19/12/2008

BSE Testing Age Increases

Farming Minister Michelle Gildernew has announced that the BSE testing age will increase to 48 months for all bovines from 1 January 2009.

The announcement follows official confirmation from both the Food Standards Agency and Health Ministers that they agree with this change. The minimum BSE testing age for both cattle slaughtered for human consumption and fallen cattle will increase across the UK to 48 months from 1 January 2009. However, this only applies to cattle born and reared in the EU 15 member States.

Announcing the move, the Minister said: "This is good news for the farming industry in the North as there will be some 40,000 less cattle slaughtered for human consumption requiring BSE testing annually, with savings in the region of £400,000 to industry.

"However, I would acknowledge that farmers will from 1 January 2009 have to pay for the collection and disposal of fallen cattle from 24-48 months which will no longer require BSE testing. To help farmers adjust to paying for the disposal of these animals I am putting additional funding into the National Fallen Stock Company this financial year."

Bovines born or reared outside the EU 15 member States will continue to be tested for BSE in line with current surveillance requirement that is healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption tested at 30 months of age, and at risk animals tested at 24 months of age.

(PR/JM)

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