The discovery of a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Scotland does not impact Northern Ireland’s negligible risk status, Northern Ireland Chief Veterinary Officer said today.
Dr Robert Huey was speaking after the Scottish Government has confirmed a case of BSE on a farm in Aberdeenshire.
Precautionary movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm, while further investigations to identify the origin of the disease occur. This is standard procedure for a confirmed case of classical BSE, which does not represent a threat to human health.
Dr Robert Huey said: “While this finding is disappointing, it shows that the robust and rigorous controls on BSE surveillance are effective in identifying issues as early as possible.
“The finding in Scotland does not impact on Northern Ireland’s negligible risk status. We have robust control and surveillance measures in place. We have stringent controls in meat plants and meal companies to ensure meat and bone meal cannot get into feed. These measures ensure that beef from Northern Ireland is a quality product and safe to eat.”
Dr Huey added: “Contaminated feed is a known cause of BSE. Farmers should ensure they comply with TSE legislation and source feed responsibly. They should also maintain good records of feed supplies.
“I am in regular contact with my counterpart in Scotland and will continue to monitor the situation as the ongoing investigation into the cause of this case continues.”
Notes to editors:
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is one of a group of diseases of the brain which can be fatal to cattle.
- The UK Government has had in place a range of livestock, food and feed controls since the late 1980s which have been very effective in controlling BSE.
- There are strict rules laid down for the prevention, control and eradication of such disease.
- The UK Government made BSE a notifiable disease in 1988.
- Negligible Risk status is awarded to those countries or regions which satisfy the World Organisation for Animal Health requirements in relation to BSE controls which include the necessary date of birth of the last classical BSE case and feed and risk material controls.
- Northern Ireland, like Scotland, attained Negligible Risk status in 2017.
- Due to the reduced risk, NR status allows the utilisation of more material from cattle which are NR status, which reduces the material that must be disposed of after slaughter.
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