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European Decision To Drive Cost Out Of Beef Chain

18 February 2011

EU - At the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) in Brussels this week, Member States experts agreed to raise the testing age for BSE of cattle from 48 months to 72 months for the vast majority of Member States. This decision was based on food safety evidence provided by the European Food Standards Agency in December 2010.

It was agreed at SCoFCAH that the new testing regime should start from 1 July 2011, although the decision will require to be ratified by the European Parliament before it can be introduced.

For all member states except for the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, the testing age for healthy slaughtered bovine animals will be raised to 72 months from July of this year. Having made progress on its TSE Roadmap with regards to cattle, the Union will continue to press the European Commission to make similar evidence-based changes to the rules that affect sheep entering the food chain.

NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said: “This decision, based on the improving disease picture across Europe, is a welcome step along the way to finally removing the shadow that BSE has cast over the beef sector in the UK and Europe for more than 20 years.

“Moving the current BSE testing requirements from 48 months to cattle aged 72 months has the potential to strip out costs currently associated with BSE testing cattle in abattoirs before the beef is allowed into the food chain. That must be good news for producers and processors.

Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) Project Team Chairman said that the change represents an annual saving of over €1.7m for Irish farmers.

Mr Waters said the extension of the testing age to 72 months removes in excess of 85,000 animals from the BSE test requirement, and coupled with the extension from 30 months, represents total savings of over €11.7m for farmers in reduced BSE testing over the last two years.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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