- BERLIN (AFP) - German
said Wednesday that beef sales have plummeted by nearly 80 percent in some
regions due to concerns over mad cow disease, as reports of falsely labeled
sausage led to new calls for stricter food safety measures.
- "The beef market has almost completely
said the managing director of the Association of Butchers in the eastern
state of Saxony, Gottfried Wagner, adding that Germans were now turning
to pork, poultry, game and even ostrich.
- Industry groups in the states of Brandenburg and Hesse
and the city-state of Berlin reported a decline in sales of up to 80
with butchers throughout the country citing heavy losses.
- The news came as authorities in three German states
that random testing of sausage had revealed the presence of beef in
- The health ministry in the southern state of Bavaria
said that test samples from supermarkets in three towns showed that in
four out of five cases, beef was included in sausage products marked free
of the meat.
- Health authorities in the city-state of Berlin said that
a suspect sausage had also been identified in the eastern district of
Further testing in the city showed a package of "beef in its own
to include horse meat.
- And in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, one in five
tests found unreported beef in sausage, the state's agricultural ministry
- It was not immediately clear whether sausage
or retailers were to blame for the false labeling and whether it had been
mistaken or intentional.
- The tests prompted Bavarian health minister Barbara Stamm
to call for the products to be pulled from the shelves and for stricter
controls in the food industry.
- Meanwhile Wednesday, German Agriculture Minister
Funke said the country should introduce mass testing for bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in sheep.
- Following the comments, spokespeople from health and
agricultural ministries, which have jointly managed the mad cow crisis,
said officials would wait for a report expected by BSE experts in
to decide whether to officially call for widespread testing of
- The report will address whether the illness scrapie can
mask the presence of mad cow disease in sheep and the potential
of current BSE-testing methods when used on sheep.
- Funke's comments came as Reinhard Kurth, director of
Berlin's prestigious Robert Koch institute for infectious diseases called
for testing of all slaughtered sheep.
- Kurth said that because fields where sheep graze can
also be contaminated with BSE, it cannot be assumed that sheep are free
of the disease.
- Five cases of the brain-wasting illness have been
in German-born cattle since the first was confirmed on November 24.
- Experts say that eating meat from cattle infected with
mad cow disease can lead to a fatal human form of the brain-wasting
variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).
- No case of vCJD has yet been reported in Germany.
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