Suspected BSE case, Co. Louth

IFA president Eddie Downey has praised the warning and control systems in place for BSE cases

A farm in county Louth is at the centre of a suspected case of BSE today.



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11 June 2015

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In a statement, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed the identification of a suspected BSE case in county Louth. The case –  a neurological disease that has the potential to transfer to humans – was identified by Department’s on-going surveillance system on fallen animals (animals that die on farm), and immediate measures were taken to confirm the case and investigate whether it may spread any further.

These measures include a full epidemiological examination of the cow in question, its birth cohort and progeny.

In its statement, the Department stressed that the animal in question was not presented for slaughter, nor did it enter in to the food chain. Nonetheless, as the test results are awaited, it will be a tense time before the Department can say whether it is an isolated incident.

In order to detect potential BSE cases, strict measures are enforced at slaughter plants. These include all animals presented for slaughter being subject to examination by veterinary inspectors. This ensures that only healthy animals are allowed into the food chain.

Despite these measures, the Department states that this case is expected to be confirmed as BSE. This will likely in turn prompt a review of Ireland’s recently awarded  “negligible risk status.” In that case, Ireland would revert to “controlled risk status”, which still allows export to a wide range of markets.

The Department also confirmed it would be liaising with all trading partners and would inform all the relevant organisations and the European Commission.

Reacting to the news, President of the Irish Farmers’ Association, Eddie Downey praised the effectiveness of the industry’s monitoring and control systems. “The traceability and monitoring controls adopted by farmers and the sector are the most stringent and robust anywhere,” Mr. Downey said, “and ensure the health status and quality of our agri-produce. A random case is not unusual in the context of the robust control systems we have in place for all diseases.”

We will have more on this story as we get it.



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