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BSE - The Problem that Won't go Away

Greetings Readers

BSE has been a continuing threat to the consumption of red meat in Europe since the outbreak of human CJD was connected to the consumption of beef some ten years ago in Britain.

The real and perceived threat of BSE has had a long incubation in the minds of the public and authorities have to bear the grave responsibilities of their neglect and cover up of the outbreak. But even worse is that even with seemingly clear scientific evidence of the cause and mechanism for transfer of BSE Britain and latterly France, Germany and Spain are reluctantly managing the growing evidence of their continuing outbreak.

Evidence of French farmers sending infected animals to slaughter and processing under the guise of injured stock shows the insidiousness of the attempts to cover up a disease that has the potential to devastate the red meat markets of the world.

Yesterday's announcement that a death in South Africa from CJD may be linked to the consumption of BSE infected hamburgers produced in South Africa indicates that no country can claim to be safe.

South Africa appears to have continued importing potentially infected stock feeds from Britain up until 1998. Could the same conditions have happened in NZ? Perhaps not with feeds - but from some other unwitting medium.

Personal observation of Australian customs detection of OXO cubes carefully wrapped in a toilet bag carried by a seemingly intelligent middle-aged Aussie traveller shows the extent of the dangerous 'game' played by travellers to break the rules that protect our livestock industry.

Can we be smug in feeling NZ will only be a beneficiary of the problems created by BSE for European farmers? I think not. We are at risk from contamination ourselves as shown by the apparent CJD death in South Africa but even more concerning is the markets perception that beef and perhaps lamb consumption is not now an acceptable health risk.

Have we placed the right expectation on our authorities to ensure that BSE does not appear in NZ

Good farming

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