HC Deb 16 April 1999 vol 329 cc392-3W
Mr. Stinchcombe

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the(a) medical and (b) public health implications of feeding livestock with bonemeal from UK-produced pig and poultry. [80485]

Mr. Rooker

Mammalian meat and bonemeal (MBM) is considered to have been the main source of infection in the BSE epidemic. Controls on the use of mammalian MBM have been progressively tightened in the light of experience and the latest available advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC), the Government's independent advisor on BSE issues. The controls in place are: a prohibition on all mammalian protein, including MBM, in ruminant feed; and a prohibition on the feeding of mammalian MBM to all farmed livestock to prevent cross-contamination of ruminant rations. This ban was not introduced to protect the health of pigs and poultry. The existing bans on the use of mammalian MBM in feed for farmed animals do not extend to MBM derived from poultry.

SEAC provided advice to the Government on the practice of intraspecies recycling of waste in the pig and poultry industries in December 1997. They considered that there may be a very small risk of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) arising spontaneously within a species and recommended that a strategy be developed to remove the small potential risk of TSE transmission from the recycling of pig and poultry waste as feed for the same species. The Government have accepted this advice.

Copies of all SEAC advice are placed in the Libraries of the House.