Document Directory

17 Jan 01 - CJD - British Hot Dog Company Looks to Korea for Mad Cow-Free Meat
17 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Prompts Red Cross to Back Blood Limits
17 Jan 01 - CJD - UK delays over BSE rules 'illegal'
17 Jan 01 - CJD - Disaster Of The Day: McDonald's
17 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy warns of more BSE cases
17 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE prompts further US blood ban
17 Jan 01 - CJD - Consumer Group In Mad Cow Alert
17 Jan 01 - CJD - Meat recalled over BSE fears
17 Jan 01 - CJD - Food watchdog plays down BSE calf fears
16 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy Confirms One Case of Mad Cow Disease
16 Jan 01 - CJD - Letter from Brussels fuels panic over BSE
16 Jan 01 - CJD - First Italian Mad Cow case confirmed
16 Jan 01 - CJD - EU attempts to soothe Mad Cow fears
16 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy's first BSE case found in cow destined for McDonald's
16 Jan 01 - CJD - McDonald's says beef is 'safe'
16 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE Risk halts tonsil operations
15 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow suspected at Big Mac supplier in Italy
15 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE protest could leave Spain without meat
15 Jan 01 - CJD - Bahrain bans European livestock over CJD fears
15 Jan 01 - CJD - France Confronts Britain Over `Mad Cow' Spread
15 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy Finds Suspected Mad Cow Case
15 Jan 01 - CJD - Europe's BSE fear deepens as UK stays calm
15 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE reaches Italy and Austria
15 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy Reports Suspected Mad Cow Disease Case; Austria Orders Tests
15 Jan 01 - CJD - New tests in Mad Cow scare
15 Jan 01 - CJD - Brussels plays down BSE crisis
15 Jan 01 - CJD - British scientists test 6,500 cattle for BSE



17 Jan 01 - CJD - British Hot Dog Company Looks to Korea for Mad Cow-Free Meat

Staff Reporter

Yonhap News- Wednesday 17 January 2001


Seoul, Jan. 17 (Yonhap)-- Britain's largest hot dog producer and distributor, Rollover , intends to import sausage from Korea due to the Mad Cow disease problem in Europe, according to the London center of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency Wednesday.

Rollover imports about 20 million pounds of sausage a year from Germany, but the warning that Mad Cow disease is spreading across Europe and could affect pork products there has apparently prompted Rollover to shift its sausage import source.


17 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow Prompts Red Cross to Back Blood Limits

By Lisa Richwine

YAHOO- Wednesday 17 January 2001


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The American Red Cross, one of two large blood collection agencies in the United States, says it will support new blood donation restrictions because of growing concerns about Mad Cow disease in Europe.

Mad Cow cases are mounting in many European countries and U.S. officials are considering expanding their ban on blood donations by people who spent time in Britain during the height of the crisis. Experts fear people who ate tainted beef may pass the human form of the fatal disease to others who receive blood transfusions.

The Red Cross said Tuesday that it would back extending the ban to include France , where Mad Cow cases rose sharply last year, and all of Western Europe ``given the growing evidence of (Mad Cow disease) in those countries.''

``We must be cautious to ensure the safety of America's blood supply for vulnerable patients,'' the Red Cross, which collects about half of the nation's blood, said in a statement.

No cases of Mad Cow disease, known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or its human equivalent have been detected in the United States.

But there is no blood test for the disease. As a precaution, U.S. health officials prohibit people from donating blood if they spent six months or more in Britain from 1980 to 1996. A committee of outside experts that advises the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to reevaluate the policy on Thursday.

The Red Cross suggested the committee also consider shortening the six-month time frame for people who were in Britain and extending the exposure period from 1980 to the present. Both measures would prohibit more people from giving blood.

Concern About Shortages

When the ban was announced in August 1999, blood banks raised concerns it could lead to dangerous blood shortages.

The Red Cross estimated its new proposals would reduce the current number of its blood donors by between 5 percent and 6 percent, and the group called for a national campaign to boost giving by eligible donors.

America's Blood Centers, which collects the other half of the nation's blood supply, said it would remind the FDA panel that any new restrictions would further strain the system.

``We've been seeing the worst blood shortages in this country we've ever seen in the last year, and we're concerned that if the ban is extended to other European countries, that could put us over the edge,'' Jim MacPherson, chief executive officer for America's Blood Centers, said in an interview.

Most cases of the Mad Cow disease have been found in Britain, where at least 80 people have died from the human version, known as new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, as well as two in France.

Much remains mysterious about the infectious, brain-wasting disease but scientists believe it is caused by proteins called prions that can mutate into dangerous forms.

Experts have been uncertain about whether humans can pass the disease through blood. A study published last September heightened concerns when scientists in Scotland said they had transmitted the disease to a sheep that received a tainted blood transfusion .


17 Jan 01 - CJD - UK delays over BSE rules 'illegal'

James Meikle, health correspondent

Guardian- Wednesday 17 January 2001


The European commission last night warned Britain it would be breaking the law if it continued with plans to delay the introduction of tough new anti-BSE rules.

A senior official described Ministry of Agriculture proposals to stagger the implementation controlling animal feed over the next three months, as "disappointing", especially since Britain had "exported" the BSE epidemic to the rest of Europe.

The European council, including British ministers, had determined that feeding of animal proteins to livestock should cease on January 1 , said Beate Gminder, spokesman for the health and food safety commissioner David Byrne. "It is not encouraging that a member state does not follow the legislation."

The government insisted last night it was pressing ahead with its plans, calling the EU measures "ultra precautionary", adding they could not be implemented quickly because parliament could not consider them until the middle of next month.

The BSE inquiry last October said most cases of infection abroad seemed to be caused by the export of infected British cattle and animal feed early on in the crisis. The National Farmers' Union, however, says the government's decision is "pragmatic given the situation in the UK", and it would be surprised if other member states had so far been able to comply.

The UK feed industry wants Britain to seek exemption on the measures, saying they will amount to 100m a year in the provision of vegetable sources for animal feed, a 20m one-off cost in altering production methods (which could include mill closures and job losses), and 10m a year in extra transport and delivery costs.

The agriculture ministry admitted yesterday it had not consulted the commission over whether or not its plans were legal.

The changes demanded of Britain include the banning of fish meal in feed for cows, sheep, goats and deer, which is also used for pregnant ewes and dairy cows.


17 Jan 01 - CJD - Disaster Of The Day: McDonald's

Davide Dukcevich

YAHOO- Wednesday 17 January 2001


NEW YORK - For years McDonald's has had to struggle with Mad Cow disease in the U.K., which was bad enough. Now the health hazard and public-relations disaster has spread to the Continent.

The Italian health department said Jan. 13 that a cow at McDonald's' Italian beef supplier was suspected of having Mad Cow disease . (Tests confirming the suspicion have not yet been administered.) Hours later, Oak Park, Ill.-based McDonald's (nyse: MCD) declared that none of its hamburger patties come from the meat-processing plant where the cow in question was collared.

(Mad Cow correspondents note: it has now been confirmed that the cow had BSE)

Nevertheless, Cremonini, the Italian meat giant that owns the plant, is in fact the exclusive meat supplier for the nearly 300 McDonald's restaurants in Italy.

No matter how convincingly McDonald's is exonerated from carrying contaminated meat, the mere association with this news is a public-relations catastrophe for the chain. Europeans are terrified of Mad Cow disease, which first spread from cows to humans in England in the late 1980s. The disease has since killed 80 people, mostly in the U.K.

The European Union banned beef imports from Great Britain in 1996 and millions of English cows were incinerated. Since then, continental Europeans have eaten their beef relatively worry-free--until this fall, when dozens of infected cows were found in several countries, including France and Germany.

That news prompted the European Union to order mandatory testing of cattle more than 30 months old. If the Cremonini cow does test positive, it will be the first Italian cow diagnosed with the disease.

As meat sales throughout Europe plummeted this winter, McDonald's tried to pre-empt concerns by running television and newspaper ads reassuring Europeans about the safety of its hamburgers.

That's not surprising, since Europe is crucial to McDonald's' bottom line. The more than 5,200 European restaurants accounted for 23% of its sales in the first three quarters of 2000. Although business has actually grown by 11% in Europe, the Euro has kept European revenue flat, according to the company's most recent report.

Today McDonald's execs probably wish the weak euro was the worst thing they had to worry about.


17 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy warns of more BSE cases

Staff Reporter

BBC- Wednesday 17 January 2001


Italians should brace themselves for the discovery of more cases of Mad Cow disease, the government has warned.

But ministers insist that beef is safe to eat, despite the "certainty" of the disease being found in more cattle.

The first confirmed case of Mad Cow disease, or BSE, in an Italian-born cow was confirmed on Tuesday, after further tests on an animal from the northern region of Lombardy.

In France meanwhile, a judge reportedly ordered searches of government buildings, as part of an inquiry into the alleged criminal liability of ministers over the BSE crisis.

The French news agency AFP said judge Marie-Odile Bertella-Geffroy had instigated a number of searches at the government offices in the ministries of health, food and consumer affairs.

She is trying to establish whether ministers in France and the UK should face criminal charges over their alleged failure to halt the spread of Mad Cow disease.

Two French familes whose relatives contracted vCJD, the human form of Mad Cow disease, have started the legal proceedings.

The Italian insistence that beef was safe to eat came from Health Minister Umberto Veronese.

"Meat is safer today than it ever was in the past - that's for sure. We shouldn't think for a second that there are risks to be found in eating beef," he said.

beef sales have plummetted in Italy - as elsewhere in Europe - since the revelation in October that meat from BSE-infected herds had reached French supermarket shelves.

Test programme

In some parts of Italy, sales have fallen 40% . Mr Veronesi said the human form of the disease could still emerge in Italy.

"We cannot absolutely exclude the fact that in the near future there will be some cases (of vCJD)," he said.

Mr Veronesi said the "certain" discovery of further BSE cases would happen because of the wider test programme now in place.

"We must be prepared to have more cases than in the past because (of) systematic testing," he said.

"We have two objectives: the complete elimination of BSE and the protection of consumers."

Farmers have staged a protest at the Lombardy farm where the BSE-infected cow was discovered. They are angry at plans to cull the entire herd.

Czech ban extended

Italy has been added to the list of countries whose beef is banned by the Czech Republic. Austria will also be affected by the ban, although its reported first case of Mad Cow disease was later confirmed to have been a false alarm.

The Czech ban now applies to all EU countries except Greece, Sweden and Finland.

Compulsory new tests for BSE were introduced across the EU on 1 January, but in Italy only two laboratories are equipped to carry out the tests.

Nearly a dozen more should be operation from February.


17 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE prompts further US blood ban

Staff Reporter

BBC- Wednesday 17 January 2001


As a precaution against Mad Cow disease, the American Red Cross intends to support a ban on blood donations from people who have lived anywhere in Western Europe since 1980, it was reported on Wednesday (British blood has been prohibited since last year).

Experts fear people who have eaten tainted beef may pass the human form of the fatal disease to others via blood transfusions.

Last year, the US prohibited blood donations from people who had lived in Britain for at least six months since 1980.

But with this extension of the ban, Bernadine Healy, president of the Red Cross, estimates a loss of 6% of current donors, or 360,000 people.

The Red Cross said it would back extending the ban to include France, where Mad Cow cases rose sharply last year, and all of Western Europe "given the growing evidence of Mad Cow disease in those countries".

"We must be cautious to ensure the safety of America's blood supply for vulnerable patients," said the agency, which collects about half of America's blood.

Shortages fear

No cases of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), or its human equivalent, nvCJD (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) have been detected in the United States.

Some experts believe the Red Cross is taking the wrong approach with the latest ban.

Art Caplan, head the nation's top blood advisory panel, said in an interview with USA Today: "There is not a lot of evidence that you get this disease from blood transfusions."

According to one major collection agency, America's Blood Centers, the new restriction could be devastating.

"We could lose 25% of New York City's blood supply," said spokeswoman Melissa McMillan.

Researchers have been predicting that blood will soon be in short supply in America's hospitals.

Blood donations are decreasing by 1% per year, while demand is increasing at the same rate.


17 Jan 01 - CJD - Consumer Group In Mad Cow Alert



All Africa- Wednesday 17 January 2001


Queries official laxity despite warnings from Brussels By Charlotte Kukunda The Uganda Consumers Protection Association Chairman, Henry Kimera, has queried the laxity shown by Government officials on latest information concerning Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (commonly known as Mad Cow disease).

Kimera said Friday, the first warning letter with details was dated November 24, 2000 written by Lewis Balinda the Charge d'Affaires at Uganda's Embassy in Brussels and sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

According to Balinda's letter, eight tonnes of meat in October last year potentially infected with the disease, were reported sold to French supermarkets and a dozen people feared to have died from eating infected meat.

It warned that imports should be closely monitored and adds that France's beef sales plunge by over 50% and French farmers predict a collapse of the industry.

However according to Kimera, official reaction to this information only came, when letters were sent to local regulatory agencies on January 8, 2001. UCPA received it's copy the next day.

"You can imagine what danger the consumers might be in, because for two months this information has been available, but not yet disseminated to the consumers," Kimera said showing copies of the letters.

Kimera appealed to the public, to refrain from consuming imported beef and beef products until the status is clarified.

Last week, Germany's ministers of agriculture and health respectively, had to resign due to a public outcry over a failure by the Federal government to provide reliable information on the threat of the disease in Germany. The disease, which attacks brain cells, was first highlighted in Britain a decade ago. No cure is available and the disease in different forms, is fatal to both cows and humans.


17 Jan 01 - CJD - Meat recalled over BSE fears

Staff Reporter

BBC- Wednesday 17 January 2001


There are fears meat from a calf born to a cow infected with BSE may have entered the food chain via a Scottish abattoir.

The Scottish arm of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recalled the meat, but said there was a minimal risk to human health.

The potentially-infected animal was identified too late and the kidneys of the calf, from an English herd, may have entered the food chain .

Scottish National Party MSP Fergus Ewing has criticised the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food over the time it took to alert the FSA in Scotland.

He said he will be raising the issue in the Scottish Parliament.

The Food Standards Agency recalled the meat from the calf as a precautionary measure, but said it was told too late to recall the entire carcass .

The FSA said that, although the rest of the animal has not reached retailers, there is a 50% chance that the kidneys have got into the food chain .

The agency insists the risk to human health is minimal and the calf did pass other safety measures.

However, its mother was diagnosed with BSE in England three weeks before the calf was slaughtered in a Scottish Abattoir.

The FSA said it will be asking the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why there was a delay.

MAFF said they diagnosed the mother on 18 December and then tried to find any offspring.

'Precautionary measure'

Because the animal had changed hands, the calf was not traced until 10 January - two days after it had been slaughtered.

A MAFF spokesman said that three weeks was not an extraordinary amount of time to trace the calf and that there had been no problem with procedures.

FSA director Dr George Paterson said: "The actions we have taken with the full co-operation with the abattoir owners are purely precautionary.

"The carcass was processed according to the BSE controls which involve the removal of specified risk material - those parts most likely to contain BSE infectivity."

He added that the calf was under 30 months old, meaning the risk to human health was "minimal".


17 Jan 01 - CJD - Food watchdog plays down BSE calf fears

Ananova

PA News- Wednesday 17 January 2001


Food standards watchdogs reassured consumers after meat from an animal whose mother had BSE entered the human food chain .

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) Scotland said it had found out about the animal's history too late to prevent it being included in a larger batch of meat, not all of which could be recovered.

But the agency said the rest of the meat was recovered and stressed: "BSE infectivity has never been found in bovine kidneys."

The 25-month-old animal was slaughtered at a Scottish abattoir on Monday January 8 after coming from England.

FSA officials were notified that its mother was infected with BSE and immediately acted to stop meat from the animal entering the food chain.

But they were unable to recover some of the batch of meat which included its kidneys.

Dr George Paterson, director of the FSA Scotland, said: "The carcass was processed according to the BSE controls.

"For those reasons the risk to human health is minimal."


16 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy Confirms One Case of Mad Cow Disease

Reuters

YAHOO- Tuesday 16 January 2001


TURIN (Reuters) - Italian health officials confirmed on Tuesday that they had detected a case of Mad Cow disease.

The finding was announced at a news conference by a national animal health institute in Turin after running tests on meat from the suspected case over the weekend.

It was the first confirmed case of Mad Cow disease in the country since 1994 when two BSE-infected cows were found in Sicily and destroyed. Both were imported from Britain.

BSE causes a brain-wasting disorder in cattle which many scientists believe can be transmitted to people. The human form of BSE, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), has killed more than 80 people in Britain and two in France.

Italy banned meat-based animal feed for cattle -- which experts believe was the cause of BSE -- in 1994. It extended the ban to all herbivores in November last year after alarm over BSE increased across Europe.


16 Jan 01 - CJD - Letter from Brussels fuels panic over BSE

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels

Telegraph- Tuesday 16 January 2001


The European Commission was trying to put a stop to consumer panic yesterday after German newspapers said it had given warning of a "British-style" epidemic of Mad Cow disease.

At the same time, the first suspected cases of BSE were reported from Italy and Austria . With beef sales down 45 per cent in Germany since October and down 27 per cent in the European Union as a whole, the commission found itself at the heart of renewed panic because of a letter it sent to the German government this month demanding details of a case of BSE in a Bavarian cow aged 28 months.

The letter gave warning that "cases of BSE in such young animals have previously only been found in the UK when the incidence of BSE was rising to epidemic proportions". Quoted out of context by the German press, the letter has helped to create a widespread belief that the 13 cases of BSE discovered in Germany in recent weeks are just the tip of an iceberg.

Beate Gminde, the commission's spokesman for consumer safety, said the new cases were of a different order from the epidemic that struck Britain in the late Eighties, when meat and bone meal feed was being used on an industrial scale.

She said: "The UK has seen a total of 180,000 cases, while in Europe we have seen around 1,300 since the beginning of the disease." She said the increased reporting of BSE was due to a rigorous new testing regime and did not indicate that the disease was spreading. Last year, France began testing all cattle in risk categories. In January of this year, all 15 EU states began testing in risk groups and cattle over 30 months.

The tally of cases so far is 579 in Ireland, 491 in Portugal, 239 in France, 19 in Belgium, 13 in Germany, nine in Holland, five in Spain, three in Denmark, one in Italy and one in Austria that is still disputed by the authorities.

The risk that infected material could reach the kitchen table has been drastically reduced by parallel measures that order the destruction of the brain, spinal cord, eyes, intestines and other parts of the cow that could harbour the brain-wasting disease.

Commission officials said that the risk today of contracting new variant CJD, the human form of BSE, was probably an infinitesimal fraction of what it was for Britons at the height of the epidemic 10 years ago. But the rise in the number of reported cases has major political ramifications in countries that have insisted for years that they could not possibly have any cases of BSE because their control regimes were flawless.

The German government paid the price last week when the mushrooming scandal forced the resignation of the agriculture and health ministers. In November, David Byrne, the EU food safety commissioner, said German politicians had been "too complacent" and had failed to implement proper safeguards.

beef supplies in Spain could be depleted in days after Spanish cattle farmers began blockading abattoirs yesterday to try to force the government to pay compensation for the BSE crisis. They want the government to pay for the slaughter and disposal of infected animals and to fund a campaign to restore public confidence in beef. Javier Lopez, the president of the cattle breeders' association, Asovac, said: "We're doing this out of despair. Our aim is not to leave people without meat but that may end up being the case."


16 Jan 01 - CJD - First Italian Mad Cow case confirmed

Ananova

PA News- Tuesday 16 January 2001


Italy's first case of Mad Cow disease has been confirmed in the brain tissue of a cow destined for a slaughterhouse which supplies McDonald's .

A Turin-based zoological institute, which conducted the tests, made the announcement after the third and final analysis of the tissue.

Italy has been rocked by the revelation ever since the Health Ministry announced that the first tissue tests indicated the animal probably had the brain-wasting disease.

Scientists suspect the animal disease, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, can be transmitted to people who eat infected beef. The disease so far has no cure.

Until this case, Italy had been considered Mad Cow-free while other nations, including neighbouring France, were reporting cases.

McDonald's says it is standing by its Italian supplier and asserted that the "quality, traceability and safety" of its beef fully protect consumers.

The other 190 cows on the ranch in Lombardy, northern Italy, where the diseased milk cow was raised are now expected to be slaughtered as a precaution.

Mandatory EU tests, aimed at checking the spread of the disease in European lifestock, led to the discovery in the Italian cow.


16 Jan 01 - CJD - EU attempts to soothe Mad Cow fears

Ananova

PA News- Tuesday 16 January 2001


The EU has appealed to consumers not to panic after evidence surfaced that Mad Cow disease may be more widespread than previously believed.

Suspected cases of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy have been recently uncovered in Austria, Spain, Germany, Belgium and in an Italian slaughterhouse which supplies McDonald's with beef.

The European Commission is pleading for calm, saying the discovery of new cases is a natural result of the expanded testing programme it ordered the 15 EU nations to launch on New Year's Day.

EC spokeswoman Beate Gminder said: "The results should be no surprise for us. Everybody has to be vigilant in protecting the consumer but there is no reason to create fear among people."

If confirmed, the suspected case in Austria's Tyrol province would be a first in the country. Italy had been clear since two infected cows imported from Britain were found in 1994.

Five confirmed cases have been found Spain since October while Belgium reported two new cases Monday bringing the national total to 21.

Germany, long proud of its safe record, was shocked by a first case in November. Since then wider testing has uncovered over a dozen infected animals.

EU officials stress that the "second mad-cow crisis," which began in France last October and quickly spread to Germany and other EU nations, remains on a much smaller scale to the epidemic which swept through British herds in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


16 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy's first BSE case found in cow destined for McDonald's

By Melanie Goodfellow in Rome

in# - Tuesday 16 January 2001


Italy's first suspected case of BSE has been found in an animal destined for the McDonald's restaurant chain.

The Italian authorities moved swiftly yesterday to allay panic among consumers, but the revelation was sufficient to cause the suspension of share trading in the country's biggest meatpacker after its share price fell by 13 per cent.

Traces of the disease were found over the weekend in an animal that was slaughtered at an abattoir belonging to the northern Italian food conglomerate the Cremonini Group, based just outside Modena.

The group, which supplies McDonald's restaurants all over Europe and produces 80 per cent of Italy's processed meat products, was swift to present the discovery in a positive light, saying that consumers could "rest assured, as can our conscience". The group's managing director, Vincenzo Cremonini, said: "Thanks to Cremonini Group's efficient electronic tagging process, the carcass of the suspect animal was immediately identified and isolated."

Cremonini, which raises some 100,000 livestock on its own farms, also pointed out that the animal was raised by an independent farmer and not on a farm belonging to the group. Mario Greci, owner of the farm where the animal was reared, said: "I don't understand it. The animal was born here and only ate hay from our fields." His 190-strong herd is currently being tested and results are due to be released today.

McDonald's stood by its Italian supplier and asserted that the "quality, traceability and safety" of its beef fully protected consumers. Alessandra di Montezemolo, senior director of European communications, said: "We have full trust in Cremonini, which has the country's highest-quality procedures."

At McDonald's restaurants across Italy it was business as usual yesterday. Rome's biggest McDonald's in Piazza di Spagna was packed with customers paying little attention to the posters on display explaining the company's BSE screening procedures.

Assocarni, Italy's national meat industry association, said 85 per cent of cattle killed in the country were too young to pose a risk of BSE.


16 Jan 01 - CJD - McDonald's says beef is 'safe'

Staff Reporter

BBC- Tuesday 16 January 2001


The American fast-food chain McDonald's has told outlets in Italy that its meat is safe, after reports that an animal infected with Mad Cow disease was destined to be used in burgers.

The cow was found at a meat processing plant belonging to the food conglomerate the Cremonini Group, outside Modena in northern Italy.

The group supplies meat to McDonald's restaurants around Europe.

But McDonald's says that the particular plant where the cow was discovered was not one of the factories which supplies McDonald's.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain and Belgium have announced new cases of the disease.

On Tuesday Spain said two new suspected cases had been found in the northern region of Asturias, while Belgium reported two confirmed cases.

Appeal for calm

"We have full trust in Cremonini, which has the country's highest-quality procedures," McDonald's senior director of European Communications Alessandra di Montezemolo was quoted as saying by the Independent newspaper.

McDonald's sales have been unaffected by the scare.

But shares in Cremonini fell by 13%, causing the suspension of trading, as the Italian Government said there may be more cases of Mad Cow disease.

"Italians, remain calm! we are doing everything necessary," said Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato.

Mr Amato, who is on a visit to Beijing, said that tests were being conducted openly and that Italy had one of the best records in Europe.

Testing

The European Commission has been trying to allay escalating public fears over the discovery of new cases of BSE, saying they are "no surprise" in the wake of a stringent testing programme, which began on 1 January.

"Although we must remain vigilant, we should also not be adding to the fears of the population simply because we are conducting a testing programme," said a spokeswoman for the European Commission.

As part of the testing programme, the UK also announced new checks on thousands of dead cattle.

The UK has suffered the worst outbreak of BSE anywhere but the level of infection has been declining since stringent measures against the disease have been brought in.

But farmers around Europe have been expressing increasing anger over the handling of the BSE crisis.

In Spain farmers held a series of protests throughout the country, demanding more compensation for losses caused by plummeting beef prices.

In Oldenburg, in Northern Germany, around 5,000 farmers protested against the government's policy of slaughtering a whole herd if one animal is found to be infected.

In Bavaria in southern Germany around 100 farmers gathered to protest as cattle from a BSE infected herd were taken away for slaughter.


16 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE Risk halts tonsil operations

Staff Reporter

BBC- Tuesday 16 January 2001


A hospital in Plymouth has cancelled all tonsil and adenoids operations because of fears over the possibility of passing on the human form of Mad Cow disease during surgery.

A consultant at Derriford Hospital said the risk of contamination was "very small and theoretical".

But patients will have to wait for a few weeks until disposable surgical instruments are made available.

The government announced earlier this month that it would spend millions of pounds to prevent any risk of people contracting the human form of BSE during surgery.

The money will be used to provide surgeons with disposable instruments for tonsil surgery, at a cost of 25m a year.

As part of the programme, the government is giving hospitals a further 200m to modernise NHS decontamination and sterilisation facilities to prevent transmission of vCJD

Derriford Hospital had planned to introduce new single-use equipment by the end of February.

But following concerns raised by surgeons, all tonsillectomies and adenoidectamies have been postponed.

The operations will take place once the disposable instruments are ready, which is likely to mean a delay of a few weeks to operations.

Mr Paul Windle-Taylor, consultant ear nose and throat surgeon, said: "There is no evidence at present that variant CJD is transmitted surgical instruments, but we are committed to following best practice and wish to comply with the new guidance as soon as possible."

"We need to test and establish a supply of single-use instruments and until then, we believe that it is in the best interests of all concerned to postpone tonsil and adenoid surgery with immediate effect."

Plymouth Hospitals Trust currently carries out around 700 tonsillectomies and adenoidectamies each year - many on children.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - Mad Cow suspected at Big Mac supplier in Italy

Ananova

PA News- Monday 15 January 2001


The first suspected case of Mad Cow disease in an Italian animal has been found in a slaughterhouse which supplies meat to McDonald's in Italy.

The slaughterhouse in Lodi belongs to the Cremonini group, which is the meat supplier for the restaurants across Italy.

Cremonini spokesman Massimiliano Parboni says he can't immediately say which other countries gets the beef destined for McDonald's.

McDonald's says it has no immediate comment.

Until Saturday, Italy had been considered Mad Cow free. The only two cases reported previously were two cows in 1994 which had been imported from Britain.

"We expected it, Italy could not be the exception," said scientist Maria Caramelli.

She is on the team testing brain tissue from the cow.

The six-year old milking cow was born and raised in Lombardy. It came from a breeding farm near Brescia, which has what Parboni described as "occasional contacts" with Cremonini.

The Cremonini group supplies roughly 40% of the beef to Italian markets.

The other 190 cows on the Brescia farm have been banned from being slaughtered, while investigators in Brescia have started a probe.

McDonald's, which has 295 restaurants in Italy serving 600,000 customers daily, recently put up signs in outlets across Italy to reassure consumers about the origin of the beef.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE protest could leave Spain without meat

Ananova

PA News- Monday 15 January 2001


Cattle breeders have begun an indefinite blockade of Spanish slaughterhouses to protest about effects of the Mad Cow disease crisis.

The action could leave the country without meat stocks within days. Spain normally slaughters up to 7,000 cows per day.

It has been called by the country's three main breeder associations and is backed by two farming unions.

The protesters are calling on the government to introduce measures to alleviate the problems caused by BSE.

Javier Lopez, president of breeding group Asovac, says it is being supported by a majority of the country's 200,000 cattle farmers.

He said: "We're doing this out of despair. Our aim is not to leave people without meat but that may end up being the case."

The protest is set to continue until the government agrees to help farmers.

The breeders accuse the government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of turning a blind eye to the crisis and demand compensation for the loss in sales. They are also pressing for the government to pay for the slaughter and disposal of suspect animals and to fund a campaign aimed at restoring confidence in the sector.

At Madrid's main slaughterhouse, some 25 protesters, watched by nearly 50 riot police, set up a picket line. Traffic in and out of the abattoir has been scant.

The breeder associations, Asovac, Aprovac and Arabovis, estimate that in a matter of months the Mad Cow crisis has reduced meat consumption by 70% and caused financial losses to the sector of 11 billion pesetas ($65 million).

Since October there have been five confirmed cases of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, Mad Cow disease, in Spain.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - Bahrain bans European livestock over CJD fears

Ananova

PA News- Monday 15 January 2001


Bahrain has banned imports of livestock and livestock products from European countries due to concerns about Mad Cow disease.

The ban includes fodder, fresh and frozen beef and all its derivatives, the English-language Gulf Daily News and Bahrain Tribune reports.

It is understood Bahrain has never imported a large quantity of beef from Europe.

It is not known how the long the ban will last.

Bahrain's ban on European beef, issued on Sunday by Commerce Minister Ali Saleh Al Saleh , is mostly a precautionary measure, as Bahrain imports most of its meat from Australia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

There has been growing concern in the Gulf over beef imports from European countries following reports that new cases of Mad Cow disease have been detected in Europe.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - France Confronts Britain Over `Mad Cow' Spread

Independent

Oregon 12 - Monday 15 January 2001


LONDON - A French magistrate will seek documentary evidence from Whitehall in the next few weeks to substantiate claims that the Thatcher government of 17-0 was ``criminally negligent '' in allowing Mad Cow Disease to spread to the Continent.

The attempt by the French judiciary to gain access to British government documents, some of which have already been examined and published by the Phillips inquiry, is likely to provoke a diplomatic row between the two countries.

The investigation follows a complaint against unnamed French, British and EU officials, brought last November by the families of three French victims of new-variant CJD, the human form of BSE. Marie-Odile Bertella-Geffroy, the French magistrate, was appointed to take up the complaint and consider possible criminal charges of manslaughter and endangering the life of others against ``persons unknown''.

Legal sources said that Judge Bertella-Geffroy, an experienced magistrate who led the inquiry into the AIDS contamination of French blood banks in the 10s, will pursue her investigation in London and Brussels as well as Paris.

In particular, the sources said, she intends to pursue allegations that the British government from 1 to 1 allowed, and even encouraged, exports to France and other EU countries of meat and bone meal (the ground-up remains of cattle), which is now suspected of spreading BSE.

Ground-up cattle remains were officially identified as the carrier of BSE in April 1 and banned from British cattle feed in July 1. Over the next 12 months, British and Irish exports of the suspect meal to France increased five-fold. Much of the Irish trade - which increased a staggering 20-fold in 1 - is believed to have consisted of British cattle meal sent via Ireland.

British and Irish sales to Germany, Italy and Spain also rose in 1-. Paris ordered a halt to the trade in August 1, but illegal sales are believed to have continued through the Benelux countries until 16. The suspect British meal was also sold cheaply to several Third World countries until the mid-10s.

The French Agriculture minister, Jean Glavany, said last week that Britain bore a ``moral'' responsibility for the spread of BSE to the Continent. ``It is our English friends who exported this evil,'' Glavany said. ``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 viewpoint, that is unacceptable.'' Glavany's comments were rejected as misleading by some British officials, and dismissed as French sophistry and special pleading in some British newspapers. He was undoubtedly attempting to distract domestic criticism of his handling of France's BSE crisis.

However, though the sequence of events in 1- is complicated, the French Agriculture minister's comments are broadly in line with the facts. And the French lawyer who brought the legal action on behalf of the families of CJD victims believes that Glavany did not go far enough. ``There is plenty of evidence in the Phillips report, and in the official trade figures, to suggest that the British government of the time is not just morally responsible, but criminally responsible, for accelerating the spread of BSE to France,'' Francois Honnorat told The Independent on Sunday. ``If you read the Phillips report, the clear indication is that the British government not only allowed these sales, but encouraged them, under pressure from the animal feed industry, which had tens of thousands of tons of meal on its hands,'' Honnorat said.

``There may have been an even more cynical motive. If BSE could be spread to the Continent, Britain would not be alone in having the disease and [would be] less likely to face a trade embargo.'' This is exaggerated. The evidence from the Phillips inquiry does suggest the Conservative government took a cavalier attitude to overseas sales of suspect meat and bone meal. However, the motives of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) seem to have been the same as those that guided its bungled and secretive handling of the BSE crisis within Britain: to protect the British beef and animal feed industries and to minimise public spending. The Phillips report concludes that Britain was responsible for spreading BSE to the Continent in the factual and scientific sense, but that it was not morally or legally guilty of deliberately putting foreign animals or people at risk.

But Honnorat sees this as a whitewash. The French criminal investigation led by Judge Bertella-Geffroy will attempt to reach its own conclusions. Police working with her in Paris will be seeking documents from the British and French governments and the European Commission in the next few weeks. They may also ask to interview officials from the time, including UK agriculture ministers. Since the inquiry has no jurisdiction in Britain, it will be up to the Blair Government to decide whether or not to cooperate.

What are the known facts? There is no doubt that BSE, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - an unknown disease before 15 - started in Britain through a spontaneous mutation of a prion in a British cow, according to the Phillips report. It was spread to the Continent by exports of meat and bone meal, and British cattle that were ground up into European cattle feed.

Until 1, when the BSE chain of infection was discovered, these exports were entirely innocent. Should they have been halted when Britain banned the use of meat and bone meal in cattle feed in July 1? No, said British officials at the time - and now. Until 10, the suspect meal was still being fed to British pigs and poultry. There was no reason, at the time, why ground-up cattle remains should not have been sold to Europe to be fed to pigs and poultry. EU governments were informed of the risk of feeding the cattle meal back to cattle; it was up to them to make sure the imports were used properly.

Sir Donald Acheson, the chief medical officer, at the time dismissed this attitude as ``short-sighted''. There was no guarantee that the feed would not reach cows and ``be responsible for the introduction of BSE to the food chain in other countries,'' he wrote in a letter to MAFF, which has been quoted by the Phillips inquiry.

It is also clear from the Phillips report that there were economic pressures on the UK government in 1- to allow the exports to flourish. A MAFF official wrote in July 1 that exports to the EU had allowed the British feed industry to ``survive'' the BSE crisis. He reported that sales of the suspect feed to the EU had been worth 1. million pounds (about $3 million) in the first three months of 1 - a 400 per cent increase on the previous year.

Despite the warnings from the British government, much of this contaminated cattle meal was indeed fed back to Continental cattle. For this, as Honnorat recognizes, European governments and feed manufacturers must share some of the blame.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy Finds Suspected Mad Cow Case

Associated Press

Las Vegas Times - Monday 15 January 2001


ROME (AP) -- Scientists have found Italy's first suspected case of Mad Cow disease in a cow at a slaughterhouse that supplies meat to McDonald's restaurants in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

The slaughterhouse in Lodi, in Italy's northern Lombardy region, belongs to the Cremonini group. Cremonini is the exclusive meat supplier for the American fast food giant's restaurants across Italy, company spokesman Massimiliano Parboni said Monday.

Parboni couldn't immediately say which other countries besides Italy get beef from the company.

Until Saturday, when the case was discovered, Italy had been considered mad-cow free. The only two cases reported there were two cows in 1994 which had been imported from Britain.

"We expected it. Italy could not be the exception," scientist Maria Caramelli told Canale 5 private TV on Monday.

Caramelli works with a team of scientists testing brain tissue from the cow. Final tests, to be released on Tuesday, were expected to confirm the earlier results.

McDonald's, which has 295 restaurants here serving 600,000 customers daily, recently put up signs in eateries across Italy to reassure consumers about the origin of its beef. It stood by its Italian supplier Monday, saying the "quality, traceability and safety" of its beef protect consumers.

"We have full trust in Cremonini, which has the country's highest quality procedures," said Alessandra di Montezemolo, European spokeswoman for the U.S. food giant.

Mad Cow -- the common name for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE -- is a brain-wasting ailment that scientists believe was spread by recycling meat and bone meal from infected animals back into cattle feed. BSE wasn't identified until 1986, but by the mid-1990s, Britain was seeing tens of thousands of cases a year of infected cattle stumbling about as if drunk.

Then, in 1996, a link was established between BSE and a new and similar human illness called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a horrible crippling of the nervous system followed by death. So far more than 80 people have died, mostly in Britain.

The public health uproar abated after the European Union banned exports of British beef and feed in 1996 and millions of British cows were incinerated. But recently, new tests started turning up dozens of BSE cases in continental cows that apparently ate contaminated feed before the ban.

In the Italian case, the 6-year-old milking cow came from a breeding farm near Brescia, which has what Parboni described as "occasional contacts" with Cremonini. The 190 other cows on the Brescia farm have been banned from being slaughtered while the case is investigated.

Elsewhere Monday, cattle breeders throughout Spain began an indefinite blockade of slaughterhouses -- a move that could leave the country without meat stocks within days.

The blockade is intended to pressure the government to help alleviate the Mad Cow crisis. It was called by the country's three main breeder associations and backed by two farming unions, said Javier Lopez, president of one of the breeder associations.

"We're doing this out of despair," Lopez said.

Breeder estimate that the Mad Cow crisis has reduced meat consumption by 70 percent in Spain and caused financial losses of $65 million. They accuse the government of turning a blind eye to the crisis and demand compensation for their losses.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - Europe's BSE fear deepens as UK stays calm

Alan Travis, home affairs editor

Guardian- Monday 15 January 2001


Worries about food safety problems linked with Mad Cow disease have now spread across Europe with near panic in Germany and Greece , according to the exclusive Guardian/ICM poll of public opinion across eight European countries.

The poll shows that in Germany, where two government ministers have just resigned over BSE, 86% of the public say they are worried about the disease. The public is equally concerned in Greece and there are high levels of anxiety in the Netherlands and Italy.

The major exception is Britain with only 54% saying they are in any way concerned. Across Europe the poll shows that voters feel that the problems of food safety would be dealt with more efficiently if the EU was given stronger powers over member states to tackle the issue. This view is echoed by two-thirds of voters in Britain.

Indeed a common theme which emerges from the poll, which canvassed views in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, is that the public wants to see the EU given far greater powers. Large majorities (70% plus across Europe) in each country say the EU should be given more powers to deal with questions such as the environment, illegal immigration, money laundering, and to a lesser extent biotechnology changes such as genetic modification.

But while many voters across Europe support a stronger EU to deal with practical problems, the poll shows that they share the lack of confidence in its institutions. Both the European commission and the European parliament are unloved by voters across Europe. German public opinion (only 21% say they have confidence in the commission) is even more hostile than British voters (31% say they have confidence). The French (41%) have slightly more faith, but outside of Luxembourg (57%) nowhere else can majority support be found for the commission, proving that such anti-Brussels feelings are not a peculiarly British trait. Such lack of confidence in the European parliament is equally shared.

These findings were mirrored by similar levels of dissatisfaction with the way the EU is developing. Only 34% of British voters say they are happy with the way that the EU is going - very similar to the Germans (35%) and the French (37%). The truth across Europe appears to be that nobody is particularly happy with the way the union is evolving.

But the poll also shows that British public opinion is out of step with the rest of Europe about what should happen next. When asked what they thought of the proposal by the German foreign minister to set up a federal Europe, public opinion across the eight countries was almost equally split. Although the phrase "federal Europe" means very different things in different parts of the EU, it is notable that British voters are the most hostile to the idea (58% against). Even in Germany there is no majority support but French, Spanish and Greek voters back the idea.

All those polled but Britain say they want to see a common European army, a directly elected European president and the harmonisation of common legal and tax systems. The creation of a common European government appears to be less popular across Europe. Majority support for the idea can be found among voters in France, Italy and Spain but those in Britain, the Netherlands and Greece are hostile to the idea. Even in Germany public opinion is divided.

Generally the process of enlarging the EU by admitting the east European countries to membership finds support but it is not wholehearted, with barely a majority 51% across the eight countries welcoming the development. In Britain more support enlargement (48%) than don't (36%).

The poll took place between December 5 and 23 last year, and was conducted by interviews with 6,637 European citizens aged 18 and over. Polling was conducted by ICM research in Britain, Louis Harris in France, Emnid in Germany, Opinion in Greece, Abacus in Italy, Ilres in Luxembourg, Nipo in the Netherlands, and Demoscopia in Spain.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - BSE reaches Italy and Austria

Rory Carroll in Rome

Guardian- Monday 15 January 2001


Italy revealed its first suspected case of BSE at the weekend, ending the hope that it had escaped the crisis sweeping Europe.

A milk cow from a breeding farm near the northern town of Brescia, in Lombardy, tested positive after being slaughtered on Thursday.

The agriculture minister, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, said: "We are a country that imports many animals, so we cannot exclude finding cases of BSE."

The health minister, Umberto Veronesi, told a press conference on Saturday: "We are not 100% sure, and even if it was the case, it would be the first time an Italian-born cow had contracted the disease."

A Turin laboratory is due to confirm tomorrow whether tissue samples contain the brain-wasting disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

The cow is believed to have come from a herd of 180 owned by the Grecia family on the Malpensata di Pontevico farm. The police sealed off the area yesterday.

An investigating magistrate was quoted as saying that the cow was born and bred on the farm, but Mr Pecoraro Scanio said it appeared to have been imported.

The only previous cases in Italy were two infected cows imported from Britain, but last month Italy followed its EU partners in ordering tests on all cattle going for slaughter. In November it ordered tests on all beef cattle over two years old, and labels showing where they had been reared and slaughtered.

"The suspected case was discovered because the controls are efficient," a government spokesman said.

Italian confidence in beef is plunging, however. Even before Saturday's announcement sales had fallen 40% in reaction to French cases. School canteens have stopped serving red meat.

A ban on French imports, also imposed in November, was lifted on Friday, because the Italian tests were considered adequate. Around 600 random tests in northern Italy, where most of the country's dairy farms are found, were negative.

Consumer groups say Italy is lagging in its safety measures. The newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that EU inspectors had concluded that controls at slaughterhouses were often inadequate and sometimes non-existent, suggesting that contaminated material may have found its way into Italian meat products and by-products.

Italy slaughters about 4.5m cattle a year and imports about 1.5m, mostly from France, the research institute Ismea says.

Austria too reported its first probable case of BSE yesterday, after tests on an animal slaughtered in Germany but born and raised in the Austrian province of Tyrol.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - Italy Reports Suspected Mad Cow Disease Case; Austria Orders Tests

By George Jahn

Fox News- Monday 15 January 2001


VIENNA, Austria - Officials said Sunday that tests for Mad Cow disease on an animal raised in Austria were inconclusive and new tests were needed to establish whether the nation's cattle remained free of the disease.

Italy, meanwhile, reported its first suspected case of the disease on Saturday, fueling concerns about the illness that first erupted in Britain in the 1980s.

The comments about Austria's possible Mad Cow case, reported by the Austria Press Agency, differed from previous reports. Earlier Sunday, the agency had quoted Governor Wendelin Weingartner of Tyrol province as saying that tests for the cow, born in the province and slaughtered in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, had come up positive.

Later, the agency cited health ministry spokesman Gerald Grosz as saying the initial results could not be accepted because the test used was part of a batch that resulted in 64 false positive readings in Germany last week.

New testing for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as Mad Cow disease, has been ordered and results should be available by the middle of next week, the agency cited as officials as saying. Any confirmed infection would represent Austria's first case of the disease.

The cow was exported to Germany in November and slaughtered Jan. 12, the agency said.

The number of cases elsewhere in Europe varies from five in Spain, 13 in Germany, 468 in Portugal to 177,611 in the United Kingdom.

In France, where farmers have taken to the streets to press for more government aid to overcome hardships resulting from panic over the disease, more than 150 cases were reported last year, 31 the year before. Eight new cases were discovered so far this year.

The first week of systematic testing for the disease in Belgium found 14 suspected cases Tuesday, and authorities in Denmark reported a possible case there.

Mad Cow disease is believed to be linked to the fatal human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which has killed at least 80 people in Britain and two in France.

In the Italy case, a milk cow suspected of having the disease was found on a breeding farm near Brescia, in the northern region of Lombardy.

A few years ago in Sicily two cows imported from Britain were found to have the brain-wasting disease, but no case had been reported in a native Italian cow before Saturday.

The Italian health ministry said the animal was slain Thursday and two tests indicated the cow could have the disease. The results of a third test, which the ministry said should be definitive, were expected Tuesday.

The health minister's appearance at a hastily announced news conference seemed aimed at assuring Italians that the government, with an eye on elections in a few months, was on top of the situation.

Late last year, Italian farmers mobilized on the border with France to make sure no beef from that country made it into Italy.

Germany announced Sunday that it will step up research on the illness to help fight public fears about infected beef. The army also is destroying stocks of troop rations containing meat and sausage that were produced before Oct. 1, the Defense Ministry said.

EU countries began requiring all cattle older than 30 months to be proven free from Mad Cow disease before the beef can be sold. Meat from any that aren't tested may not enter the food chain.

The stepped-up measures were agreed upon in December in response to the discovery of Mad Cow cases in countries like Germany and Spain that had considered themselves free of the disease.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - New tests in Mad Cow scare

AP

Canoe- Monday 15 January 2001


VIENNA -- Austrian officials said yesterday that tests for Mad Cow disease on an animal raised in the central European country were inconclusive and more tests were needed.

Italy, meanwhile, reported its first suspected case of the disease Saturday, fueling concerns about the illness that first erupted in Britain in the 1980s.

The comments about Austria's possible Mad Cow case differed from earlier reports. Those reports said tests for the cow, born in Tyrol province and slaughtered in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, had come up positive.

Later, a health ministry spokesman said the initial results could not be accepted because the test used was part of a batch that resulted in 64 false positive readings in Germany last week.

New testing for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as Mad Cow disease, has been ordered and results should be available by the middle of next week. A confirmed infection would represent Austria's first case of the disease.

In the Italy case, a milk cow suspected of having the disease was found on a breeding farm near Brescia, in the northern region of Lombardy.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - Brussels plays down BSE crisis

Staff Reporter

BBC- Monday 15 January 2001


Monday, 15 January, 2001, 19:03 GMT The European Commission has been trying to allay escalating public fears over BSE, as the EU's stringent testing programme, begun on 1 January, has already been finding new cases.

Commission spokeswoman Beate Gminder sought to play down the results on Monday, saying that the detection of infected animals was the whole point of the programme and that the new cases were "no surprise".

"Although we must remain vigilant, we should also not be adding to the fears of the population simply because we are conducting a testing programme," she said.

Meanwhile in Spain, farmers held a series of protests throughout the country, demanding more compensation for losses caused by plummeting beef prices.

Ms Gminder also denied German press reports quoting Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne as saying that he envisaged a BSE epidemic in Germany comparable to that in Britain, where BSE first broke out.

No comparison

"Even if the number of cases in Germany grows larger and larger," Ms Gminder said, "there is no possible comparison with the situation in Britain, or that of any other member state."

Italy's Prime Minister Giuliano Amato also appealed for calm on Monday as experts awaited the test results on what was feared to be his country's first home-grown case of Mad Cow disease.

"Italians, remain calm, we are doing everything necessary. We are conducting the tests out in open. We have one of the best records in Europe," Mr Amato said from Beijing, where he is on a three-day visit.

Scientists and EU officials had in fact warned that as the pace of BSE testing increased, so would the number of new cases uncovered.

Shock at results

But the detection of the disease in countries that had thought themselves BSE-free has still come as a shock.

Germany, where the first BSE case was discovered late last year, is of particular concern to the commission after several new cases were detected.

As beef sales plummet throughout Europe, Spanish cattle farmers brought meat production to a virtual halt on Monday, to demand more compensation for losses caused by the deadly disease.

One farming group reported two arrests as thousands of protesters took to the streets in 11 of Spain's 17 regions, blocking slaughterhouses and gathering outside local government buildings.


15 Jan 01 - CJD - British scientists test 6,500 cattle for BSE

Staff Reporter

BBC- Monday 15 January 2001


British scientists have begun testing the brains of at least 6,500 dead cattle for BSE.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown has told the House of Commons that cattle over that age which were expected to die on the farm or in transit this year would be tested for the brain disease.

The move is part of a European Union scheme to halt the spread of BSE, which has been linked to the fatal human equivalent new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

From 1 January, all cattle over 30 months in the European Union must be tested for BSE if it is intended for human consumption.

In a couple of weeks, British scientists will start carrying out new tests to see if cattle infected with BSE can pass on the disease in their milk.

The testing comes as the European Commission has revealed that the EU Mad Cow testing programme has detected new cases of the disease all over Europe.

The first case of BSE was discovered in Austria and the first case since 1994 was discovered in Italy.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuliano Amato urged caution. He said: "Italians, remain calm, we are doing everything necessary. We are conducting the tests out in open. We have one of the best records in Europe.

"It is statistically unlikely that we would have stayed at zero cases once the tests started," he added.

The urgent need to restore confidence in beef throughout the EU was highlighted by figures published at the weekend which indicated a huge 27% drop in beef sales throughout the EU.

This has been accompanied by an equally catastrophic drop of 26.2% in beef prices, according to commission figures.

Commission spokeswoman Beate Gminder sought to downplay the latest new cases saying the detection of infected animals was the whole point of the program and the new cases were "no surprise."

She added: "Although we must remain vigilant, we should also not be adding to the fears of the population simply because we are conducting a testing program."