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EU- First case of BSE in a goat, increased testing

First case of BSE in a goat: Member States support Commission proposal for increased testing

The Member States today voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposal to step up testing for BSE in the EU goat population, following the confirmation last week of the first case of BSE found in a goat. The testing scheme was proposed by the Commission to determine if this BSE case represents an isolated incident or if further measures need to be taken. The situation will be closely monitored and reviewed at the latest after six months, based on the results of the increased testing and the outcome of a quantitative risk assessment on the safety of goat meat currently being carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Markos Kyprianou, EU Commissioner responsible for Health and Consumer Protection, said “Our priority is to safeguard the health of Europe’s citizens and I therefore want to act quickly to determine the significance of this case. That is why we are significantly stepping up the level of testing. We will monitor the situation closely and review all the data and scientific advice again in six months.”

The Commission is proposing increased testing in goats for at least 6 months (185 000 tests of healthy goats in the EU and 15 000 goats dead on farm) to determine if this is an isolated incident. The extent of the monitoring programme will be based on the goat population in each Member State and will focus primarily on Member States where BSE is present in the cattle population. All confirmed TSE cases will be subjected to a three-step testing scheme, already in use, which will make it possible to differentiate between scrapie and BSE. The Commission will co-finance this increased testing.

Following the findings by a research group in France of a suspected BSE infection in a goat, the European Commission immediately made the findings public on 28 October 2004 (see IP/04/1324). The case was confirmed on 28 January 2005 (see IP/05/105) and today the Commission presented its proposal for increased testing to the Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH), representing the Member States. This proposal will now formally be adopted by the European Commission in the coming days and will enter into force immediately after publication in the Official Journal.

The Annex gives an indication of the number of tests to be carried out in the Member States. This information is only indicative, based on the number of animals slaughtered in each Member State in 2004, to show the approximate distribution across the Member States: actual numbers will vary.

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