- Farm animals should not be turned into cannibals by being
fed bits of their own species, the Food Standards Agency recommends today
in a significant tightening of the controls designed to stop BSE.
- There should be a complete ban on "intra-species
recycling" in all animals for human consumption, the agency says in
a second draft of a report on the subject.
- It says the use of animal blood, gelatine and tallow
in animal feeds should stop and that the recycling of animal material within
any species used for human, animal or fish food is undesirable.
- Feeding meat and bonemeal to any livestock is already
banned in the UK and the report recommends that all existing controls should
remain in force. "We have not heard any convincing arguments for relaxation
for the foreseeable future on the ban on feeding ruminant protein to ruminants,"
the document says.
- However, it does not mention the feeding of chicken feathers
and manure to poultry - still legal in Britain.
- FSA chairman Sir John Krebs said today: "On the
principle that intra-species recycling could amplify transmissible spongiform
encephalopathy - by feeding infected tissue to more animals - we are recommending
that these corners of what is currently permitted should be stopped. However,
because poultry have never been shown to contract the disease, we need
to discuss further how far we should go."
- The agency rejects requests from the farming industry
to allow pig meat and bonemeal to be fed to poultry, and advises that the
practice of spreading blood from animals for human consumption on to agricultural
land, which is legal, should be reviewed.
- The draft report also urges "as a matter of the
greatest urgency" new research on tests for the rapid screening of
sheep to determine if they are suffering from BSE. Only 200 sheep are being
tested from the British national flock of 40 million.
- "There is a theoretical risk that sheep in the British
flock could have BSE," said Sir John. "We simply do not know
whether there is a real risk. Of the 40 million sheep in Britain, some
4,000 do succumb annually to another disease, scrapie, which appears not
to have any human health risk."
- It is legal in the rest of Europe to feed meat and bonemeal
to pigs and poultry. There should be clear labelling of the country of
origin of meat products, said Sir John.
- The report recommends close examination of sausage skin
manufactured from sheep's intestines to ensure that potentially infected
material is removed, even though there is no evidence of BSE in sheep.
Site Served by TheHostPros