HC Deb 20 November 2000 vol 357 cc60-1W
Mr. Mitchell

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research he has(a) commissioned and (b) undertaken into the possibility that cow dung used as a fertiliser could transmit BSE in cattle to humans as CJD; what were the findings; and what advice he has issued on the matter. [137624]

Ms Quin

No work has been commissioned to demonstrate directly that cow dung used as fertiliser could transmit BSE to humans as CJD. In studies commissioned by MAFF, BSE infectivity has been found in the wall of the gut of cattle that were given BSE infected cattle brain by mouth, but none has been seen in the gut of natural cases of BSE. Analysis of data from the epidemic (by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and other groups) suggests that horizontal transmission between animals does not occur, by any route. It has proved difficult to test faeces directly for infection, as it is highly toxic to mice, but no infection has been transmitted to mice from the faeces of cattle experimentally infected with BSE.

Although MAFF has not issued advice on this matter, SEAC have considered and issued advice on the disposal of excreta from experimentally infected cattle. The Committee's advice applies specifically to experimentally infected cattle and SEAC has not issued broader advice on this question.

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