French Cows Still Eat
Meat-Dosed Feed Linked
To Mad Cow Disease
PARIS (AFP) - French cows are still eating feed with low levels of meat in them, despite a ban imposed in 1990 because of the risk of transmitting BSE, or mad cow disease, a French daily reported Friday.
The DGCCRF, the French body monitoring competition, consumer affairs and fraud, acknowledged that it tolerated levels of up to 0.3 percent meat in cattle feed, Liberation reported.
It cited a 1998 ruling from the European scientific committee based in Brussels, which allowed levels of up to 0.5 percent of contamination in vegetable feeds to justify its position.
Jacques Michard, deputy director of the DGCCRF's laboratory, which analyses cattle feed, confirmed its position to AFP.
"The European scientific committee allows up to 0.5 percent, but we are below that, since our quantitative limit is 0.3 percent," he said.
The agriculture ministry refused to comment Friday, except to repeat that the ban on feed containing meat was total so far as cattle was concerned.
Professor Jeanne Brugere-Picoux, a specialist in infectious diseases, said the continuing presence of meat traces in cattle feed could be explained by the delivery process.
The contamination could take place when the feed was being transported in lorries, where the transport had not been properly cleaned, she suggested.
"Theoretically, the flour used in France must be prepared according to French regulations," she said.
A spokesman for the SNIA, the national union representing half of France's animal feed industry, stressed that the traces detected came from meat that had been produced for human consumption.
Consumer groups however called for the existing ban on meat in animal feed to be extended from cattle feed to food for pigs, poultry, trout and salmon.
"We have always said that as long as animal feed wasn't 100 percent safe, you had to eliminate it," said Vincent Perrot of the CLCV consumer group.
"We can't go on like this. Today, people are dying, so let's stop playing with people's health," he added.
Christian Huard, a spokesman for an alliance of seven organisations grouped as Conso-France, asked: "In a farm that raises cattle, pigs and chicken, how can you know if the famer is not giving the same feed to them all?"
He described the 0.3 percent tolerance level as a scandal.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, can cause a form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative brain illness, in humans.
This Site Served by TheHostPros