HC Deb 13 May 1996 vol 277 cc375-6W
Mr. Alan W. Williams

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many prosecutions there have been of(a) farmers, (b) cattle dealers, (c) auctioneers, (d) abattoir purchasers and (e) meat wholesalers concerning breaches of BSE regulations. [28529]

Mrs. Browning

One case has been successfully prosecuted under the Specified Bovine Offals Order 1995. The defendants were fined at total of £3,000 plus £2,000 costs for two offences under the order. There are no further cases before the court at present; a number of other cases are, however, under investigation.

Local government also plays a significant role in implementing the control measures on BSE. It is in part responsible for enforcing the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Order 1991, as amended, and the provisions of the new Specified Bovine Materials Order 1996 in relation to SBOs in non-food premises. We are aware that local authorities have taken several BSE-related prosecutions. We do not, however, hold details of these centrally.

Mr. Nicholls

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on(a) the incidence of BSE, (b) the steps in place to identify cases of BSE, (c) the steps taken to remove specified bovine offal from the carcases of animals believed to be affected and (d) the method by which the carcases of animals slaughtered because their herd was infected with BSE are disposed of in respect of each of the other EU countries; and what assessment he has made of the relative effectiveness of each country's programme to protect the public from BSE-related diseases. [28544]

Mrs. Browning

Up until 3 May 1996, 160,032 suspect cases of BSE have been reported in Great Britain. All suspect cases of BSE must, by law, be notified to the Ministry. The Ministry's veterinary officers visit all carry out a further assessment of the site to identify chemical and mineral residues. The results of its desk study are expected by late summer. Field work and chemical analysis will then follow, if necessary.