EU confirms BSE in goat

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 7, 2005
by WLJ
A panel of European Union scientists Jan. 28 confirmed that a goat slaughtered in France in 2002 was infected with a form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
This is the first time that BSE has been found in a goat.The animal and its entire herd were destroyed before entering the foodchain, according to a statement by the EU Commission.
"I am proposing to extend testing further to determine whether this is an isolated incident," said EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou.
The EU Commission wants to test 200,000 goats in the region’s 25 member states over the next six months. The testing program would concentrate on countries where cases of BSE have been reported in cattle in the past, including the United Kingdon (UK). The human equivalent of BSE, variant Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, has claimed 148 lives in the UK so far.
The EU’s head office sought to downplay the potential threat to consumer health, saying precautionary measures have been in place for several years and that the rate of incidences are very low.
"I want to reassure consumers that existing safety measures in the EU offer a very high level of protection," Kyprianou said. "This case was discovered thanks to the EU testing system in place in France.”
Over 140,000 goats have been tested since April 2002, including random testing of healthy animals, sick animals and those that die on the farm, according to the EU Commission.
Other safety measures include a ban on feeding goats bone-meal, the removal of brain, spinal cords—generally considered the main transmission routes—and the slaughter of goats infected with scrapie, a similar disease to BSE but one that doesn't pose the same risk as it can't be transmitted to humans.
The European Food Safety Agency is due to publish a risk assessment for goat meat and related products such as milk and cheese, by July 2005. — WLJ