BSE case confirmed at Scottish farm

BSE case confirmed at Scottish farm

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A case of BSE has been identified on a farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, officials have said.

Restrictions have been put in place at the unnamed farm as an investigation is carried out into the source of the animal disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease.

The case was identified as part of routine testing and did not enter the human food chain, according to the Scottish Government.

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “While it is too early to tell where the disease came from in this case, its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job.

“We are working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to answer this question, and in the meantime, I would urge any farmer who has concerns to immediately seek veterinary advice.”

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, added: “Following confirmation of a case of classical BSE in Aberdeenshire, I have activated the Scottish Government’s response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm.

“While it is important to stress that this is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the disease’s origin, this is further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working.”

Millions of cattle were culled in the UK in the 1990s due to BSE. It can be passed on to humans in the food chain, causing a fatal condition called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Strict controls were introduced to protect consumers after the link was established in 1996.
The disease has been reduced to a handful of cases each year in the UK, with the last recorded case in Wales in 2015.

Scotland has been BSE free since 2009.

Ian McWatt, director of operations at Food Standards Scotland, said:

“There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity.

“Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place and that Food Standards Scotland official veterinarians and meat hygiene inspectors working in all abattoirs in Scotland will continue to ensure that in respect of BSE controls, the safety of consumers remains a priority.

“We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government, other agencies and industry at this time.”

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