NFU welcomes new BSE testing age

The National Farmers’ Union has welcomed the move to raise the age of BSE testing from 48 to 72 months.

The new rules, which come into force on July 1 2011, have been implemented after EU ministers agreed that BSE testing needed to be risk-based and led by up-to-date scientific evidence.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said: “Consumer safety is always of paramount importance to livestock producers, and in relation to BSE, and we have understood the need for strict controls in the past. However, the time is right to move to a more science-based level of protection. As producers we want to see regulations that are risk-based and that use up-to-date scientific evidence.

“The level of BSE cases continues to fall; now there are just a handful of cases across the EU. The European Food Standards Authority opinion also supports the view that increasing the testing age will not adversely affect human health.

“We have worked with the UK Food Standards Agency and Defra and I am pleased that both organisations have agreed to the new testing age.”

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