Document Directory

20 Feb 01 - CJD - Drug firms 'drag feet' over BSE
20 Feb 01 - CJD - Vaccine safety to be reviewed after BSE criticism
20 Feb 01 - CJD - More Tests For BSE
20 Feb 01 - CJD - Suriname bans European beef
20 Feb 01 - CJD - UK Industry 'Penalised Once Again
20 Feb 01 - CJD - National Environmental Health Center's equipment inadequate
20 Feb 01 - CJD - Lithuania's inclusion into BSE Risk zone will not affect Latvia
20 Feb 01 - CJD - Germans to send beef to N Korea
19 Feb 01 - CJD - EC outlines Mad Cow package
19 Feb 01 - CJD - EU's Fischler puts forward 7 proposals to tackle BSE crisis
19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE threat to EU farm programme
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Pledge to avoid repeat of BSE scandal
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Hungary's grey cattle free of bovine disease
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Cosmetic Industry Uses No Cow Products
19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE: Angry farmers launch cull protest
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Zimbabwe To Benefit From Mad Cow Scare
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Brown pledges to correct 'failures' of the BSE crisis
19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE fears after Russia buys German beef
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Spillover claims 'irresponsible'
19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE may leave cow shortage at Muslim festival
19 Feb 01 - CJD - North Korea requests German BSE-scare cows
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Germans eat rodents to avoid BSE
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Franz Fischler set to alter the EU subsidy system
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Mad Cow crisis could play role in EU policy change
19 Feb 01 - CJD - EU, Gripped by Mad Cow Scare, Cancels Plan to Send beef to N.K.
19 Feb 01 - CJD - COA To Prohibit More Imports From Mad Cow Disease Affected Areas
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Congress Agency to Study U.S. Animal Feed Rules, Mad Cow
19 Feb 01 - CJD - North Korea Asks For "Mad Cows" To Feed Starving Millions
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Mad Cow control measures threaten Spanish bullfight festivals
19 Feb 01 - CJD - German parliament passes emergency anti-bse measures
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Lessons from Phillips must be learnt by EU
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Debate starts on Mad Cow disease
19 Feb 01 - CJD - Scientific Risk assessment if BSE were to be found in Sheep
19 Feb 01 - CJD - 25,000 interim payout for vCJD families
19 Feb 01 - CJD - CJD families welcome compensation payment



20 Feb 01 - CJD - Drug firms 'drag feet' over BSE

James Meikle, health correspondent

Guardian- Tuesday 20 February 2001


Drug manufacturers of nearly a third of the medicines authorised or being considered for sale in Britain have failed to provide the government with proof they are meeting rules designed to cut the risk of patients catching the human form of BSE, two months after a deadline for providing the information.

The medicines control agency said that up to the beginning of February, companies had only sent details about the manufacturing processes and ingredients for 12,000 of 17,500 licensed products.

The agency had requested the information by December 1 so that it could make its own checks that manufacturers were obeying all the rules before new European laws take effect next month. It was acutely embarrassed last autumn when it had to order the withdrawal of an oral polio vaccine developed using material from British cows, 14 years after BSE was first discovered in cattle in 1986.

Guidelines have been in place since 1989 to ban use of bovine sources from BSE-infected countries in injected vaccines, and oral medicines were meant to follow in the same spirit, even though the government still says the risk of infection through medicines is incalculably small.

Comprehensive European legislation was drawn up in 1999, and legally drug companies have until March 1 to comply. But the government told companies in July last year of its own December deadline. The inquiry team into the BSE catastrophe led by Lord Phillips of Matravers, now master of the rolls, was worried that civil servants in charge of the safety of medicines had not been sufficiently rigorous in ensuring that they did not represent a danger to humans.

Frances Hall, of the Human BSE Foundation, representing families of the 94 British victims of variant CJD, said: "The companies do seem to be dragging their feet. It has not been proved that some cases (of vCJD) came from injections. I still have my suspicions that some of them did. People have been tardy getting on top of this."

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said: "The industry was way ahead of everyone else in making sure everything was properly in place. We are talking about thousands of medicines, and companies have had to go back years. It was a huge job and was never going to be done overnight. We have worked extremely hard to get the information right, on time."

Under the new measures, the European commission wanted information about all medicines, including those that did not include animal material in their manufacture.

Safety officials are also about to embark on another review of how vaccines were made as far back as the 1970s. They have already checked back to 1980, but the Phillips inquiry suggested that the scale of cattle disease may have been silently growing unnoticed up to 15 years before it was finally recognised in late 1986.


20 Feb 01 - CJD - Vaccine safety to be reviewed after BSE criticism

James Meikle, health correspondent

Guardian- Tuesday 20 February 2001


Government advisers will next month begin to review the safety of vaccines dating back to the early 1970s, following criticisms that they had not sufficiently examined all the possible ways that BSE may have spread from cattle to humans.

Evidence has recently emerged that oral polio vaccines using material from British cows was in use until last October despite long-standing controls that were meant to prevent just such an occurrence.

The new checks are part of the government's response to the verdict on the BSE scandal by Lord Phillips, the master of the rolls, who called for major changes in the way ministers, civil servants and advisers responded to such crises in future.

Lord Phillips's report demanded less secrecy, more willingness to consider unwelcome scientific opinion and better contingency planning for "worst case" scenarios. It was also fiercely critical of the way government departments failed to monitor basic safety measures when the possibilities that people could catch new variant CJD, the fatal human form of BSE, from infected cow meat were first raised in the late 1980s.

The possibility that vaccines offered another route to infection has long been recognised and successive guidelines were introduced during the 1990s. The guidelines were meant to ensure only sources from countries without BSE were used.

Foetal calf serum has long been used to help "grow" strains of viruses to use in vaccines against diseases such as polio. The committee on the safety of medicines only last year looked at vaccine production dating back to 1980, and last October a vaccine using British-sourced material was withdrawn.

The government insists the risk of catching variant CJD is "incalculably small" but has ordered more checks because Lord Phillips concluded that BSE had probably been prevalent but unnoticed through much of the 1970s.

Ministers have also agreed to consider opening up the system for approving medicines; make sure any bovine-based products including cosmetics are tracked; and re-examine whether present methods for disposing of the meat industry's waste are safe.

The government's 102-page interim response to Lord Phillips's report accepted or agreed with most of its 167 findings. But it argued much progress had already been made on ending departmental turf wars, widening the range of scientific advice, being more open with the public, and planning for the worst - notably the possibility that BSE might have transferred to sheep.

However the response questioned Lord Phillips's judgment that BSE most likely first started as a mutation in cattle and said the origin remains uncertain. A review of the current state of knowledge is already under way. It also stated that: "The government does not believe there are any serious gaps in its powers to take proportionate emergency action against hazards to human or animal health."

A handful of civil servants who are still in their posts and more than two dozen ministers, officials and advisers criticised by Lord Phillips will not be disciplined.

Nick Brown, the agriculture minister, said yesterday: "There isn't one person who is to blame for this. It was an institutional failure and a political failure right across government." However the Conservatives "were thrown out of office, at least in part, because of the way they managed the BSE crisis."

MPs will debate the government's response next week and the public have been invited to comment before ministers determine whether further action is necessary.


20 Feb 01 - CJD - More Tests For BSE

The Western Mail

Total Wales- Tuesday 20 February 2001


Britain has been told to test an extra 65,000 cattle for Mad Cow disease in the latest round of European Commission measures to crack down on BSE.

Animals targeted are those born in the 12 months from August 1, 1997 - the year following the introduction of a total ban on meat and bonemeal in feed for cows.

Although such animals were not in danger of entering the food chain, the Commission said such tests will give valuable new information into the origins of BSE.

The move comes as part of another attempt by Brussels to halt the spread of BSE in the face of outbreaks in Germany and Spain .

The Commission has exempted the UK from a new requirement to remove the entire spinal column from cattle .

(Mad Cow correspondent's note: Why the exemption? MAFF have indicated that entire spinal column has been removed from cattle for many years, it now now appears that the British Public have been misled yet again. Perhaps MAFF deceipt should be added to death and taxes as the only certainties in life)

But it said that more "reassurance" was needed from member states about occurrence of BSE.


20 Feb 01 - CJD - Suriname bans European beef

Ananova

PA News- Tuesday 20 February 2001


Suriname has banned the import of European beef and stopped issuing licences to import animal feed containing animal parts due to fears over Mad Cow disease.

The South American former Dutch colony imports only about 10% of its beef, nearly all of it from the United States.

The chairman of the Suriname Consumers Association, Rudi Balker, said his organisation was worried that some European surplus meat could find its way into the country.

The head of the government's meat inspection programme, Dennis Rozenblad, said: "There is virtually no chance that beef from countries where there is Mad Cow disease will enter Suriname."


20 Feb 01 - CJD - UK Industry 'Penalised Once Again

The Western Mail

Total Wales- Tuesday 20 February 2001


Plans to change Europe's beef policy to deal with the growing problem caused by BSE on the Continent have been criticised as "totally unfair" to UK producers by the Farmers' Union of Wales.

"Britain's beef farmers have already suffered enough because of BSE," said FUW President Bob Parry. "We have introduced a huge range of measures, not only to combat the disease, but also to make sure that such a dis-aster will never happen again.

"Yet now the European Union is ready to propose new measures to apply throughout Europe that will have the effect of penalising our beef producers for a second time. This is grossly unfair and we as farmers will not stand for it.

"We have gone through the pain of BSE. Now we are in a position to reap the rewards because we have tackled the disease head on," said Mr Parry.

"British shoppers have returned to British beef in a big way, thanks to the fact that it is universally recognised as being produced to the highest safety standards in the world.

"Compare our situation with that on the continent. The governments of France and Germany could have taken the same action as ourselves by banning meat and bone meal from animal feed years ago. Instead, they chose to take no action.

"Now our continental neighbours find they have a BSE problem in their own cattle herds."


20 Feb 01 - CJD - National Environmental Health Center's equipment inadequate

Indra Sprance

LETA- Tuesday 20 February 2001


State Veterinary Service says National Environmental Health Center's equipment inadequate for diagnosing BSE

RIGA, Feb. 20 (LETA) - Equipment installed in the National Environmental Health Center's Virology Laboratory is inadequate for diagnosing BSE or Mad Cow disease at this time, LETA was told by Vinets Veldre, director of the State Veterinary Service.

Veldre said that experts from Veterinary Medicine Institute and virology experts evaluated the National Environmental Health Center's equipment and concluded that it is insufficient for immediate and precise diagnoses, therefore, the State Veterinary Service will weigh further action today.

According to Veldre, there are two options - refraining from purchasing expensive equipment and paying for testing that the laboratory is unable to carry out or purchasing required equipment to take 40,000 samples a year as previously planned.

After the press reported about the laboratory at National Environmental Health Center, the State Revenue Service sent a letter to the center requesting information on equipment and options for diagnosis of BSE at the laboratory.

Minister of Welfare Andrejs Pozarnovs said earlier during his visit to the laboratory today that it is prepared to conduct diagnoses for BSE, however, it is the Ministry of Agriculture that must decide whether to accept the offer or to use the money allotted for farmer subsidies in order to purchase equipment that Latvia already possesses.

According to Veldre, the State Veterinary Service requires funding for carrying out "Prionik" tests, currently used in Germany and other European Union countries where the disease was ascertained.

"For three years already, the Veterinary Service has been using histology methods in BSE tests, and nothing has been ascertained so far. Unfortunately, the same method was used in other EU countries, until it was ascertained that the disease has already spread," said Veldre.


20 Feb 01 - CJD - Lithuania's inclusion into BSE Risk zone will not affect Latvia

Indra Sprance

LETA- Tuesday 20 February 2001


Veldre: Lithuania's inclusion into BSE risk zone will not affect Latvia

RIGA, Feb. 20 (LETA) - Lithuania's inclusion in the BSE or Mad Cow disease risk group will not affect the evaluation of Latvia, LETA was told by the State Veterinary Service's head Vinets Veldre.

According to Veldre, regardless of the Baltic Free Trade Agreement, the European Union's draft directive on curbing BSE, which says that Lithuania is to be included in the risk group, this cannot affect Latvia.

According to Veldre, the draft directive provides for three types of risk groups, including one where those countries are included where the number of BSE tests was insufficient.

Veldre said that this may be the reason why Lithuania was included in the risk group. "There are 3.5 times more cattle in Lithuania, however, only 60 samples were taken there," said Veldre. 40,000 samples are scheduled to be taken in Latvia this year.


20 Feb 01 - CJD - Germans to send beef to N Korea

John Hooper, Berlin

Guardian- Tuesday 20 February 2001


German and North Korean officials are discussing a plan to ship surplus German beef arising from the BSE crisis to famine-stricken North Korea.

In an interview published yesterday the German agriculture minister, Renate Künast, said she was ready to approve the idea, provided that the meat was shared fairly among the population and international humanitarian organisations were given untrammelled access to the country.

The German government has agreed to an EU scheme to buy and slaughter 400,000 head of cattle to prop up beef prices.

The sale of beef fell sharply after it was discovered at the end of last year that Mad Cow disease had entered German herds.

Meat from the cull will be tested for BSE before being approved for export. Since BSE tests are not 100% reliable the beef intended for North Korea will carry a higher risk of infection than meat from countries unaffected by the disease.

Pyongyang's willingness to have it was conveyed in a letter from its diplomatic mission in Berlin congratulating Ms Künast on her appointment.

Ms Künast, a Green, joined the cabinet last month after her predecessor resigned after being criticised for his handling of the BSE crisis.

The charitable organisation Cap Anamur said last week that North Korea had asked for the meat from 200,000 head of cattle. The German development ministry having talks with NGOs about the suitability of beef for starving North Koreans.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - EC outlines Mad Cow package

Staff Reporter

BBC- Monday 19 February 2001


The European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler has announced new emergency measures to deal with Mad Cow disease putting the emphasis firmly on non-industrial farming methods.

Mr Fischler laid out a seven-point emergency plan to the European Parliament in Strasbourg aimed at combating the crisis in the beef market caused by the collapse of consumer confidence.

"The BSE crisis demonstrates the need for a return to farming methods that are more in tune with the environment," he said.

In fact, the EC's long-term objective is to reduce beef production and to move away from intensive, industrial farming methods.

"This is not like a foreman who can immediately shut down a production line," warned Mr Fischler.

Under the new rules EU subsidies will only cover herds of up to 90 cattle - a move aimed at stemming beef production and avoiding the build up of a beef mountain.

Mr Fischler has also extended the cull of cattle which was due to end in July.

It will now continue until the end of the year, but after July countries will be able to choose whether to destroy carcasses or store beef to release it back on the market later on, provided it is free of BSE.

"Our plan will increase the environmental and social sustainability of EU beef production," said Mr Fischler.

"This should defuse what is a slowly-ticking time-bomb."

Farmers have continued their protests against the handling of the crisis.

In Brussels farmers blocked traffic with their trucks to demand more financial aid to deal with the crisis and farmers in France staged a series of protests demanding compensation.

Sales of beef are down over 20% across the European Union but in Germany they have plunged by up to 50%.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - EU's Fischler puts forward 7 proposals to tackle BSE crisis

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


STRASBOURG (AFX) - Franz Fischler, the European commissioner for Agriculture, has put forward seven proposals to the European Parliament to deal with the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy crisis and its consequences on the meat industry.

Four measures concern changes in the eligibility criteria governing bonuses awarded to farmers while an adjustment to the subsidised slaughter programme was also proposed.

Fischler also said the commission will encourage the production of organic animal feed for livestock.

Fischler's final proposal concerns ending the 350,000 tonne intervention ceiling by which member states have to buy meat when its price falls below a certain level.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE threat to EU farm programme

By the BBC's Rodney Smith.

BBC- Monday 19 February 2001


A blend of panic and prohibition has proved a sour sauce for French beef.

Tony Blair's government's response to the official report on the BSE crisis in Britain - the 17-volume report was published last October and listed 167 recommendations - will be read as avidly throughout the European Union as at home.

Fear of BSE, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, Mad Cow disease, has already cut beef consumption in some markets, like Spain, by 30%.

This is likely to get worse, not better.

The EU estimates that it will cost at least 10bn euros to deal with the scare. That is a largely arbitrary figure; no-one yet knows how big the problem will be.

However, it will probably have one long term benefit for some.

It could force radical change in the European Union's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) - seen by many developing nation food exporters as the biggest evil they face.

In 1996, the European Union subsidised European farmers to the tune of $120bn - that is nearly $18,000 per farmer, or $322 per consumer.

That huge cost is dwarfed by no other country, although Japan, the US, Switzerland and Norway spend more per farmer.

But pressure is growing to reduce the huge CAP - ministers realise that the twin aims of a bigger EU and a smaller CAP will mean radical adjustments in the amount that farmers can be paid.

Many of the countries applying to join the EU see the CAP as one of the biggest appeals - a huge bowl of money just to support their farmers. They are going to be proved wrong.

BSE may be the catalyst.

No one really knows yet how much the BSE crisis will cost, but consider that the millions of tonnes of beef in cold storage - the beef mountain - will now have to be destroyed, on top of the estimated 400,000 cattle in Germany.

And the cost and the simple management of such a huge task could become horrendous enough to pull the already stressed CAP budget apart.

Meanwhile, consumers in some of the east European states are anxious that they could be unwitting victims of Europe's problem.

Without the tough checks and balances of the food industries of Western Europe, they fear they could end up consuming beef sold to them by unscrupulous farmers to their west.

We may all find that eating more vegetables is better for us in the end after all.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Pledge to avoid repeat of BSE scandal

Staff Reporter

BBC- Monday 19 February 2001


Human form of BSE is thought to have killed 86

Ministers have pledged to do all in their power to prevent a repeat of the BSE scandal which is thought to have claimed the lives of 86 people.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown acknowledged that the inquiry into the outbreak had identified "serious shortcomings" in the handling of the affair by previous Conservative governments.

Opening a debate on Lord Phillips' report, Mr Brown said: "The whole approach and behaviour of departments and individuals will need to change to ensure that the lessons identified by the inquiry are properly absorbed and implemented."

One "central question" remained - the unresolved origin of BSE, and there would be further research into this before the government's final response to the report was published later this year.

Lord Phillips' 16-volume report, published last October, criticised ministers and civil servants for failing to be open about the possibility of BSE spreading to humans.

The government published its interim response last week and announced on Wednesday plans to pay interim compensation of £25,000 each to families of those who had died of variant CJD - the human form of "Mad Cow" disease.

'Political failure'

Mr Brown told the Commons the report documented "institutional and political failure up to the highest levels".

With several Tory former agriculture ministers, including John Gummer, listening intently from the Opposition benches, he said the Conservative government had "failed to be completely open about BSE".

Mr Brown said the report found that many of those dealing with the problem "hoped and believed" that a link between BSE and humans would never be found.

"The official line that the risk of transmissibility was remote and that beef was safe did not recognise the possible validity of any other view. Dissident scientists tended to be treated with derision."

Public 'betrayed'

The consequence was that when the link was found "the public felt betrayed".

Mr Brown outlined Government action taken since the report, including the setting up of a Food Standards Agency and added: "Institutional shortcomings cannot be corrected overnight.

Shadow Agriculture Minister: Conclusions 'comprehensive and fair'

"There has been a significant loss of public confidence in the arrangements for handling food safety and standards, in large part due to the events surrounding BSE.

"Our task is to do everything we can so that these failures do not happen again."

He said the report documented "a national tragedy that has so far claimed the lives of 86 of our fellow citizens and wreaked havoc on an entire industry".

Government openness

Promising greater government openness, he said: "Trust can only be generated by openness."

Shadow agriculture minister Tim Yeo welcomed Mr Brown's comments and said he accepted the "comprehensive and fair" conclusions of the Phillips Report.

"We recognise mistakes were made. I profoundly regret the consequences of those mistakes and we are truly sorry for the tragic outcomes and terrible suffering of victims of vCJD."

Blaming individuals for particular actions is not a "particularly constructive" way forward, he added.

Labour's Dr David Clark MP, agriculture spokesman between 1987 and 1992, attacked the previous administration for delays and initially "hushing up" the disease for financial reasons.

Tory former agriculture minister John MacGregor, who was responsible for implementing the ban on meat and bonemeal in animal feed, defended himself against criticisms in the report.

Up to 40 new animal diseases were discovered every year, he said, and it was impossible to know which was going to prove the most difficult.

"When I took the initial decisions about the banning of meat and bonemeal I was conscious that we were only 80% sure that that was a cause of BSE."

He "quickly" banned meat and bonemeal within three weeks of receiving a report from the chief vet to say he thought it was the cause, he insisted.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Hungary's grey cattle free of bovine disease

Staff Reporter

China Daily- Monday 19 February 2001


BUDAPEST: Dezso Szomor, a burly Hungarian farmer, rises early to tend his herd of unique grey cattle and is certain when he tucks into a stew it is absolutely BSE free.

His 1,500 animals are not only strict vegetarians and never eat the bone meal blamed for the spread of BSE, or Mad Cow disease, elsewhere in Europe, they are not even from the same gene pool as other herds.

"This is a half-wild animal, and the quality of its meat is closer to game than beef," Szomor said, taking a visitor around his farm on the muddy plains of southeastern Hungary to see his herd, the second largest in the country.

With Western Europe gripped by the scare over BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, which can trigger a brain-wasting disease in humans, Hungary has something that could tickle the tastebuds of beef lovers who have been put off their usual steak.

"There seems to be a growing interest for grey cattle as a bio-product," Szomor said.

The Hungarian salami maker Pick Szeged, for one, offers a bio-salami that is a mix of grey cattle meat and pork.

The Hortobagy Biosalami won the prize for "Bio-product of the Year" at Budapest's annual international food and agriculture fair last year, tempting Pick to aim even higher.

"We'll take the bio-salami to the Munich bio-fair in February," said Bela Kevei, head of processed products at Pick.

Its great to be grey

Grey cattle are stockier, sturdier and somewhat more refined than the average heifer.

They are a special breed whose lineage, some experts say, can be traced back more than 1,000 years.

According to one theory, grey cattle were brought into the territory of Hungary by Hungarian tribes when they settled in the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century AD.

Other scientists say the animals arrived somewhat later from Italy or the Balkans. Another theory says they are descended from ancient aurochs, an indigenous ox-like creature that is now extinct, and were domesticated in Hungary during the Middle Ages.

"In the 15th and 16th centuries, large Hungarian herds were driven to Strasbourg, Venice and other big cities, and the meat of grey cattle was highly valued," said Bertalan Szekely, senior official at the Agricultural Ministry.

Those exports were later restricted by heavy duties and the herds went into decline.

The grey cattle, kept for their meat and not for their milk, were nearly doomed to extinction after World War II, when their numbers dropped to below 200 with the spread of more productive milk and meat herds.

But a few were saved, and now they constitute a valuable genetic reserve in Hungary.

Hobby horse

Szomor bought three young bulls and six heifers back in 1978 to keep as a hobby.

Over the past 20 years his herd has grown into a tourist attraction. It is now the second largest after one in the Hortobagy National Park in the east of the country.

"If they are kept outside grazing, as is traditional, these cattle are the cheapest to raise," said 53-year-old Szomor.

"They withstand extreme weather conditions, such as cold, very well and have a strong immune system," he added.

But the herds are still small - artisanal herding, as opposed to mass meat production - and this could be a major stumbling block to wider commercialization.

Hungary has around 800,000 cattle, including about 5,000 greys.

"In the Hungarian beef industry, the volume of grey cattle meat is not significant, due to the small size of the stock," said Szekely.

At present, only about 450 calves can be slaughtered in the country annually, and there are slightly more than 3,000 cows, Szomor said.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, Hungary exported 114,087 live cattle in the first 11 months of last year, of which 46,852 went to European Union member states.

beef exports totalled 9,741 ton in the same period, with the EU accounting for 7,864 ton.

Kevei, of meat processor Pick, says the company makes five to six ton of the speciality bio-salami annually and sells it via large hypermarkets as well as health food shops in Hungary.

The amount is insignificant compared to Pick's total annual salami output of 10,000 ton.

"But it's a continuously growing market," Kevei said.

"The escalating scandal over BSE in Europe reduces beef consumption, but at the same time it directs attention towards bio-products."

The German manufacturer Hipp also uses some Hungarian grey cattle meat to make bio-baby food.

Szomor hopes he will be able to sell more grey cattle meat, packaged and promoted as game.

But he realizes the market must remain limited, at least for now.

"Grey cattle meat can be sold only as a Hungarian delicacy, at least for the time being," Szomor said.

"We would not be able to supply a larger market or a bigger company - it would take many years to boost the size of the herds."


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Cosmetic Industry Uses No Cow Products

Chung Seong-jin, sjchung@chosun.com

Chosun.com- Monday 19 February 2001


The Korean cosmetics industries association surveyed the top fifty cosmetics firms in terms of sales recently and announced Sunday that it was confirmed no companies were found to be using extract materials from cows. The association explained that it banned its members from importing materials or cosmetics containing cow extracts in 1996 when the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) first rose as a problem in England.

In addition, the cosmetics industry's representative stated that no reports have been made of BSE contamination through cosmetics as of present and that it was hardly likely such a thing could happen. However, the group affirmed if any of its members or cosmetics importers are found to be using products made from cow extracts, the association will collect them and have them destroyed.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE: Angry farmers launch cull protest



CNN- Monday 19 February 2001


Farmers want the government to retract slaughter plans

DRESDEN, Germany -- More than 1,000 farmers gathered in Dresden in protest at the government's mass slaughter of cattle.

The government plans to kill 400,000 cattle under a "purchase for destruction" programme launched by the European Union last month to support market prices in the wake of the BSE crisis.

Carring banners reading "stop killing our animals" and "fight BSE and not the farmers" during Saturday's demonstration, the protesters called on the government to retract its order to slaughter all cows in a herd whenever one animal is found to have the deadly Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Germany has confirmed 29 cases of the disease since November and the country's beef consumption has fallen more than 75 percent, threatening 40,000 jobs in the food and farm sector.

The German parliament passed a BSE bill on Thursday giving the agriculture ministry broader access to emergency measures, such as ordering culls of herds where a Mad Cow case was discovered.

Mad Cow disease has killed thousands of cattle across Europe and is believed by scientists to be linked to the human form of the ailment Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Official estimates put BSE-related costs at 2.1 billion marks ($1 billion) with the money going to the slaughter, disposal of banned meat and bone meal and the cost of BSE tests, now compulsory for all cattle over the age of 24 months.

Last month, about 6,000 farmers with 500 tractors gathered in the northern German city of Rendsburg to protest against the slaughter of 350 cows.

Many were angry they would not get properly paid for the slaughter -- not that the animals would be killed.

The latest protests come one day after the European Commission said it remained cautious over suggestions that surplus EU beef could be sent to poor nations as food aid.

Some European nations destroy poor-quality beef to reduce the surplus in the wake of the Mad Cow crisis and push up prices but critics suggest it should be used to help the malnourished.

Agriculture spokesman for the EU's executive body Gregor Kreuzhuber said that beef being dumped in Developing World markets could destroy their national beef markets.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Zimbabwe To Benefit From Mad Cow Scare



All Africa- Monday 19 February 2001


Harare: Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the scare surrounding Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - better known as Mad Cow disease - through increased exports of crocodile and ostrich meat, now popular items on European menus.

Europe's loss could be Zimbabwe's gain as the BSE panic continues in those markets with even the US taking extreme measures to protect its lucrative beef market against the brain-wasting disease.

Zimbabwe is confident that its preventative measures against Mad Cow disease will pay dividends should there be an upturn in the export of beef alternatives.

The department of Veterinary Services, keen to protect the country's meat producers, in particular cattle farmers, has tightened veterinary controls since BSE was first identified about eight years ago.

Director of Veterinary Services, Stuart Hargreaves, told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that BSE was declared a specified disease in 1994. This was followed by a wide range of protective measures including prohibiting entry of animals or animal products that constituted a risk.

While cattle producers ruled out a marginal increase in Zimbabwe's 9 000-tonne beef quota to the EU, their counterparts in ostrich and crocodile products were optimistic more of their meat would be served in Europe this year.

"There is a shift away from eating beef in Europe and people are looking for alternatives to beef," said Hargreaves.

"There is also a decrease in meat consumption in general. In terms of marketing we should continue to emphasise the safety of our meat and beef. The risks of BSE occurring here are nil."

beef-eaters in Europe have been forced to alter their palates after the outbreak of Mad Cow disease which in Britain has been linked to a number of deaths. BSE fears have driven up the demand for exotic imports such as ostrich, crocodile, kangaroo and emu, the flightless Australian bird, in some European countries.

In Zimbabwe, Hargreaves said veterinary staff have been sent on special training courses to ensure their efficiency in detecting BSE.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Brown pledges to correct 'failures' of the BSE crisis

By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent

Independent- Monday 19 February 2001


The government promised to learn the lessons of the BSE crisis last night to prevent a similar outbreak. Nick Brown, the Minister of Agriculture, said: "Progress has been made, but there is more to do. Institutional shortcomings cannot be corrected overnight."

Opening an adjournment debate on the report by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers into the BSE crisis, Mr Brown said: "There has been a significant loss of public confidence in the arrangements for handling food safety and standards, in large part due to the events surrounding BSE. Our task is to do everything we can so these failures do not happen again."

The report, published in October, criticised ministers and civil servants for failing to be open about the possibility of BSE spreading to humans.

The Government gave its interim response last week, and announced plans this week to make interim compensation payments of £25,000 each to families of those who had died of variant CJD, the human form of "Mad Cow" disease.

Mr Brown told the Commons that the report documented "institutional and political failure up to the highest levels" and said the whole behaviour of government departments needed to change.

Mr Brown said the public had felt "betrayed" by the affair. "In some crucial areas BSE policy was slow in development, sometimes lagging behind the latest scientific developments.

"The official line that the risk of transmissibility was remote and that beef was safe did not recognise the possible validity of any other view. Dissident scientists tended to be treated with derision."

Tim Yeo, the shadow Agriculture Minister, accepted the report's conclusions and acknowledged mistakes had been made. "I profoundly regret the consequences... and we are truly sorry for the tragic outcomes and terrible suffering of victims of vCJD." The lessons should be learnt and applied "not only here in Britain but in other countries", he said.

John Gummer, the former Conservative agriculture minister who tried to dispel public fears by feeding a hamburger to his daughter, also said lessons needed to be learnt. But he defended his actions at the height of the crisis, saying: "For example, there was great pressure on me to ban all milk because it might be an agent. I was told by the scientists, with the same firmness that they told me that BSE transmission was a remote possibility, that any possibility of passing through the milk was remote.

"The difficulty is that I happened to be right in the one, and clearly as events turned out, wrong in the other - the advice was the same and my determination to accept it and reach to its edges in the direction of safety was precisely the same."

John MacGregor, the former Conservative minister who implemented the ban on meat and bonemeal in animal feed, also defended himself. "I was always conscious we were taking decisions without being entirely sure of the scientific assessments underlying them.

"When I took the initial decisions about the banning of meat and bonemeal I was conscious that we were only 80 per cent sure that that was a cause of BSE. There was always the risk that we were completely wrong, challenged under judicial review or the courts by the industry for taking actions not based on any scientific assessment," Mr MacGregor said.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE fears after Russia buys German beef

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


Russian MPs are concerned about the risk of BSE after Moscow's mayor signed a deal with Bavarian farmers for 100,000 tonnes of beef.

The mayor said all the meat would be tested before it was sold.

Russian ultra nationalist MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky has demanded that Russia should only sell Russian beef.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said Russia needs to import 65% of its meat.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Spillover claims 'irresponsible'

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


Chirac says safety agency's sheep, goat BSE spillover claims 'irresponsible'

PARIS (AFX) - President Jacques Chirac said the food safety agency AFSSA's warning of a possible spillover of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy to sheep and goats was "irresponsible".

Speaking at the opening of France's annual Agricultural Show in Paris today, Chirac said the warning amounted to an invitation to panic and that the timing of the announcement is an example of, "stupidity and bad taste."

He said all necessary precautions for sheep had been in operation for a long time and there was "no new element" to justify the warning.

AFSSA called for tighter safeguards on sheep and goat products in the light of the "hypothetical" risk of BSE infection.

On Friday the Agriculture ministry announced that the European Union is to buy 13,450 tonnes of French beef in order to boost the French market. The purchase is the largest amount of aid given to boost the market of a member state since the "public intervention mechanism" came into force in December, the ministry said in a statement.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - BSE may leave cow shortage at Muslim festival

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


There may be a shortage of cows to slaughter at a Muslim festival in Malaysia because of BSE fears.

Up to 6,000 cattle are sacrificed every year during the Hari Raya Haji celebrations.

But a government ban on beef from Thailand, over BSE concerns, has led to more than 1,000 animals being impounded.

Domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told The Straits Times: "We will look for alternative sources, like from Australia and India, to help overcome the shortage in the country."


19 Feb 01 - CJD - North Korea requests German BSE-scare cows

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


North Korea has offered to eat the cows Germany plans to slaughter as a result of the BSE scare.

Officials at the Ministry of Unification say their starving people would be happy to eat the 400,000 cows.

The request has been passed on to the German government by an aid agency.

Around three million people have starved to death in the country since 1995.

The South China Morning Post quotes a North Korean official saying: "This is a great chance for North Korea to receive necessary nutrition for free."

beef sales in Germany have slumped by 60% since the scare broke - even though only 28 cases of BSE have been reported in the country compared to more than 100,000 in the UK.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Germans eat rodents to avoid BSE

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


Germans have started eating rodents because of fears over BSE .

The change in diet is also thought to be part of a trend towards eating exotic meats which also include crocodile, kangaroo and emu.

A recommended recipe is to serve the South American coypu, which is a very large rodent, with red wine and cream.

Professor Steven Berry of Bonn University says their flesh is "exceedingly good".

Butcher Sven Haeddicke has shipped in 2,000lbs of coypu to cope with demand, The Express reports.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Franz Fischler set to alter the EU subsidy system

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


EU's Fischler to propose farm subsidy review, improve cattle feed to fight BSE

BRUSSELS (AFX) - European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler is set to propose today to alter the EU subsidy system to support farm production and encourage the use of biological products to feed cattle in a bid to fight the consequences of the BSE cattle disease crisis and to support meat prices, according to sources close to the commissioner.

The package of measures, combined with the existing subsidised slaughter of cattle, is meant to reduce the quantity of meat on the market and therefore stem the fall in prices.

Fischler will present later today his proposals to the European parliament.

As part of this package, the commission is expected to propose incentives for farmers who produce natural fodder from fallow fields. Animal fat-based feed is said to encourage the spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

The commission intends to promote the use of vegetable-based feed, encouraging the production of protein-rich crops such as soya and alfalfa on arable, unplanted land.

Fischler is also to propose ending the 350,000-tonne yearly ceiling on the amount of beef that can be bought off the market under the EU's intervention scheme when beef market prices fall below a given level.

He will, said the sources, also propose measures to encourage free-range beef farming and discourage so-called battery farming in which cattle are raised for quantity rather than quality.

Premiums are currently paid to farmers according to a ratio of two bulls per hectare, a formula Fischler wants cut to 1.8 heads per hectare.

Premiums for dairy cattle would remain unchanged, but the criteria for eligibility for the subsidies would be modified.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Mad Cow crisis could play role in EU policy change

Staff Reporter

China Daily- Monday 19 February 2001


TOKYO: The Mad Cow crisis should speed up reform of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU's trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said.

The BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) affair could be the catalyst needed to propel the EU towards adopting a multifunctional approach to agriculture and away from plain price support, he said.

It was likely to influence the EU's negotiating stance at the next multilateral round of agricultural trade talks the World Trade Organization (WTO) hopes to launch in Qatar in November, Lamy said at the end of a visit to South Korea and Japan.

Backed by Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and numerous developing nations, the EU wants recognition for the multifunctional role of agriculture as a distinct form of production and with important cultural and environmental implications.

This position is opposed by the Cairns Group of major agricultural exporting nations.

"Firstly, there is no contradiction between the CAP in its present form and multifunctionality," Lamy said.

He pointed out that the conditionality of the bloc's direct aid to farmers' incomes as opposed to price support "is the practical application of multifunctionality."

"There are already such elements, reaffirmed at the 1999 Berlin EU Summit, which allow us to approach the multilateral negotiation with something already in the bag," he added.

"Will the BSE crisis accelerate this process or not? This is a question which is still not settled," Lamy said. "But we can suppose that it's going to reinforce this trend. The question is what is the timetable?"

For Lamy, "the timetable is already set," by the mid-term review the European Commission undertook at Berlin to carry out in 2002.

"In my view it's only then that we'll see what the real impact is, what the lessons of the BSE crisis are, and how it affects the working of the CAP, for instance the issue of hyperproductivity, and indirectly its financing, because the crisis is going to be extremely costly," the commissioner said.

"I would be amazed if this mid-term assessment were not affected by what is going on," he added.

"The question is whether we move ahead faster or maintain the current pace" of shifting gradually from price subsidies to direct income support for European farmers.

As well as causing a Europe-wide collapse in beef consumption and an end to beef exports, the BSE crisis has also prompted an unprecedented questioning of the CAP's pro-producer bias. It also threatens to eat up the EU's agricultural budget, which was strictly capped at Berlin.

As far as the forthcoming multilateral trade round is concerned, Lamy stressed that the EU had already made significant progress towards the elimination of export subsidies, which are the main bugbear of the Cairns Group.

"In the cereals sector, there is virtually no linkage between aid and the volume of production. Internal prices are almost in line with global (market) prices and we are no longer giving export subsidies. This is one example of where the job has more or less been done," Lamy said.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - EU, Gripped by Mad Cow Scare, Cancels Plan to Send beef to N.K.



Yonhap News- Monday 19 February 2001


Brussels, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- The European Union, despite its plummeting beef market in the wake of the Mad Cow disease scare, has no plans to send beef to famine-stricken North Korea, an official of the European Commission said Friday.

The official noted that the EU has shifted its aid focus for North Korea from food donations to the restructuring of its agricultural system.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - COA To Prohibit More Imports From Mad Cow Disease Affected Areas



Taipei- Monday 19 February 2001


Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) The Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) is planning to intensify its monitoring of European areas affected by Mad Cow disease and to add to its list of prohibited items, a spokesman for the COA said Monday.

The COA recently added Italy to its list of countries affected by Mad Cow disease and moved to prohibit imports of certain animal feed products from that country.

Sung Hua-tsung, deputy director of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said that the nation will prohibit imports of cows, goats, meat powder, bone meal, poultry meal, desiccated blood, lard and oil sediment for animal feed use. The ban also includes cow and sheep embryos and blood serum from Italy, and is effective immediately, Sung added.

The COA has already announced a list of 12 countries that have been hit by Mad Cow disease since the bovine disorder surfaced in Great Britain in 1990. Italy is the 13th country on the COA's list.

The COA has also prohibited imports of cow, sheep, bone and meat powder, poultry powder, cow and sheep embryos and blood serum from the previously-listed countries. (By Edward Chen)


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Congress Agency to Study U.S. Animal Feed Rules, Mad Cow



YAHOO- Monday 19 February 2001


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The investigative arm of Congress will analyze whether stricter measures are needed to keep out foreign animal feed that might be contaminated with the deadly Mad Cow disease, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said on Thursday.

Durbin, a Democrat, asked the General Accounting Office to also look at how well American feed mills, renderers, feed lots and farmers are complying with a US ban on using the ground-up remains of cattle in feed for cattle.

Although Mad Cow disease--or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy--has swept across much of Europe, no cases have been reported in the United States. More than 80 people in Britain and Europe have died from the human variation of Mad Cow disease, which leaves sponge-like holes in the brain.

The GAO investigation will be the second time in less than a year that the congressional investigators have looked at US livestock feed regulations and practices.

Last September, the GAO issued a report on a broad range of US animal feed issues, including precautions against Mad Cow disease.

That report found that 11% of US renderers were not aware of the ban on using cattle remains in animal feed, and 16% did not have a system in place to prevent commingling. Among US feed mills, 6% were unaware of the regulation and 21% did not label their products appropriately, the GAO said.

Until a US ban in 1997, it was standard practice to recycle slaughterhouse leftovers such as cattle brains, spinal cords, spleens and protein-rich bits into feed for cattle. Today, pigs, fish and fowl still eat rendered animal protein.

The United States banned imports of British beef in 1989, but still permits small amounts of beef products such as glandular material for health supplements, and milk, blood, fat, gelatin, tallow, bone mineral extracts, collagen and semen. The materials are used mostly for vaccines and medical products.

Durbin asked the GAO to investigate the following issues, and to issue a preliminary report by mid-May:

-- US feed mills--are they complying with regulations that ban the use of cattle carcasses to be ground up and recycled into feed for cattle?

-- Farmers--are they keeping animal feeds segregated at facilities where cattle are being fed?

-- Imports--how secure are US borders from animal feed that might contain banned ingredients such as cattle remains?

-- Animal feed regulations--do they need to be stricter, following the example of other nations?

-- Labels--should US regulations be changed to allow cattle to eat feed that only carries an ``OK to feed to ruminants'' label?

-- Health impact--what are the potential health effects and costs of an outbreak of Mad Cow disease in the United States?

-- Drugs, cosmetics--does the United States need stricter regulations to keep out drugs, vaccines, cosmetics and other non-food products that might contain material from infected animals from abroad?


19 Feb 01 - CJD - North Korea Asks For "Mad Cows" To Feed Starving Millions

Staff Reporter

EWTN- Monday 19 February 2001


ROME, (CWNews.com/Fides) - North Korea has asked Germany to send them the 400,000 cows destined to be incinerated because of the Mad Cow disease, so they can use them to feed the starving millions of Koreans.

The North Korean government said it is ready to risk the chance of its people contracting Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), rather than see them continue to suffer starvation in a deadly famine which began in 1994. ARD public broadcasting company said that Pyongyang told the German relief agency Cap Anamur of its request. The agency relayed the request to the ministry of agriculture and forestry in Berlin. Fides sources in South Korea confirm the news.

According to Kathie Zellweger, director of Caritas Hong Kong aid distribution which has worked to help North Koreans since 1994, "This is not advertising. This is a proof of the gravity of the situation in North Korea. Nourishment is totally unbalanced; children particularly suffer from serious protein and fat deficiency. To kill thousands of heads of cattle when there are people dying of hunger is a sin: they should test all the beasts and only kill the infected ones. This request is a signal that North Korea is desperate."

Duncan MacLaren, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis in Rome, made a humanitarian mission to North Korea in 2000. He recalls that "there was a suggestion to send some of the meat, after testing for security, to the poorer peoples of Europe." But he added, "I am doubtful whether it would be lawful. We certainly do not want to poison the people of North Korea or those of the southern hemisphere. I think there are better and safer ways to help them."

Hans Peter Rothlin, international president of Aid to the Church in Need in Germany, said: "Today North Korea starves while we incinerate cows. It is easy for us to run off a long list of reasons why the meat should not be sent." He said he is in favor of the idea if it were possible to give North Korea the guarantee that only healthy meat would be shipped, and this is possible thanks to BSE tests: "There are still millions of Germans who have not stopped consuming beef. Thus we are in favor of making this meat available for the starving population of North Korea."


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Mad Cow control measures threaten Spanish bullfight festivals

By Ciaran Giles, Associated Press

Fox News- Monday 19 February 2001


MADRID, Spain (AP) - Tough European measures against Mad Cow disease are threatening to bring an end to one of Spain's oldest traditions: small town festivals featuring bullfights.

"The regulations could be catastrophic,'' said Jaime Sebastian de Erice, spokesman for the Union of Fighting Bull Breeders. "Up to 80 percent of the bullfighting festivals in Spain will not be able take on the costs of the new measures.''

New European Union rules state that cattle over 30 months old must be tested for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, popularly known as Mad Cow disease, before they are slaughtered for human consumption. Otherwise they must be destroyed, usually by incineration.

But these measures collide head-on with the centuries-old tradition in Spain of selling carcasses of fighting bulls killed in the ring directly to butchers. Steaks, stew, tails, ears and testicles from the slain animals are popular fare in restaurants and meat markets after each fight.

According to Sebastian de Erice, about 40,000 bulls are slaughtered annually in an estimated 17,000 bullfight festivals, an industry that generates $4.5 billion a year. He said 14,000 of the festivals are small-town affairs run on a shoestring.

Maximino Perez, organizer of the four-day Valdemorillo town festival this month outside Madrid, said the Mad Cow scare has been an "economic disaster.''

"I lost 6 million pesetas ($34,000), or some 20 percent of the festival budget, just abiding by the Mad Cow regulations,'' he said.

Perez, who organizes about 50 such festivals a year, said he's not likely to see the season through unless authorities change the regulations or subsidize the festivals.

For the moment, Sebastian de Erice said, neither the central nor regional governments have offered any help.

Sebastian de Erice said the top-category bullfights in major towns and cities are not likely to be affected by the measures since their budgets can absorb the extra costs more easily.

Perez said he lost about $340 for each of the 52 bulls he used at Valdemorillo and spent about as much incinerating each animal.

He said some bulls and calves used in small-town festivals escape the regulations because they are less than 2 years old. The average age of bulls used in the larger festivals is 3 or more.

Some festivals this year have had veterinary facilities available to test the dead bulls. On testing negative, they were slaughtered and the meat sold to butchers, Sebastian de Erice said.

Breeders fear that if one of their bulls tests positive after a fight, it could lead to the mandatory slaughter of every cow and bull on the ranch where the bull was raised.

A fighting bull from a prestigious breeder can cost up to $17,000 - 30 times the price of some cows - and a ranch can have up to 40 such bulls, plus some 200 cows.

No cases of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy - a brain-wasting illness with a crossover, incurably fatal human equivalent - have been reported among Spain's fighting bulls, although 23 cases among cows have surfaced since November.

Breeders say that Spain's fighting bulls traditionally graze in pastures, rather than eat now-banned feeds made from ground-up animal remains - the practice blamed for the original outbreak of Mad Cow in Britain in the 1980s.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - German parliament passes emergency anti-bse measures

Staff Reporter

Handelsblatt- Monday 19 February 2001


Dow Jones BERLIN. Germany's parliament passed an emergency law against BSE Thursday, empowering the government quickly to order new public health measures and threatening up to five years in prison for anyone breaking a ban on feed made from ground-up animal carcasses.

The governing coalition of Greens and Social Democrats rushed the measure through the lower house in about a week as part of efforts to stem the disease's spread in German herds and promote organic farming. Upper-house approval is expected Friday.

The law lays down tighter labeling rules for animal feed and includes provisions aimed at preventing cross-border shipments of feed containing animal proteins, the kind of feed suspected of causing Europe's outbreak of Mad Cow disease.

The measures complement a December 1 law banning animal-based feed from German farms. Under the new law, violators risk up to five years in prison or fines of up to DM100,000.

Opposition conservatives said the measures failed to address the economic costs of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE. They criticized Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for refusing to attend a meeting of state officials Friday that will discuss how to distribute the costs among states and the federal government.

The Bavaria-based Christian Social Union, representing a major livestock farming state, urged the government to draft a supplementary budget to pay for measures such as BSE tests on cows, incineration of now-banned feed and plans to buy and destroy 400,000 cattle in Germany to boost the slumping beef market.

Some opposition politicians also said the new law gave the government too much leeway in decreeing future measures against BSE. But an agriculture ministry official, Gerald Thalheim, insisted the discovery of 29 Mad Cow cases in Germany since November warranted exceptional action.

Agriculture Minister Renate Künast visited an organic food fair in Nuremberg on Thursday to show support for a niche industry that is benefitting from the BSE scare. In a speech there, she said she would propose measures to improve the marketing of organic food.

Scientists have linked BSE to a similar brain-wasting, fatal ailment in humans, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. More than 80 people had died of the disease, most of them in Britain where the disease originated in the 1980s


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Lessons from Phillips must be learnt by EU



Which- Monday 19 February 2001


Lessons from Phillips must be learnt by EU says Consumers' Association

On the day that the Government will make its initial response to the BSE Inquiry, Consumers' Association called for many other EU countries to learn the lessons from the Phillips Inquiry into BSE.

The consumer watchdog identified many issues to consider for the future of food policy in the UK, and found potential loopholes in the current EU control measures that needed to be addressed. Areas that the Government needs to address include:

While the Food Standards Agency has made much progress in making advisory committees on food safety more open and transparent, SEAC (Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee), the committee that advises the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department of Health, and the Food Standards Agency on BSE should be more transparent. There should be a greater number of consumer members on advisory committees, particularly at EU level.

The Government is again under pressure form the meat industry to de-regulate. EU proposals for food hygiene legislation will give greater responsibility to producers across the food chain, including slaughterhouses. A deregulated or self-regulated industry will not improve actual or perceived food safety in the UK. While producers need to have responsibility for safety, this must always be backed up by rigorous, independent enforcement.

The rest of Europe must learn from mistakes made in the UK. Although efforts have been made to reform the way that food issues are handled, the European Food Authority (EFA) as currently proposed will not have sufficient powers. Rather than merely dealing with scientific and technical advice, it must be able to advise the Commission on how to manage risks. It also remains unclear how transparent the authority will be and how it will involve consumers in its work.

The EU controls brought in on 1 Jan 2001 are also a cause for concern in a number of areas.

EU member states' 'national authorities' are responsible for recalling animal feed - but it is unclear how effectively the recent ban on meat and bone meal (MBM) is being enforced. Many states have been poor enforcers of this recall in previous years.

MBM in cattle feed has been banned since 1994, but the MBM industry continues production - it's fed to zoo animals, circus animals, and for rearing maggots. The regulation of MBM is therefore still difficult. With recent discoveries of spinal cord in imported beef products, it's clear that the new measures on specified risk materials (SRM), such as brain, spinal cord and tonsils must be effectively enforced. The diagnostic tests currently available (which are used to determine whether cattle over thirty months old are BSE free or not) are not proven to identify all infected animals, only those in a relatively late stage of the disease - so tests aren't 'fail-safe'. The EU's scientific committee even advised against their current use. The FSA must rigorously enforce the UK ban on all over thirty month cattle regardless of testing.

No special procedures have been introduced to stop potential cross-contamination if a carcass is shown by these tests to be from a BSE infected animal. There is no requirement that other carcasses in the same batch as one found to be contaminated would have to be removed from the food chain, assuming they can be traced, for instance.

Products already on the market before January 2001 may be made from animals over thirty months old or from specified offal. Without clear country of origin labelling, it is difficult for consumers to avoid potentially affected products. Unfortunately, there have been delays in introducing mandatory country of origin labelling.

Mona Patel, Senior Public Affairs Officer at Consumers' Association, said

"The Phillips report concentrated on what went wrong and why. It is crucial that the same mistakes are not now repeated across Europe. Loopholes in current controls need to be closed, and measures must be effectively enforced by member states and the Commission."

"As a survey from the Food Standards Agency showed this week, we are a long way from having full public confidence in food safety. Public health must now be the priority of the UK Government and the EU; they must work effectively across departments to continue to improve the way food controls are developed in the UK and the EU."


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Debate starts on Mad Cow disease

Staff Reporter

ITN- Monday 19 February 2001


There is still no scientific consensus on how many more people may fall victim to vCJD in years to come but the compensation scheme is bound to run into millions of pounds even based on current figures

The debate comes a day after families of the victims of the human form of Mad Cow disease were granted interim compensation payouts of £25,000.

Many of the families affected by the disease are expected to attend the Commons debate.

The Phillips report criticised ministers and civil servants for failing to respond quickly enough to warnings that BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) in cattle could enter the food chain and infect humans.

Families have long campaigned for compensation after watching their loved ones die from the neurological disease.

Many have been forced to give up jobs and care for relatives full time, sometimes for years, as they are slowly paralysed and brain damaged by vCJD.

Successive Governments have spent £4 billion compensating farmers for culled cattle as a result of the BSE crisis.

But ministers only announced the compensation and care package for human victims when Lord Phillips' report was published last October.

A new care package to ensure sufferers get early diagnosis, treatment and support has also been put in place.

The families had welcomed the news that they were to receive the compensation payments.

It is believed that some relatives may eventually win hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation for the deaths of loved ones from variant Creuztfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

The compensation announcement by Health Secretary Alan Milburn marks the start of the Government's no-fault compensation scheme, launched last October in the wake of the Phillips report into the BSE scandal.

The interim payments will go to families of people who have died and those caring for a relative still alive and suffering from the degenerative and incurable disease.

Lawyers for the families are now negotiating with the Government over the full compensation payments, which will vary depending on individual circumstances.

But in some cases where relatives have lost their main breadwinner to the disease, pay-outs could reach £250,000.

According to latest figures, 86 people have died from definite or probable vCJD and another eight suspected sufferers are still alive.

There is still no scientific consensus on how many more people may fall victim to vCJD in years to come but the compensation scheme is bound to run into millions of pounds even based on current figures.

Mr Milburn said: "Nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one through this terrible condition but I hope these initial payments to the families of vCJD victims will reduce the financial hardship they may face.

"These payments represent the first instalment of a wider compensation package for those affected."

The Government is also introducing new legislation to ensure that the compensation payments do not result in families being stripped of income-related social security benefits they are already receiving.

Under present law, compensation payment affects some benefits but ministers said they wanted to ensure this did not happen to vCJD victims and their families.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - Scientific Risk assessment if BSE were to be found in Sheep

EU

European Commission- Monday 19 February 2001


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

Scientific Steering Committee publishes risk assessment if BSE were to be found in sheep

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DN: IP/01/208 Date: 2001-02-14

TXT: FR EN DE ES IT PDF: FR EN DE ES IT Word Processed: FR EN DE ES IT

IP/01/208

Brussels, 14 February 2001

Scientific Steering Committee publishes risk assessment if BSE were to be found in sheep

The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) advising the European Commission inter alia on BSE related issues has today published a pre-emptive assessment of the risk to human health in case the presence of BSE were to be found in sheep under domestic conditions. The scientists consider that at the current stage there is insufficient information to draw definite conclusions on the potential risk to the human population. They therefore develop three scenario's about the potential risk and how to deal with it. The scientists state there currently is no evidence to confirm that BSE is present in sheep and goats, but add that the knowledge in this area is very limited and that the adequate testing methods and monitoring to confirm a diagnosis are not available. It is therefore necessary to start collecting the information required for assessing the likely prevalence of TSE in sheep.

BSE has up to date not been found in sheep under field conditions. Laboratory experiments have however demonstrated that BSE can be transmitted to certain genotypes of sheep and goats. In addition, it is likely that some specific groups of sheep and goats may have been fed meat-and-bone meal that was possibly BSE-contaminated, in particular before the EU-wide ruminant MBM feed ban of 1994 was effectively implemented by national authorities. Therefore the SSC reiterates its 1998 opinion that under the current situation it has to be assumed that BSE could have been introduced into parts of the EU sheep and goat population. The SSC underlines that there is a need to start collecting the information that is required to properly assess the possible prevalence of BSE in sheep in a country or region. The scientists notably point to the need for better and more intensive surveillance of sheep flocks, for developing rapid tests which can distinguish BSE in sheep from scrapie, for introducing a system of individual identification of sheep and for certifying the TSE-status of small ruminant flocks.

Feeding practices of sheep vary considerably by flock, country or region, farming system (intensive or extensive) and farming purpose (meat, milk, wool). The only testing method currently available to confirm the presence of BSE in sheep, using bio-assays in mice, takes up to two years before results are obtained. Very few of such tests undertaken have been completed to date. Clinical signs of BSE might be difficult to distinguish from scrapie, a disease posing no threat to humans. Scrapie is endemic in the sheep population of most EU countries. Research to develop better testing methods is ongoing.

The SSC also examined the latest evidence on the distribution of (experimentally introduced) BSE infectivity in the body of sheep and goat. As opposed to cattle, where the infectivity remains mainly concentrated in specific body tissues such as the brain and the spinal cord, the evidence points to a more general distribution of BSE infectivity in sheep tissues, possibly similar to the distribution pattern of scrapie. This would imply that a more comprehensive list of tissues would have to be eliminated from the food chain in sheep than in cattle, should it be concluded that BSE in sheep is likely.

As a precautionary measure, Community legislation already imposes the removal of specific risk materials(1) of sheep and goat from the food and feed chain in the whole of the EU since October 2000. In case BSE would be confirmed in sheep or goats, strict eradication measures would have to be applied with the entry into force of the new EP and Council Regulation on the eradication, prevention and control of Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathies expected to come into effect on July 1, 2001.

(1) the skull including brains and eyes, the tonsils and the spinal cord of sheep and goat over 12 months, the spleen of sheep and goats of all ages.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - 25,000 interim payout for vCJD families

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


Families of victims of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) are each to receive an interim compensation payment of 25,000.

The money will be paid to families immediately while full compensation settlements for each person are decided, the Government has announced.

Latest figures show that 86 people have died from definite or probable vCJD and another eight suspected sufferers are still alive.

The money will go to families of people who have died and those caring for a relative still alive and suffering from the degenerative and incurable disease, which is the human form of Mad Cow disease.

Solicitor David Body of Irwin Mitchell, the law firm representing families of vCJD victims, has welcomed the announcement.

He says: "This interim payment will be made as soon as possible and will begin a round of negotiations between the Government's lawyers and lawyers of the families to put in place a no-fault scheme of compensation for the families, designed to compensate losses and to meet needs.

"An interim payment of 25,000 is obviously the right step for the Government to take at this time."

Some relatives may eventually receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation.

Families where the victim was the main breadwinner are likely to receive more than others.

A new care package to ensure sufferers get early diagnosis, treatment and support has also been put in place.


19 Feb 01 - CJD - CJD families welcome compensation payment

Ananova

PA News- Monday 19 February 2001


Families of victims of the human form of Mad Cow disease have welcomed news that they are each to receive interim compensation payments of 25,000.

Some relatives may eventually win hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation for the deaths of loved ones from variant Creuztfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).

Health Secretary Alan Milburn's announcement is the start of the Government's no-fault compensation scheme, launched last October in the wake of the Phillips report into the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) scandal.

Malcolm Tibbert, whose wife Margaret died from vCJD in 1996, said: "For the majority of families, this is going to be welcome news but it is still disappointing that no one has been held accountable for what happened.

"At least this money can go some way to helping families. In some cases, the person who died was the main breadwinner and so as well as losing a loved one the relatives lost their main source of income.

"Other people are still having to cope with the cost of caring for someone with vCJD and this money will of course help them too."

The interim payments will go to families of people who have died and those caring for a relative still alive and suffering from the degenerative and incurable disease.

Lawyers for the families are now negotiating with the Government over the full compensation payments, which will vary depending on individual circumstances.

In some cases, where relatives have lost their main breadwinner to the disease, pay-outs could reach 250,000. According to latest figures, 86 people have died from definite or probable vCJD and another eight suspected sufferers are still alive.

Mr Milburn said: "Nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one through this terrible condition but I hope these initial payments to the families of vCJD victims will reduce the financial hardship they may face. These payments represent the first instalment of a wider compensation package for those affected."