February 2, 2007


Germany accepts standard EU testing regime for BSE


In 2006, 16 cases of BSE were confirmed in Germany, compared to 32 in 2005. 


This brings the total number of BSE cases to 405, since it was first detected in Germany in November 2000, says a US Department of Agriculture report. 


The German Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food, and Agriculture (BMELV) views this as a clear sign that the measures taken to combat BSE are effective. 


In Jun 2006, Germany abolished its stricter BSE testing requirements and replaced it with the standard EU testing regime, reports the USDA. 


The measure was taken as a result of repeated urges by the German slaughter houses as additional testing requirements impacted the competitiveness of the German meat industry vis-a-vis its European competitors.


According to BMELV estimates, the additional costs for BSE testing of animals between 24 and 30 months had amounted to between US$5-6 million in 2004-05.  This put the German meat industry at a disadvantage compared to their EU competitors, whose mandatory testing age started at 30 months, according to the agency report. 


However, only the reducing BSE incidents, as well as the increasing time that elapsed since the ban on

meat and bone meal in animal feed went into effect in Dec 2000 made the GOG feel comfortable enough to revoke the stricter testing mandate.


In CY 2005, Germany produced 1.167 million tonnes of beef.  Imports amounted to 310,000 tonnes of which 89,200 tonnes was imported from outside the EU-25.


Exports amounted to 519,500 tonnes, of which 52,400 tonnes were sent outside the EU-25.


Due to concerns about BSE, per capita consumption of beef dropped from 10.4 kg in 1999 to 6.8 kg in 2001 .  In 2005, per capita consumption amounted to 8.4 kg.  Meat consumption is expected to have remained stable in 2006 and may not be able to reach pre-BSE levels again, the report says.


However, this is primarily because of  healthier consumer eating habits rather than the BSE scare.


For the full USDA report, please click here

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