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New Zealand Government Release
9 JULY 1999
Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton today
welcomed news that New Zealand had played a crucial role in the successful development of
new European tests for BSE.
BSE or bovine spongiform encephalopathy
and its alleged link with a new strain of CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) has crippled the
British beef industry. It is estimated to have cost the UK around $14 billion and has
resulted in the slaughter of 4 million cattle.
The results of an evaluation of new tests
carried out by the European Commission are reported in this week's "Nature", a
leading scientific publication.
"The European Commission wished to
evaluate newly developed tests for BSE and approached New Zealand because it is one
country in the world where they could find cattle samples without BSE. New Zealand was the
only country selected as the source for negative material because of its internationally
recognised BSE-free status."
"The Ministry of Agriculture and
Forestry supplied more than 1000 brains and spinal cords from randomly chosen cows
slaughtered in New Zealand. These were used as the BSE-free control samples to evaluate
the diagnostic tests, along with infected animals sourced from the UK."
"New Zealand's participation and the
results of these tests give our trading partners even greater assurance that New Zealand
is free of BSE .The results come at a time when New Zealand is seeking formal confirmation
internationally from the European Commission of its BSE-free status."
"The aim of the test is to accurately
identify BSE in animals. Tests can be used for diagnosis, disease surveillance or to give
consumers additional assurances."
"It was superb to see that New
Zealand was selected to participate in this evaluation and good to note that each of the
samples New Zealand supplied, tested negative to all three tests. This is good news for
New Zealand and great news for our trading partners," Mr Luxton concluded.
For more information contact:
(04) 4719707 or (025) 433 716