June 23, 2015


Ireland's meat trade encouraged despite suspected BSE case



Ireland's risk categorisation for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in beef products could be upgraded if a suspected BSE case with an 11-year-old farm animal in County Louth proves positive, said Dr Brian Evans, the deputy director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).


However, the move should not be a warranty for international restrictions on the trade and consumption of Irish meat as proper measures are in place to protect animal and human health, Dr Evans added. Nevertheless, he acknowledged concerns expressed over the current categorising regime, with calls for "negligible" risk categories in certain countries to remain unchanged if the occurrences of BSE cases there are extremely limited.


The OIE's risk categorisation abides by three statuses, namely, "undetermined", "controlled" and "negligible" risk. Statuses ae given based on surveillance, quality control for cattle feed and the frequency of BSE infections in older animals.


Test results for the recent BSE case will be released this week, Ireland's Department of Agriculture announced.


Meanwhile, Simon Coveney, the Irish minister for agriculture, assured that human health is not under threat as a result of the latest case. According to Coveney, trade will not be affected since the country was allowed to export beef to the US, China and Japan despite previously having a "controlled risk" status.

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