Single case of atypical BSE confirmed on a farm in Cornwall

Single case of atypical BSE confirmed on a farm in Cornwall

A single case of atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has been confirmed on a farm in Cornwall.

Atypical BSE is not contagious and the Government has said there is no risk to food safety or human health as a result of this isolated case.

Atypical BSE is a naturally and sporadically occurring non-contagious disease, which is believed to occur in all cattle populations at a very low rate.  Atypical BSE is distinct from classical BSE which is linked to infectious feed.

The animal was routinely tested under the BSE fallen stock survey and was removed from the farm for disposal. This animal, as fallen stock, was not destined for the human food chain and posed no risk to the general public.

Christine Middlemass, chief veterinary officer says this isolated case is proof that the surveillance system is working.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:“A single case of atypical BSE on a farm in Cornwall has been confirmed. The animal, which was not intended for the human food chain, died on the farm and was tested as part of the strict routine control and surveillance regime.

“Atypical BSE is distinct from classical BSE and is a spontaneously occurring, non-contagious disease which occurs at a very low level in all cattle populations. This is proof that our surveillance system for detecting and containing this type of disease is working.”

Dr Darren A Cutts, head of Meat Hygiene Policy at the Food Standards Agency said: “There is no food safety risk.  There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity.

“Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place and that Food Standards Agency Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors working in all abattoirs in England will continue to ensure that in respect of BSE controls, the safety of consumers remains the top priority.”

Great Britain’s overall risk status for BSE remains at ‘controlled’ and there is no risk to food safety or public health.

In line with international commitments, the World Organisation for Animal Health and trading partners have been informed of the case. This does not affect the UK’s ability to export beef to other countries.

BSE is a notifiable animal disease. If suspected it must be reported immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact the local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence. This applies to pet and small holder animals as well as commercial cattle.

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