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Bovine Disease Controls.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 March 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Questions (74)

Brian O'Shea


70 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his reaction to Belgium’s request to raise the cattle age limit for BSE testing from 48 to 60 months. [12027/10]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

The Belgian delegation brought its request to increase the age of BSE testing to 60 months or phase out testing for animals born from 1 January 2004, to the Agriculture Council meeting of 22 February, 2010. The Commission, in its response confirmed that new strategic guidelines on tackling BSE will be released by the Commission by the summer and acknowledged that the EU is now at a stage to consider amendments of certain measures without jeopardizing consumer health. Commissioner Dalli also warned that any changes to current BSE testing rules, as requested by the Member State, would have to be strictly based on scientific criteria and analysis and in line with the work of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Ireland supports the Commission's stance on this matter. Any changes in the testing regime must be science-based and in accordance with the opinion of EFSA. Compatibility with international trade rules under the OIE is a key factor, bearing in mind the value to the economy of Ireland's beef exports.