BSE testing change ‘a step in the right direction’

The announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine that from 1 July 2011, only animals over 72 months of age will have to be BSE tested is a step in the right direction and must be followed by more measures to remove regulations that are no longer required given the very positive developments in relation to BSE over the past number of years.

The announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine that from 1 July 2011, only animals over 72 months of age will have to be BSE tested is a step in the right direction and must be followed by more measures to remove regulations that are no longer required given the very positive developments in relation to BSE over the past number of years.

That’s according to Mr. Kevin Connolly, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Beef and Cattle Committee who stated.

“The only disappointment in relation to this announcement is that this decision wasn’t taken immediately back in February when the change was announced by the EU Commission and the delay in implementation by the Commission cost Irish beef farmers about €630,000 unnecessarily during this period.

Given the times we live in, beef farmers - like everybody else - cannot afford unnecessary costs and it is essential that decisions in relation to the BSE roadmap are taken swiftly to remove unnecessary costs while at all times guaranteeing food safety.

The 72 month rule is a step in the right direction and should now be followed by the setting of a specific birth date - for example, 1 January 2004 - after which animals should no longer have to be tested. The BSE programme has worked very effectively but at a huge cost to all involved in the sector and it’s now time for the EU and the Minister Coveney to systematically strip away unnecessary costs and regulations from the sector, concluded Mr Connolly.