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New Zealand BSE Free

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE NEW ZEALAND FOOD SAFETY AUTHORITY AND MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY

15 August 2003

New Zealand BSE free

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture of Forestry today extended its sympathy to the family of the Waikato man who is still sick in hospital.

It was announced today by health officials that test results have confirmed the man does not have vCJD, which was one of the diagnoses being considered.

"This is an extremely difficult time for the family," Dr Derek Belton, Director Animal Biosecurity, MAF, said.

"However the exposure in this case has highlighted the enormous volume of evidence that New Zealand is BSE free, and the importance of the measures we have in place to maintain BSE freedom," Dr Belton said.

NZFSA's Principal Adviser, Zoonoses and Animal Health, Dr Stuart MacDiarmid said: "We have to remind New Zealanders that although vCJD has been ruled out in this case, we believe that cases could well be seen in future."

"For several years we have recognised the risk of cases of vCJD in New Zealand because of exposure to risk material in foods imported prior to 1996 and because of the amount of overseas travel New Zealanders do. This case was a timely reminder to us all that it could happen here," Dr MacDiarmid.

In the meantime we wish to reiterate that New Zealand is BSE free and that we have extensive measures in place to protect New Zealanders and our food supply from BSE.

Ends

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