Mad Cow: EU Scientists Call For Increased Ban On Cattle Parts
BRUSSELS, Dec 10 (Reuters) - European Union scientists have advised that parts of cattle spine and other animals be removed from the food chain over fears they may transmit mad cow disease, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The scientists examined the safety of vertebral columns following a ruling last week from Britain's Farm Minister Jack Cunningham that bone-in beef be removed from sale in the UK.
The EU's independent, but influential Scientific Steering Committee said the intestines of bovines, sheep and goats of all ages and the lungs, vertebral column and dorsal root ganglia of these animals when more than 12 months old should be added to a list of banned materials.
"The scientists suggested that these materials should be excluded from the food and feed chain if they do not originate in a BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) free country," the Commission said in a statement.
EU officials are still examining the advice, but said it could have implications for the sale of certain beef cuts such as t-bone steak in parts of Europe other than Britain.
Partly as a result of fresh scientific evidence, the European Commission has proposed a three-month postponement of a ban on so-called Specified Risk Material (SRMs), which was due to come into force on January 1.
The SRM ban covered the brain, spinal cord and eyes from cattle, sheep and goats over one year old. It is now possible the list will be extended in a new proposal to take effect on April 1, 1998 which could include cattle's vertebral columns.
EU scientists are still examining the safety of bone marrow -- the other subject of the British scientific evidence, which led to the ban on sales of all beef on the bone in the UK.
09:30 12-10-97

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