France sees BSE risk status downgraded

France’s BSE risk status has been officially downgraded following the confirmation of a BSE case in March of this year.

EU Regulations provide that Member States, third countries or regions thereof are to be classified according to their BSE status into one of three categories: negligible BSE risk, controlled BSE risk and undetermined BSE risk.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) plays a leading role in the categorisation of countries or regions according to their BSE risk.

On 24 March 2016, France notified the Commission, the other Member States and the OIE of the detection of a case of classical BSE, in a bovine animal in France that was born in April 2011.

According to EU regulations, one of the conditions for granting and maintaining the ‘negligible BSE risk status’ of a country is that, if there has been a classical BSE indigenous case in the country, every classical BSE indigenous cases was born more than 11 years ago.

Therefore, following the notification by France confirming a case of classical BSE in a 5-year-old bovine animal, the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases suspended the negligible BSE risk status of France, as recognised by Resolution No 21, and reinstated France’s previous status as a country with a controlled BSE risk, with effect from 25 March 2016.

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In June of last year the Department of Agriculture here in Ireland announced the identification of a suspected BSE case in county Louth.

The case was identified through the Department’s on-going surveillance system on fallen animals (that is animals which die on farm). The animal was not presented for slaughter and did not enter the food chain.

The animal involved is a five year old cow on a dairy farm in county Louth. Ireland’s BSE risk status is now also ‘controlled risk’.