Scotland’s wholesalers welcome BSE breakthrough

Recommendations to upgrade Scotland’s BSE status from 'controlled risk' to ‘neglible risk’ have been hailed by the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) as a real breakthrough.

The decision, by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Scientific Commission, will now be considered by the OIE World Assembly in May.

“This is the highest recommendation which is available to any country, establishing a disease-free status which was first requested through a detailed paper setting out the case for change which SAMW submitted, and other Scottish meat and livestock organisations supported, to the Scottish Government in February 2016,” said SAMW president Allan Jess.

“Our initiative was the beginning of a process which is now set to deliver many major benefits for everyone involved in Scotland’s livestock and meat industry. The OIE breakthrough which has now been secured is fully justified by the fact that the last confirmed BSE case in Scotland involved an animal born in 2002.”

Jess, managing director of Paisley-based wholesaler AP Jess, said the elevation in status brought many potential benefits to the Scottish industry. These included enhanced market reputation, removal of obstacles when negotiating access to new markets and trading advantage over competitors from ‘controlled risk’ countries.

The change would also mean the removal of “costly and unnecessary” procedures to manage specified risk materials (SRM), reduction of SRM disposal costs and potential new by-product opportunities.

“We applaud the work done by the cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity, Fergus Ewing, and his officials, in advancing and pursuing the ‘negligible risk’ case on the industry’s behalf and look forward to being free to trade under our new status by as early as the summer,” said Jess.

The Scottish government first launched a consultation on upgrading the status on 26 August 2016, following pressure from the SAMW.

England and Wales are not due to have their BSE status upgraded before 2020 at the earliest.

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