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Loopholes undermine BSE measures

Loopholes undermine BSE measures

PRESS RELEASE - Brussels, February 1, 2000

BSE debate in the European Parliament

The Greens/EFA Group, during a debate in the plenary of the European parliament today, criticised the visible loopholes in the new measures to combat the BSE crisis. Speaking on behalf of the group, the Chair of parliament's Agricultural Committee, Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf MEP (Greens/Germany), said:

"Crisis management on its own is not enough to deal with the BSE affair. We are calling on the Commission and the agricultural ministers of the EU to start thinking strategically. In the long term it's high time that they launch the reforms critically needed to the Common Agricultural Policy. In the short term any loopholes that prevent BSE from being controlled must be sealed immediately.

"The most dangerous loophole in that the Commission's new measures is that it does not address the continued problem of using dubious milk fat substitutes. The problem arises when the natural fat is extracted from the milk in order to produce butter, and is substituted by fats from other animals that may have been contaminated. A total interdiction of these fats is the only way that will guarantee that contaminated foodstuff do not enter the food chain."

Carlos Bautista MEP ( EFA/ Andalucia), member of the Agriculture Committee added:

"The current BSE crisis spreading throughout the continent serves to show the public the disastrous way that the crisis has been handled by member states in an individualistic way. There is an urgency to decide who takes what responsibility between the Member States, the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament.

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"We call for more investigation into understanding the nature and the means of transmitting the disease in all its forms. Stricter controls must be put in place for every phase of food production, such as for animal feed-stuff production and slaughterhouses.

"We demand that the way that decisions on agriculture are taken in the EU be reviewed. If the European Parliament had been truly involved in the co-decision procedure, this crisis could have been limited."

For more information: Press Office of the Green/EFA Group

Helmut Weixler: mobile phone: +32-475-67 13 40, phone: +32-2-284 46 83 (Bxl), +33-3-8817 4760 (Stb), e-mail: hweixler@europarl.eu.int


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