HL Deb 18 April 2000 vol 612 cc92-3WA
Lord Hardy of Wath

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make publicly available the latest progress report prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on bovine spongiform encephalopathy. (HL2081]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman)

A further Progress Report on BSE in Great Britain was placed in the Library of the House.

The report outlines the measures which have been taken to protect public health since June 1999, including legislation to establish the Food Standards Agency and to lift the retail ban on beef on the bone and beef bones. It summarises the results of action to enforce existing public health measures. An update on the number of cases of vCJD is included.

There is also a section on the protection of animal health which covers controls on animal feed.

The epidemiology section shows that the epidemic of BSE in the UK continues to decline. The number of clinically suspect cases of BSE reported in Great Britain has continued to fall and for the year to 31 December 1999 was 26.3 per cent less than for the same period in 1998, and 46.2 per cent less than for the same period in 1997. A continued improvement is expected for the future. The report shows that 63 per cent of UK herds with adults breeding cattle have never had a case of BSE, including 84 per cent of beef suckler herds. Reported incidence also shows that herds with more than four cases of BSE account for three-quarters of all BSE cases, but represent less than one-eighth of all herds.

The section on the European perspective reports the first exports of UK beef produced under the Date-based Export Scheme, which started in August 1999. It also covers the Commission's latest proposal for regulation to control and prevent animal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.