Dáil Éireann - Volume 631 - 20 February, 2007
Written Answers. - Animal Diseases.
Dr. Cowley Dr. Cowley
Dr. Cowley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food to raise the age of BSE testing in animals of 30 months to over forty months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6064/07]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan: The requirement that all bovine animals over 30 months of age, slaughtered for human consumption, must be tested for BSE is provided for in Regulation (EC) No.999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council, laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (The TSE Regulation). Accordingly, I do not have the discretion to raise this age threshold as I would wish to do in view of the major progress achieved here in relation to BSE. I have been making repeated efforts to have the age thresholds for the various categories of animals changed, based on the results of surveillance carried out here. Under the recently amended TSE regulation there is provision for a revision to member states’ monitoring programmes (including changes to the age at which healthy slaughtered animals for human consumption must be tested for BSE) on the basis of applications by Member States in response to their improved BSE situation. Such applications will have to be assessed according to criteria for evaluating the improvement of the epidemiological  situation that has yet to be laid down. The matter is under discussion at TSE working group level in Brussels and will take some time to finalise. Any request for such changes would require to be approved by the European Commission and the other Member States within the framework of the Standing Committee on Animal Health and the Food Chain. I will, of course continue to press for a change in the age threshold at every opportunity.
Dáil Éireann 631 Written Answers. Animal Diseases.