abrupt change of direction.

They also marked the latest phase in a giddying turn-around in the fortunes of the government which, until recently, had been riding high in opinion polls. Since Christmas, three of the most senior ministers in Mr Schröder's Social Democrat-Green party coalition have come under sustained attack.

Joschka Fischer, the foreign minister (no relation of Ms Fischer), has had to fend off calls for his resignation following the publication of photographs from his radical youth showing him beating a fallen policeman.

The defence minister, Rudolf Scharping, is under pressure because of the Europe-wide controversy over the use of depleted uranium weapons in Kosovo and the finance minister, Hans Eichel, is in trouble over allegations that he used air force planes for journeys unconnected with his work as a minister.

Mr Schröder was last night expected to hand the health portfolio to Bärbel Höhn as a way of signalling a new and more decisive handling of the BSE crisis.

As environment minister in Germany's biggest regional administration - that of North Rhine-Westphalia - Ms Höhn, a member of the Green party, attracted widespread attention for her warnings that BSE could spread to Germany. She fought long and loud against last year's lifting of the ban on the purchase of British beef.

The discovery in November that BSE had entered German herds came as a profound shock to a nation of big meat eaters whose ministers, led by Mr Funke, had insisted German farms were free of Mad Cow disease. By yesterday, the number of confirmed BSE cases had grown to 10.

Ms Fischer, a leading member of the Green party, first fell foul of the crisis last month when she was forced into a u-turn over the need to recall sausages containing mechanically retrieved meat products.

She later admitted that a warning from government experts on practices in the sausage industry had lain unattended for 10 days in her ministry.

As the crisis unfolded, it began to resemble a three-way battle between the health and agriculture ministries and the European commission. Brussels said a warning of the possible spread of BSE to Germany had gone unheeded in Berlin and criticised Mr Schröder's government for not taking more strenuous measures after the crisis broke.

Choked by emotion at her farewell press conference, Ms Fischer said: "Everyone should take responsibility for their own mistakes".

She said the chancellor had expressed regret at her decision, which she insisted was hers alone.

In a peculiarly damaging admission for the government she left behind, Ms Fischer admitted that "the confidence of German citizens in the government's ability to solve the [BSE] crisis has been shaken".

Mr Schröder's problems will increase before they abate. Next week, Joschka Fischer is due to give evidence at the trial on terrorism charges of a friend from his days as a militant radical. The case has focused attention on his past, and in particular his attitude to violent protest.

Last night, representatives of the two parties in coalition were meeting at the chancellery in Berlin to discuss and whether the cabinet should be reshuffled following the departure of Ms Fischer and Mr Funke, a Social Democrat.


10 Jan 01 - CJD - German ministers quit over BSE

Staff Reporter

BBC- Wednesday 10 January 2001


Two German ministers at the heart of the country's growing crisis over Mad Cow disease have announced their resignations.

Health Minister Andrea Fischer and Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke had faced accusations of complacency over Mad Cow disease and its human equivalent, vCJD.

Germany had always insisted its cattle were BSE-free, but several cases have been discovered since November, sparking a collapse in consumer confidence.

Ms Fischer, in an emotional news conference broadcast live on German television, said she had offered her resignation to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in an attempt to try to restore consumer confidence.

"I hope that by resigning I can contribute to an end of the revelations and help promote a return to business as usual," said Ms Fischer, a member of the Green Party.

She said she hoped the crisis would lead to a change of attitude towards consumer health, and she felt she could best serve that cause by resigning.

It was not made clear whether Mr Schroeder had accepted her resignation.

The resignation came only two days after the two ministers had proposed new measures to tackle BSE.

Tough questions

Ms Fisher proposed a reduction in the age at which German cattle are screened for the disease, which is linked to the fatal Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans.

Mr Funke put forward a plan to tighten food safety inspections.

The proposals came as the duo faced tough questions about their handling of the BSE crisis at a parliamentary committee meeting.

In the all-day emergency meeting, the ministers were asked to respond to allegations that they knew almost a year ago that German beef was not as safe as the public thought.

At present, tests only apply to animals older than 30 months.

Consumer groups and media commentators have expressed anger that the public was being reassured about the safety of German beef until late last year - shortly before the first case was discovered.


09 Jan 01 - CJD - Bavaria's proposal for Mad Cow crisis contradicts German health agreement

By Peter Thelen Handelsblatt

Wall Street Journal- Tuesday 9 January 2001


BERLIN -- Bavaria is breaking rank with the rest of Germany on After a meeting in Munich attended by representatives from trade associations and the scientific community, state Premier Edmund Stoiber said Bavaria's cabinet will approve a moratorium on the policy of killing all the calves in a stall if one of them has tested positive for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease.

The move would make Bavaria the first German state to violate the agreement between the Agriculture Ministry and federal states regarding the killing of entire herds based on the detection of one case of BSE.

Mr. Stoiber, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union, argued that there haven't been any cases yet in which a detection of BSE in one calf was followed by a another case in the same herd. He proposed that the cattle should be kept for 30 months, then slaughtered and only processed as meat products after testing negative for BSE.

Bavaria's Health Minister Barbara Stamm, also a member of the CSU party, said that the use of milk from cows in herds with one case of BSE should be allowed as well.

Bavaria is pushing for a long-term solution comparable to the Swiss model, by which only the direct ancestors and descendants of a cow testing positive for BSE have to be killed within one year, and the other cattle in the herd have to be placed under veterinary observation.


09 Jan 01 - CJD - France blames Britain for its BSE

By Patrick Bishop

Telegraph- Tuesday 9 January 2001


Britain has been criticised for introducing Mad Cow disease to France by Jean Glavany, French Agriculture Minister. He said Britain would be "judged morally" for having exported cattle feed containing ground-up bone and meat, believed to be the cause of BSE.

He told El Mundo, the Spanish newspaper: "It's our English friends who exported this disease. Morally, one day they will have to be judged for that, because they granted themselves the luxury of banning the use of these feeds at home while allowing them to be exported. From a moral point of view this is indefensible."

He spoke as angry meat workers blocked motorways around France, creating gigantic traffic jams, in protest at the government's handling of the crisis. M Glavany has previously said that he had no wish to "point the finger" over the outbreak of BSE, which after years of official complacency has now been shown to be established in French herds.

From his change of tone, it would appear that the government is trying to deflect criticism of its response. Public alarm at BSE reached panic levels last autumn and anger at the government's performance has risen in the beef industry.

Meat workers barricaded major roads around Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Lyon yesterday, paralysing traffic. About 500 lorries and 1,000 demonstrators took part. They are threatening to close all abbatoirs next week unless their demands for compensation for losses caused by the crisis are met.

The meat industry says it has been devastated by a government decision to test all cows slaughtered for BSE. Lack of test facilities has meant that the supply of guaranteed BSE-free meat to supermarkets and butchers has dwindled, so although the measure has raised consumer confidence, and beef is back on the menu at home and in canteens and restaurants, shoppers are having trouble finding it.

Henri Demaegt, president of the wholesalers Normandy Meat told Le Monde: "We have already seen our business collapse since October. The decision of the minister to implement systematic BSE-testing, which we approve in principle, has nonetheless resulted in not enough animals being authorised for consumption. Animals stay on the farm because they can't be tested. Our lorries stay in the garage."

M Glavany appealed for European countries to be honest about BSE infection, saying that the spread of contaminated feed across the continent had spared no one. "Given that we all imported hundreds of thousands of tons of English feed between 1985 and 1995, the worst time, there's no reason to believe that any one country has escaped."

A British expert said that M Glavany had "oversimplified" the position and denied that Britain had imposed a domestic ban on animal feed containing bone and meat while selling it abroad. "M Glavany has made factual errors in the past," he added.

Since 1991, 242 cases of BSE have been found in French herds, compared with more than 170,000 in Britain.


09 Jan 01 - CJD - New Cases Of 'Mad Cow' Disease In Spanish Cattle

Staff Reporter

Town Crier - Tuesday 9 January 2001


Three new cases of "Mad Cow disease" have been discovered in cattle in Spain, bringing the total number of animals affected to five. However, the agricultural authorities insist that isolated cases can be expected and there is no danger of an epidemic because of strict controls carried out throughout the country.

The latest cases are in Leon and Lugo, and the two previous incidences were in Lugo and La Coruna. The Minister of Agriculture, Miguel Arias Canete, says there is no risk to human health, and meat eaten by the Spanish population is completely guaranteed.


09 Jan 01 - CJD - One possible case of Mad Cow disease in Denmark

Ananova

Press Association - Tuesday 9 January 2001


A possible case of Mad Cow disease has been detected in northern Denmark.

Danish media said a second cow had been slaughtered because it showed the same symptoms, but officials could not immediately confirm that case.

The cow's head was sent to laboratories in Britain for verification that it suffered from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Tests done in Denmark were positive, the Food Ministry said.

"One animal had showed symptoms of the disease," state veterinarian Birgit Hendriksen said. The animal, which was born and bred in Denmark, died in December. It was not slaughtered.

The rest of the 110-head milk herd in Fjerritslev has been under observation since December 6, Dr Hendriksen added. Fjerritslev is 300km north-west of Copenhagen.

The results from Britain are expected in a week.

TV2 reported a second case on the same farm and said the animal was slaughtered in December because it suffered from spasms - a symptom of BSE. Officials could not be reached for comment.

The first case of BSE in Denmark was recorded in 1992. It was found on a cow imported from Scotland.

The second case of BSE - and the first case found on a Danish-born milk cow - was detected in January 2000 near Rebild, northern Denmark. The cow was destroyed and the 70-head herd was slaughtered protectively.

Mad Cow disease has caused a panic in Europe since the late 1980s after British cattle contracted it. BSE has been linked to a fatal brain disease in humans called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. About 80 people have died of the disease in Britain since 1995.


09 Jan 01 - CJD - German health minister resigns over Mad Cow disease

By Thomas Rietig

Independent- Tuesday 9 January 2001


Germany's health minister resigned today amid persistent allegations that she has mishandled the country's growing Mad Cow disease crisis, and government sources said her counterpart in the agricultural ministry also planned to step down. "I must acknowledge that the confidence of German citizens in the government's ability to solve the (Mad Cow) crisis has been shaken," Andrea Fischer, a Greens party member, said at a hastily called evening news conference, where she appeared to be choking back tears.

Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke was also to resign in the wake of the crisis, government sources said. Asked whether Funke also would step down, Fischer declined comment. Fischer faced growing calls from the opposition and consumer groups to step down after she admitted that a warning by government experts about sausage industry practices "apparently lay around for 10 days" in her ministry and reports surfaced that there had been similar warnings for years.

Criticism from European Union officials last month forced Fischer to call on food producers to withdraw sausages from stores suspected of containing possibly infected beef. Germany insisted for years its domestically born herds were free of the disease, but has faced a growing crisis since the first case was identified in November.

The number of confirmed Mad Cow cases grew to 10 today. The health and agriculture ministries have been trading accusations over who dropped the ball on Germany's handling of the Mad Cow crisis.

"Everyone should take responsibility for their own mistakes," a dejected-looking Fischer said, adding that a decision on her successor has not yet been made.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had previously defended both embattled ministers against the allegations. Fischer said Schroeder expressed "regret" at her decision, but that it was hers alone. She said she felt fully supported by the chancellor.

A government-appointed commission began work on Monday on a plan to combat Mad Cow disease. The commission's chairwoman, Hedda Von Wedel, said she was aiming to issue recommendations on consumer protection by summer, a target she admitted was "ambitious." Scientists have linked the fatal cattle disease to a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a similar brain-destroying ailment in humans that has killed more than 80 people, mostly in Britain.

Already, five Cabinet members - three of them ministers - have resigned since Schroeder and the Social Democrats won power in September 1998.

Transportation Minister Reinhard Klimmt, who replaced Franz Muentefering, stepped down in November under pressure from his own Social Democrats to distance the party from his role in allegedly funneling illegal donations to a soccer club he ran. The most prominent other departure was that of flamboyant former Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine, who quit in a power struggle with the chancellor.


09 Jan 01 - CJD - German ministers quit over BSE

Staff Reporter

BBC- Tuesday 9 January 2001


Two German ministers at the heart of the country's growing crisis over Mad Cow disease have announced their resignations.

Health Minister Andrea Fischer and Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke had faced accusations of complacency over Mad Cow disease and its human equivalent, vCJD.

Germany had always insisted its cattle were BSE-free, but several cases have been discovered since November, sparking a collapse in consumer confidence.

Ms Fischer, in an emotional news conference broadcast live on German television, said she had offered her resignation to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in an attempt to try to restore consumer confidence.

"I hope that by resigning I can contribute to an end of the revelations and help promote a return to business as usual," said Ms Fischer, a member of the Green Party.

She said she hoped the crisis would lead to a change of attitude towards consumer health, and she felt she could best serve that cause by resigning.

It was not made clear whether Mr Schroeder had accepted her resignation.

The resignation came only two days after the two ministers had proposed new measures to tackle BSE.

Tough questions

Ms Fisher proposed a reduction in the age at which German cattle are screened for the disease, which is linked to the fatal Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans.

Mr Funke put forward a plan to tighten food safety inspections.

The proposals came as the duo faced tough questions about their handling of the BSE crisis at a parliamentary committee meeting.

In the all-day emergency meeting, the ministers were asked to respond to allegations that they knew almost a year ago that German beef was not as safe as the public thought.

At present, tests only apply to animals older than 30 months.

Consumer groups and media commentators have expressed anger that the public was being reassured about the safety of German beef until late last year - shortly before the first case was discovered.


09 Jan 01 - CJD - French beef industry threatens to close all abattoirs

By John Lichfield in Paris

Independent- Tuesday 9 January 2001


All French abattoirs may close next week unless the government sorts out the chaos caused by a new policy of more widespread testing of cattle for Mad Cow disease. Mandatory testing of all slaughtered cattle over 30 months old was introduced from 1 January, six months ahead of a similar EU plan, although France does not have enough licensed vets and laboratories to do the research.

Abattoirs have been forced to turn away animals ready for slaughter. Some abattoirs have closed because no vets are available to test animals.

More than 500 trucks belonging to beef shippers and traders blocked motorways into Paris yesterday to protest and demand compensation. Traffic jams tailed back 20 miles on the A13 from Normandy.

The Agriculture Minister, Jean Glavany, who has been criticised for the hasty introduction of the BSE test law, went on the attack.

He said Britain was "morally" responsible for the spread of Mad Cow disease to the Continent because it had allowed suspect animal feed to be exported. "It is our English friends who exported this evil," he said in an interview with a Spanish newspaper. "Morally, they should be judged for that one day. They even allowed themselves the luxury of banning the use of such feed [in Britain] while allowing it to be exported. From a moral view-point, that is unacceptable."

Britain acknowledges the Conservative government of the late 1980s and early 1990s had such as policy, when there was no legal restriction on such sales. Hence, Mr Glavany's insistence on Britain's "moral responsibility".

Under the rules introduced in France on 1 January, all cattle more than 30 months old slaughtered in abattoirs must be tested for BSE before the meat can be sold. More than 20,000 cattle a week need to be tested but the available laboratories and vets can deal with only 5,000. In Normandy and Brittany, abattoirs have closed because no testing service is available. The Agriculture Ministry promises to increase the nationwide capacity to 20,000 tests by the end of next week.

Mr Glavany has been accused by the meat industry of rushing, and bungling, introduction of the new tests because of the government's haste to reassure consumers that meat in the shops is safe.

French beef truckers and processors, who staged yesterday's protest, said they would close the industry next week unless they received firmer assurances, and compensation, from the government.

The testing of older cattle, after they are slaughtered but before their meat enters the food chain, becomes mandatory in the EU from July. Several countries, including France, started the tests early to try to calm consumer fears.

Britain already bans the sale of beef from animals more than 30 months old, the time, scientists believe, that BSE develops in a communicable form.


08 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Concerns Prompt ID System for Canadian Cattle

By Kanina Holmes

YAHOO- Monday 8 January 2001


WINNIPEG (Reuters) - At a time of mounting public fear about food safety, underscored by the ``Mad Cow'' crisis, all Canadian cattle sold must soon wear an eartag to make it easier to track down the source of any disease.

The Canadian Cattle Identification program, which went into effect this week, will see most of the 4 million calves born annually pierced with a tag carrying a unique ID number whenever they leave their herd of origin.

``It's all about animal health, it's all about food safety. It's all about consumer confidence,'' John Morrison, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, told Reuters.

``We need to be able to trace back really quickly and eliminate those diseased animals so the rest of the national herd is protected,'' said Morrison.

The number will identify the exact location of the farm where a beef or dairy cow was born. The new program was designed to trace an animal within hours.

The need for a mandatory and widespread trace-back program, was underscored on Friday as Australia and New Zealand announced they would ban the import all European beef products because of concerns about the spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Starting July 1, Canadian meat processors will begin using the numbers, to be stored in a national electronic database, to identify carcasses from the point of inspection.

``We feel it's a huge risk if we don't do something at this point,'' said Julie Stitt, general manager of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency.

Last November, a European Commission report criticized the ability of Canadian inspectors to track cattle if there ever was an outbreak of BSE in the country.

The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico already have international livestock identification programs.

Canada exports 50% of the beef and dairy cattle it produces--an industry worth C$2.75 billion in 1999--with most of it sold to the US.

Last August, the United States Department of Agriculture told its cattle producers that they had 3 years to develop a satisfactory ID scheme.

Industry representatives said they are implementing a program now, in part because they wanted to avoid the costs and rigors of a government-imposed ID system such as the one administered in the UK.

''We're hoping a lot of the enforcement is industry driven,'' said Stitt, from her office in Alberta.

Canadian producers have until July 1, 2002 to comply. After that, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the federal body responsible for the health of Canada's herds, will begin fining farmers who have not tagged their animals.

``It's about ensuring the future of the cattle market, both domestically and offshore,'' said Morrison, adding that Japan has already informed his association that it would be looking to trade with countries who could guarantee that their livestock were disease free.


08 Jan 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cow' beef ban confuses supermarkets

Chris Daniels, consumer reporter

News New Zealand Herald- Monday 8 January 2001


09.01.2001 - Confusion marked the first day of a ban on European beef products yesterday, as goods were taken from supermarket shelves, then just as quickly put back.

New Zealand and Australian health authorities announced the "import suspension" on Friday, advising supermarkets to withdraw products from countries infected with BSE, or Mad Cow disease.

BSE has been implicated in the deaths of 85 young people from the brain-wasting disease variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). The disease has never been found in New Zealand.

Three types of Robinsons baby food have been removed from supermarket shelves, unlikely to return for some time. The beef drink Bovril has also gone, while it is checked for compliance. Oxo beef cubes were taken off sale, then quickly put back after manufacturer Unilever said they contained no beef, only artificial beef flavour.

It is now illegal to bring European beef products into New Zealand unless they can be shown to come from a BSE-free herd. Woolworths' strategic development manager, Des Flynn, said the retail chain was told about the import suspension on Friday afternoon, but not which products to remove. It was hard for the company to work out exactly what to take off the shelves. "It's quite difficult and messy the way the whole thing has been handled. It was Friday afternoon when we had a teleconference call. They weren't able to give us any list of products or brands we should be looking for."

Mr Flynn said Woolworths put together its own list of "at-risk categories," then sent teams of staff up and down every aisle to check for them.

Mark McDonough, owner of Zarbo Delicatessen & Cafe in Newmarket, said all his salamis came from Australia. As far as he knew it was not legal to sell European salami.

He did not know whether gelatin, which was included in many European chocolates, would also be caught up in the ban.

The Ministry of Health's chief medical adviser, Dr Colin Feek, said the potential risk of gelatin, which comes from rendered-down beef bones, had already been studied carefully, but monitoring would continue.

Gelatin is used to stabilise many foods and is included in cosmetics and ointments. It is also used to make drug capsules and coat pills.

"The World Health Organisation has given advice... for a number of years now that the bovine part of gelatin has been derived largely from non-EU countries. They are usually Australia, New Zealand, Argentina or the United States." Most drug companies are moving towards non-animal gelatin alternatives.

* Anyone with questions can ring the Ministry of Health on 0800-938-839 or visit its website at www.moh.govt.nz


08 Jan 01 - CJD - France's Mad Cow Measures Opposed

Associated Press

Las Vegas Sun - Monday 8 January 2001


PARIS (AP) -- Slaughterhouse owners and meat transporters blocked traffic for hours at toll booths in France on Monday to protest stringent new rules on testing cattle for Mad Cow disease.

The government's plan to screen 20,000 animals per week hurts an industry already battered by Mad Cow fears, beef industry unions said. They blocked roads into Paris, Rennes, Lyon and Bordeaux.

In a statement, three protesting unions said they felt let down by the government.

The European Union has ordered that all cows older than 30 months be tested at slaughterhouses before they enter the food chain. Older cows are considered more vulnerable to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE, the fatal, brain-wasting disease known as Mad Cow disease.

Experts believe infected meat can cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a similar illness in humans. About 80 people have died of the disease in Britain since 1995.

In France, where two people have died of the disease, consumer confidence in beef slumped after potentially infected meat wound up on grocery store shelves in October. Many schools have taken beef off the menu, and several cuts of meat have been banned.

In Germany, a government-appointed commission began work Monday on a plan to combat Mad Cow disease. Seven cows have tested positive for BSE since it first was detected in Germany in November.

The commission's chairwoman, Hedda Von Wedel, said she was aiming to issue recommendations on consumer protection by summer, a target she admitted was "ambitious."

German Agriculture Minister Karl-Heinz Funke has been criticized by the European Union's health and consumer affairs commissioner for ignoring an EU warning last March that Mad Cow disease would likely be found in Germany.

Funke, who insists his assurances that beef was safe were based on reports from an international agency for animal diseases in Paris, has said Germany's states refused federal appeals last year to step up testing.


08 Jan 01 - CJD - Protest at Mad Cow measures

Associated Press

Independent- Monday 8 January 2001


beef industry unions today blocked traffic for hours at toll booths in Rennes, Lyon, Bordeaux and Paris to protest stringent new government-ordered testing for Mad Cow disease.

The A13 and A1 highways near Paris were among the routes blocked by slaughterhouse owners, meat transporters and other professionals who say the ambitious plan to screen 20,000 animals every week is hurting an industry already battered by Mad Cow fears.

In a statement, three protesting unions said they felt "let down by the government.

The protesters called for a lifting of the blockade in the early afternoon.

As fears about Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, peaked in November, the 15-nation European Union decided that all cows more than 30 months old would be tested at slaughterhouses before they could enter the food chain.

Older cows are considered to be at higher risk from the fatal, brain-wasting disease.

Experts believe infected meat can cause people to contract Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a similar illness. Two people have died of the disease in France, compared to about 80 in Britain, where the disease was identified in 1995.

In France, consumer confidence in beef slumped after it was discovered that potentially infected meat had wound up on grocery store shelves in October. Since then, many school cafeterias have taken beef off the menu, and several cuts - such as the T-bone - have been banned.


08 Jan 01 - CJD - Meat Workers Block Traffic to Protest

AP/Jacques Brinon

Fox News- Monday 8 January 2001


Monday, January 8, 2001 PARIS - Slaughterhouse owners and meat transporters blocked traffic for hours at toll booths in France on Monday to protest stringent new rules on testing cattle for Mad Cow disease.

The government's plan to screen 20,000 animals per week hurts an industry already battered by Mad Cow fears, beef industry unions said. They blocked roads into Paris, Rennes, Lyon and Bordeaux.

"We have colossal losses, and our sales are down," said Nicholas Douzain, director of the FNICGV union of slaughterhouse employees. "We're going to have to close down if our demands aren't taken into account."

Douzain's union wants the government to absorb the costs of testing.

After snagging morning rush hour traffic, the protesters began lifting their blockades in the early afternoon.

As fears about Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, peaked in November, the 15-nation European Union decided that all cows more than 30 months old would be tested at slaughterhouses before they could enter the food chain.

Older cows are considered to be at higher risk from the fatal, brain-wasting disease. France started implementing the program this month.

Experts believe infected meat can cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a similar illness in humans. About 80 people have died of the disease in Britain since 1995.

In France, where two people have died of the disease, consumer confidence in beef slumped after potentially infected meat wound up on grocery store shelves in October. Many schools have taken beef off the menu, and several cuts of meat - such as the T-bone - have been banned as a precaution.

Adding to the panic, reported cases of Mad Cow disease jumped in France in 2000, in part because the government-broadened screening. About 150 cows were found with the disease in France in 2000, compared to 31 in 1999.

In neighboring Germany, where seven cases of the animal ailment have been reported, a government-appointed commission began work Monday on a plan to combat Mad Cow disease. The commission's chairwoman, Hedda Von Wedel, said she was aiming to issue recommendations on consumer protection by summer, a target she admitted was "ambitious."

The commission is part of Germany's efforts to calm consumer fears over Mad Cow disease. Officials there have been criticized for maintaining that German beef was safe until shortly before the first case of infection was discovered in November.


08 Jan 01 - CJD - New Mad Cow Tests Threaten Supply Bottlenecks

By David Evans

YAHOO- Monday 8 January 2001


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - beef is being kept off the European Union market as authorities struggle with new rules to ban older meat from the food chain unless found free of Mad Cow disease, officials said on Monday.

In response to rising numbers of Mad Cow cases across Europe, all meat from cattle aged over 30 months now has to be tested for the brain-wasting disorder, but a lack of facilities is holding up the delivery of meat to the shops.

In France, cattle dealers brought gridlock to roads around Paris in protest of the government's handling of the crisis, and in Italy the government announced a new Mad Cow task force.

According to the Belgian Federation of Slaughterhouses, a lack of suitable testing laboratories was already causing mounting supply bottlenecks.

``There are not only too few analyzes, but the test results are too slow to come through,'' it said in a statement.

``The freezers in the slaughterhouses are full. The carcasses cannot be released for human consumption.''

The new measures bring continental Europe into line with Britain, which barred meat from animals over 30 months in the wake of the Mad Cow crisis in the early 1990s.

Britain's Over Thirty Months Scheme (OTMS) has resulted in millions of cattle being slaughtered at a cost of billions of pounds.

French Protests

French Farm Minister Jean Glavany was due to hold urgent talks on Monday with meat industry representatives amid growing criticism of a ``climate of confusion.''

There are so far only 18 laboratories in France certified by the government to perform the tests, leading to beef piling up in cold storage pending the results.

Louis Orenga, director of France's Meat Information Center, predicted beef prices in some areas could rise between one and two francs per kilo because of a lack of available supplies.

But he said the confusion could dissuade consumers from returning to beef.

``We're giving consumers the impression that this situation is not being managed well,'' he told Reuters.

``We're going to have another case in which consumers see dysfunction at all levels.''

In Italy, testing had also got off to a slow start.

The health ministry said the supplier of equipment needed to carry out the tests was struggling to meet demand and it would be a few more weeks before the program could begin.

Untested Cattle destroyed

Untested beef is eligible for a ``purchase for destruction'' scheme -- under which farmers are paid to have older cattle destroyed if no tests are available -- but the program, mostly funded from EU coffers, has also had its teething problems.

Again the problem was insufficient capacity, officials said.

``There are bottlenecks at the rendering plants, and this is a big problem,'' Jean-Luc Meriaux of the Brussels-based European Meat Trading Association (UECBV) told Reuters.

``The scheme has not been very well implemented.''

In Spain there have also been signs that the disposal of carcasses will not be easy. Some 300 cattle were recently found rotting at the bottom of a disused mine in the northwestern Galicia region, where the majority of the country's Mad Cow cases have been discovered.

However, some countries were confident of carrying out full testing and reported only minor problems.

The Association of Danish Meat Manufacturers was optimistic capacity was sufficient to test up to 260,000 animals a year.

The Dutch farm ministry said the daily capacity for 2,500 cattle had yet to be reached, but that it had only minor teething problems with the testing program.


08 Jan 01 - CJD - Committee to examine Mad Cow threat

AAP

The Age- Monday 8 January 2001


The federal government is setting up a committee to investigate risks to the Australian food supply posed by Mad Cow disease as European beef products are today removed from shop shelves.

Imports of all beef and beef products from Europe will be suspended from today, with the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) announcing it will take steps to safeguard the food supply against the effects of the deadly Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

The ban is in place for imported foods such as tinned corned beef, luncheon meat, frankfurters and other products which contain beef with a European country of origin.

"This ban is temporary to the extent that we are examining the evidence and the science and the federal government will be setting up an expert committee with the National Health and Medical Research Council to further examine the issue," ANZFA spokesman Steve Crossley told the Nine Network's Today program.

"But I do not envisage these measures will be relaxed unless exporting countries provide us with evidence showing they are BSE free."

BSE had not been found in such products in Australia, but the ban would continue until a certification system was in place whereby European countries could show the products were BSE free, Mr Crossley said.

The ban means no European beef products can enter Australia, but those already in the country could take days to disappear from shelves, with ANZFA encouraging but not forcing shop owners to remove them.

"It's a voluntary withdraw because the risk is extremely low," Mr Crossley said.

"We want to be absolutely on the safe side.

"The indications we've had from retailers are that it will take a few days to identify the suspect products.

"And the advice we're giving consumers are that they should themselves also check product labels for beef processed products and tinned products.

"I should emphasise that fresh beef is not affected."


08 Jan 01 - CJD - 'Mad Cow' Disease Cases Jump

By Geoff Winestock, Staff Reporter of the Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal- Monday 8 January 2001


The stepped-up testing program for "mad-cow" disease that was launched by the European Union last week to calm consumers has so far only raised more fear and confusion -- especially in Germany and Spain, which have recorded sharp rises in cases.

Germany announced on Friday plans to broaden its testing program to cover younger animals, after a private testing company found a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE, in a 28-month-old cow.

The EU testing program, which started Jan. 1, requires BSE testing for all animals older than 30 months, but the German Health Ministry now wants to lower the threshold to 24 months.

In both Spain and Germany, where the first cases of the disease were only detected in November, increased testing has seen a sharp jump in the number of cattle detected with the disease. After the first week of compulsory testing, Spain announced three new cases of BSE Friday, taking its total to five. Germany, which started its testing program a month early in an effort to calm consumer panic, has recorded seven cases, including the young cow last week.

So far, the testing measures haven't arrested the slide in beef sales, which has ranged from 20% to 50% in Spain, Italy, France and Germany. beef sales for Christmas, although slightly higher than in previous weeks, were still way down compared with previous years, according to EU figures.

European Commission agricultural spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber said he didn't expect an immediate recovery in the beef market. "It will likely take several weeks before consumers see that the measures are really working," he said.

BSE has been linked to a brain disease that has killed 80 people, almost all in Britain.

Across Europe, the 475 million euro ($455 million) testing program is causing backlogs and confusion at slaughterhouses, which lack the technical capacity to perform the tests. In France, health officials closed down an abattoir in Besancon on Friday after it was found to have breached safeguards on accurate labeling of the brain samples used for testing and botched procedures for excluding cattle from the food chain until test results are confirmed. In Italy, an association of agricultural producers, Confagricoltura, issued a warning that veterinary officials can't keep up with demand for tests.

Mr. Kreuzhuber said the EU had expected initial problems in the testing program, which was announced only a month ago. To tide farmers over until the program is in place, the EU has promised compensation for cattle that cannot be tested and must be destroyed. Most governments want to switch to testing as soon as possible because, even with this aid, it is still cheaper for them to carry out a test at a cost of about 15 euros than to destroy an animal. In Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark, governments have refused to destroy cattle, for ethical reasons.

The German proposal for testing all cattle from the age of 24 months would increase the burden of testing substantially and could split EU governments, which have struggled to develop a coordinated approach in fighting BSE. German Health Minister Andrea Fischer said Friday that Germany would proceed with the measure unilaterally, even if it isn't approved by the EU as a whole. Also, Germany's Agriculture Ministry announced its support for a database designed to track and identify meat products based on tissue samples taken from calves.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lost Opportunities

How European countries ignored warning signs on BSE, or mad-cow disease

1996 : Link between BSE and human brain disease established in Britain

1997 : Prionics AG of Switzerland develops first efficient test kit

1998 : January: Switzerland starts widespread testing program; number of BSE cases there immediately doubles April: EU countries agree to start random testing for BSE, but follow-up inspections by European Commission show major flaws in testing program

1999 : March: European Commission issues draft report warning that BSE has likely spread from Britain. Other EU countries attack report and delay publication.

2000 : February: Denmark discovers its first case of BSE, one month after starting a widespread testing program June: France steps up testing; its number of BSE cases surges August: European Commission finally publishes report on risk of spread of BSE November: German private lab discovers country's first case of BSE; government orders widespread testing, and six more cases are quickly discovered November: Spain discovers first cases of BSE November: EU countries agree on a massive testing program of all sick and older animals

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Kreuzhuber of the European Commission said, however, that testing animals under 30 months is unnecessary, because technology currently available isn't sensitive enough to detect the disease at an early stage and BSE is, in any case, extremely rare in young animals.

He added that the commission wouldn't oppose any measures confined to Germany, but said that country doesn't have the right to block imports of beef from other EU countries that fail to observe German standards.

The German plan is likely to come up at a meeting of EU veterinary officials in Brussels on Wednesday, which will try to harmonize differences in approach between member states.

France will be pressing Spain, Italy and Austria to lift bans on imports of French beef after a jump in the number of French cases of BSE. France, on the other hand, will have to justify a decision to go beyond an EU ban on all use of certain cow parts in human food.

The EU has banned use of brains and spinal tissue, because they pose a special risk of spreading BSE to humans, but France has its own ban on intestines as well, arguing that they also pose a risk.

--Handelsblatt contributed to this article.

Write to Geoff Winestock at geoff.winestock@wsj.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BSE in Europe Number of cases of BSE detected in cattle in Europe, through 2000

Britain-179,216 Ireland-540 Portugal-473 Switzerland-364 France-231 Belgium-18 Germany-7 Netherlands-6 Spain-2 Denmark-1 Italy-0

Note: Figures for Germany, France, Belgium and Spain run through 2000; figures for other countries run through mid-November. Source: European Union


08 Jan 01 - CJD - Saudi bans beef, mutton imports from EU

Reuters

Arabia.com- Monday 8 January 2001


The country ordered the ban due to concerns over the spread of Mad Cow disease - Saudi Arabia ordered on Sunday a ban on the import of beef and mutton from the European Union due to concerns over the spread of Mad Cow disease.

The Commerce Ministry, in a circular to all chambers of commerce in the kingdom, ordered that "no brand of beef or mutton or their products should be allowed to be imported into the kingdom from all countries of the European Union".

It said the decision came after reports of persistent cases in EU countries of the deadly brain-wasting Mad Cow disease, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Scientists suspect that people eating contaminated beef risk contracting a human version of the disease.

The ministry also cited "cheating and collusion" between some departments in EU states to export products from Britain, where the disease first broke out, to third world countries.

"Since the European Union states represent a single market it is difficult to control the movement of goods, and shipments suspected to be contaminated might find their way to countries outside the European Union," the ministry said.

Saudi Arabia had earlier imposed a ban on imports from some EU countries due to fears over the disease.

The US Department of Agriculture says the kingdom imports about two-thirds of its beef consumption, estimated at 100,000 tonnes in 1999.

Saudi Arabia already enforces a ban on the import of livestock from many African states, following an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in the southern part of the kingdom last year.

The official death toll in the kingdom from the disease, transmitted from infected livestock to humans, stands at 114.


08 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Disease

Editorial

Korea Times- Monday 8 January 2001


The terror of Mad Cow disease, or bovine spongiform encphalopathy (BSE), which was stagnant for the last few years, has again gripped France, Germany and other European nations. It causes abnormalities in the European diet. In particular, the French, noted for being gourmets, are forced to avoid eating beef, and the Germans have to refrain from eating sausage, which is a main part of their cuisine.

The contamination, fortunately, is now limited to European nations. So, we would like to ask the European Union to assume a watertight posture to prevent the fatal disease from being spread to other regions. The disease leaves holes in the brains of infected animals, leading them to eventual death.

What makes people scared is that the Mad Cow disease is suspected of causing a similar fatal brain-destroying ailment, called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), among people who eat infected beef. Though not being confirmed, contaminated bone and animal meal in cattle feed are thought to cause the Mad Cow disease.

Britain ignited the Mad Cow scare in 1985 when the disease was first identified there, and more than 177,000 cases are believed to have been detected since then. But the scare escalated in 1996 when the disease was believed to have been transmitted to humans. More than 80 people were diagnosed with CJD in Britain alone and 70 of them died.

It eventually spread quickly to neighboring European nations. At least 153 cases of Mad Cow disease were discovered in France last year, about five times as high as the number detected in 1999. Seven cases of the disease have also been confirmed in Germany since late November, when the first one was discovered. Ten out of the 15 EU member nations, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland are known to be gripped with the disease.

The EU rightly decided Tuesday to kick off a sweeping campaign to test all cows over the age of 30 months in a bid to quell consumer fears about food safety. More than 4.6 million British cows older than 30 months have been slaughtered since 1996, when the large-scale terror of Mad Cow disease escalated. EU agriculture ministers also agreed earlier to incinerate any cow over 30 months old that did not test negative for BSE, which is thought to become detectable and infectious at 30 months.

The European farmers have fed cows, sheep and other cattle with slaughtered animal meat and bone meal (MBM) for a long time, and the contaminated MBM is suspected of being responsible for the Mad Cow disease. Accordingly, only the cattle being fed with MBM, including cows and sheep, are known to be liable to be infected with the disease. But, there has yet to be any conclusive mechanism for identifying infection. Thus, the EU is required to hasten their effort to resolve the the matter as soon as possible in order to protect consumers.

For us, the swirling Mad Cow terror in Europe should not be considered a bush fire across the river, in light of the extent of human and commodity exchanges between our country and European nations. Every possible precautionary measure should be sought to block the disease from spreading here and causing economic havoc.

A concerned official of the Agricultural Ministry said that meat and bone meal from slaughtered animals are not being used as cattle feed here. They have never been imported from European nations, he said. The ministry, however, is asked to make strict inspections to see if any of the importers are bringing in banned cattle feed from Europe. European beef or other all types of food containing European beef are also banned from import as a precautionary measure, according to the ministry.

However, the contaminated MBM may not be the only culprit that causes the disease. What shocked us, in connection with this, is the report by BBC that elk deer in Canada were found to have been extensively infected with the Mad Cow disease. Considering the fact that the deer is the source of antlers, widely used here as a herb medicine material, the fatal disease may be already around us. The virus causing the disease is feared to infiltrate into our country through many ways. The danger can come from anywhere.

The ministry further claims that we are still free from the disease. Since 1996, some 350 cows have been randomly tested annually here to see if any of the cows here are infected with the disease. None has tested positive until now. However, we can't be at ease. As was seen in Britain, the disease, if detected, can cause an incalculably high amount of damage to our farmers and our national economy. Human lives can also be threatened. Our government should pay keen attention to every move of the EU in connection with the disease. It is also required to make complete preparations for any contingency in the days to come.