Published Date: 2003-04-26 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> BSE update 2003 (04)
Archive Number: 20030426.1019
BSE UPDATE 2003 (04)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
In these updates:
 International BSE cases update, 24 Apr 2003
 BSE control upon imports to the UK
 BSE testing in Japan
 Final meeting of EU SSC
 BSE-related opinions, SSC
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003
Source: Het Net website / BSE in Europe [edited]
BSE cases update, 24 Apr 2003
Country / 2001 / 2002 / 2003 to date / total since 1987 / change(*)
UK / 1174 / 1142 / 148 / 183 307 / 68
Austria / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0
Belgium / 46 / 38 / 8 / 111 / 4
Czech Republic / 2 / 2 / 0 / 4 /o
Denmark / 6 / 3 / 1 / 12 / 0
Finland / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0
France / 274 / 239 / 49 / 807 / 6
Germany / 125 / 106 / 7 / 250 / 2
Greece / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0
Ireland / 246 / 333 / 77 / 1252 / 13
Israel / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1 / 0
Italy / 50 / 36 / 7 / 92 / 3
Japan / 3 / 2 / 2 / 7 / 0
Liechtenstein / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0
Luxembourg / 0 / 1 / 0 / 2 / 0
Netherlands / 20 / 24 / 6 / 58 / 1
Portugal / 110 / 86 / 17 / 742 / 17
Poland / 0 / 4 / 1 / 5 / 0
Slovakia / 5 / 6 / 1 / 12 / 1
Slovenia / 1 / 1 / 1 / 3 / 0
Spain / 82 / 127 / 51 / 262 / 12
Switzerland / 42 / 24 / 5 / 436 / 3
(*) Cases added since previous BSE update.
[Generally, there is a continued decline in the number of reported BSE
cases worldwide, with the exception of Spain. These are not official data.
They are derived from the above-mentioned source, which seems to be updated
meticulously. The data from some countries may include exceptional imported
cases or exclude exported cases found positive in the countries of
destination. For these details and for additional updated information, see
the source. - Mod.AS]
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: MeatNews.COM, 15 Apr 2003 [edited]
BSE: UK controls breached
The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) has found more specified risk
Material (SRM) in beef imported out of intervention. Spinal cord was found
in 11 consignments of intervention beef from Spain and 3 from Germany
between late January and mid-March 2003. The agency said that, with the
exception of Spain, the trend in SRM breaches is now falling. In these 14
cases, the animals were slaughtered in early 2001 and held in intervention
cold stores, before being sent to the UK.
"Intervention" is a European Commission (EC) market support measure under
which the EC buys, in this case, beef, when market prices fall below a
certain level. When market prices recover, the EC releases the beef back
onto the market. SRM is that part of the animal most likely to contain BSE
infectivity. Under European Union (EU) law, SRM must be removed immediately
after slaughter, stained, and disposed of safely. In addition, only cattle
under 30 months in the UK are permitted to enter the food chain. Other EU
states allow cattle over 30 months to enter the food supply, but only after
being tested for BSE.
The agency has raised the issue of SRM in intervention beef at senior level
within the EC and also hosted a delegation from Germany in December 2002.
Changes to procedures in German plants have since resulted in a reduction
in German SRM import breaches.
Urgent discussions are now underway with Spanish officials and a delegation
from Spain is due to visit the UK shortly. The matter will again be raised
with the European Commission in Brussels.
On FSA instructions, the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) checks every notified
consignment of imported (non-UK) carcass beef when it arrives at the
cutting plant for the presence of SRM.
A further SRM breach has been identified relating to a finding of spleen,
which is also classified as SRM, in a sheep carcass imported from the
Republic of Ireland. The MHS discovered the breach on 24 Mar 2003 at
Smithfield Market in London. All the meat involved in these cases has been
detained under the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export)
Regulations for disposal under the supervision of the MHS.
The chief veterinary officers in Spain, Germany and Ireland, and the EC
have been notified of these latest breaches. In all 15 cases the receiving
company in the UK was not responsible for the problem, said the FSA.
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003
From: Jun-ichi Ohnishi <email@example.com>
Summary of recent news reports in Japan on BSE testing
Japan will test half of the dead-on-farm cattle (over 2 years) during the
current fiscal year. According to Japanese newspapers on 31 Mar 2003,
although a new Japanese law effective 1 Apr 2003 states that all the cattle
over 24 months found dead on farms should be checked for BSE, the Ministry
of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry (MAFF) said that they cannot check all
the dead animals in 17 prefectures, and that total test numbers will be
about half of the expected 80 000. The facilities are not ready, especially
in the major production areas of Hokkaido and Kagoshima, etc. 4700
dead-on-farm animals have been checked by MAFF since October 2001.
MAFF has not renewed [yet?] the publication of its statistics of test
results. The statistics of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
(MHLW) on BSE tests in bovines from slaughterhouses are available in table
form on the website <http://www.mhlw.go.jp/houdou/0110/h1018-6.html>.
[According to the 19 Apr 2003 update of the said table (in Japanese), the
total number of BSE tests carried out in Japan's slaughterhouses since 13
Oct 2001 are as follows:
Suspected / over 30 months / others (younger) / total
5076 / 761 120 / 1 078 970 / 1 845 270
The weekly testing figures, during the first 3 weeks of April 2003, were 18
188, 24 019 and 24 897, respectively. The enhanced testing of "risk
animals" (dead-on-farm and emergency-slaughtered animals), planned by MAFF
-- even if covering only half of this group -- will be a significant
improvement. The chance of detecting BSE cases among such animals is
regarded (at least) 30-fold higher than among routinely-slaughtered
("healthy") cattle. For positive BSE cases in Japan, please refer to the
updated worldwide table presented in  above. - Mod. AS]
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003
Source: EU Press release IP/03/551, 16/04/2003 [extracted, edited]
Final meeting of the Scientific Steering Committee
The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) held its final meeting on 10 and 11
Apr 2003, 6 years after its creation. At that meeting, the SSC finalised
opinions on 19 pending BSE-related issues and on the harmonisation of risk
assessment approaches. From now on, the European Food Safety Authority
(EFSA) will provide the scientific advice that the Commission relies on to
manage food safety issues at the EU level.
In the field of BSE, the SSC adopted during its last plenary session the
opinion on the BSE cases in the UK born after the reinforced feedban of 1
Aug 1996 (the BARBs case), saying that there is no reason to consider that
these cases pose an increased risk for the consumer.
Further opinions were adopted on 7 alternative methods for the treatment of
animal byproducts, on the safety of tallow derivatives, and on the link
between organophosphates and BSE. On bovine tallow derivatives, the SSC
significantly revised a previous opinion, considering for example that in
GBR II countries it is not necessary to remove the specified risk materials
from cattle fit for human consumption. Opinions were also adopted on the
geographical BSE risk of 11 countries (Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil,
Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Estonia, Lithuania,
The SSC also concluded its exercise on harmonising risk assessment methods.
Finally, the SSC adopted 2 overview reports summarising its BSE-related
opinions and explaining the methodological approach it took to assess BSE
risks. The reports will be available on internet at the beginning of May 2003.
The EFSA is in the process of taking over responsibility for the scientific
committees from the European Commission. In future, EFSA will provide the
sound scientific advice that the Commission relies on to manage food safety
issues at the EU level.
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003
Source: SSC opinions, in "Outcome of discussions", EU Food Safety [edited]
The texts of the following opinions of the SSC, adopted during its final
meeting, 10 Apr 2003, are available on the said website:
1. Opinion on the safety of tallow derivatives from cattle tallow.
2. Opinion on a treatment of animal waste by means of high temperature (150
degrees C, 3 hours) and high-pressure alkaline hydrolysis.
3. Opinion on setting the scientific frame for the inclusion of new quality
of life concerns in the risk assessment process.
4. Opinion on Organophosphate (OP) poisoning and hypothetical involvement
in the origin of BSE.
5. Opinion on harmonisation of risk assessment procedures (adopted on 10-11
6. Opinion on a framework for the assessment of the risk from different
options for the safe disposal or use of animal by-products which might be
contaminated with microbiological agents, including TSE.
7. Opinion on BSE in United Kingdom's cattle born after 31 Jul 1996 [BARBs]
8. Opinion on 6 alternative methods for safe disposal of animal by-products
9. Opinions on the Geographical risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
(GBR) in Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Estonia,
Lithuania, Macedonia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
[As mentioned in previous BSE updates, one of the subjects pending the
opinion of the SSC was the "quantitative assessment of the risk of tallow,
gelatine and dicalcium phosphate", which is particularly significant in
relation to the much-debated involvement of calf milk substitutes ("milk
replacers") in the epidemiology of BSE. However, as predicted during the
SSC's semi-final meeting, 6 and 7 Mar 2003, the issue remains unresolved
(minutes, article 6.7.d.: "The Secretariat confirmed that no further
progress had been made on this dossier and that it was most unlikely that
this exercise could still be finished before the end of the SSC's
mandate"). As stated in the current opinion on the safety of cattle tallow
derivatives, the SSC has not classified it as "not infectious." It is to be
hoped that EFSA will manage soon to finalize the pending quantitative
assessment of the risk of tallow, gelatine, and dicalcium phosphate. - Mod.AS]