- A national programme of BSE tests on French cattle has
revealed mad cow disease is up to four times more prevalent than had been
- However, a French agriculture ministry spokesman said:
"Just because we have BSE in France, it does not make British meat
- "We will comment when the entire programme is completed.
Whatever the results, it does not mean we will be lifting our import embargo
on British beef."
- Early findings of France's nationwide survey have found
between 1.5 and two cows per 1,000 are infected. It could mean more than
1,000 of the three million cows eaten in France every year are contaminated.
- The programme, which began in June, will see 48,000 cattle
tested by December. The preliminary findings were leaked to a French newspaper
by vets connected with the project. A source revealed: "The early
results basically suggest beef is not as safe to eat in France as we lead
ourselves to believe."
- France banned nerve tissue, ground bone and other organs
from being used in French cattle feed in 1990, hoping a diet of uncontaminated
meal would eventually eradicate the disease.
- They also introduced tough culling measures in 1996,
killing the whole herd if a single cow caught BSE.
- France is facing prosecution in the European court after
refusing to obey a Brussels ruling to lift its embargo on British beef
a year ago.
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