Tests Show Mad Cow Disease
Has Now Spread To Poland


WARSAW, Poland - Tests have confirmed the first case of mad cow disease in Poland, the country's chief veterinarian said Saturday.

Piotr Kolodziej said meat from the nine-year-old cow was barred from the market after tests by veterinarians in Krakow and Pulawy confirmed bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

"Consumers are safe," Kolodziej told Private Radio Zet. " We test all animals over 30 months of age."

Veterinary services across the country have been put on alert, the Agriculture Ministry said.

The affected cow came from a private farm in Ciezkowice county, near Tarnow, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Warsaw, and officials are investigating its origins, said Marek Jakubiak, the veterinarian who took the meat samples sent for testing.

The animal was slaughtered May 1. The slaughterhouse has been disinfected and was to resume work later Saturday, said Krzysztof Ankiewicz, the chief veterinarian for the southern Krakow region.

The news is a blow to efforts by officials to stop the disease reaching Poland. Authorities here have banned beef and related products from other countries where the disease has been discovered.

The European Commission is not planning a ban on Polish beef imports as long as Poland follows European Union rules for preventing mad cow disease, said Beate Gminder, a spokeswoman for EU Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne in Brussels.

Mad cow disease was first diagnosed in Britain in the 1980s. It is believed to lead to the fatal human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which has killed more than 100 people in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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