SNP MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed the advice that recommends an end to the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) testing regime that was introduced in the wake of the BSE crisis.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommendation to the UK government follows a European Commission proposal to allow some Member States, including the UK, t odecide to stop testing cattle.
The FSA says that the regime is no longer necessary as other safeguards including the removal of the specified risk material (SRM) at slaughter and banning animal protein in cattle feed should be sufficient to protect consumers. Nonetheless, testing will continue on animals that die for reasons other than being killed for human consumption.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Alyn said:
"I am glad to see that the European Commission, and subsequently the Food Standards Agency, have concluded that our industry is now safe enough for the stringent measures introduced on the back of the BSE crisis in the 90s to be repealed.
"The BSE crisis was catastrophic for our farming industry, and it wasa lesson very hard learnt. But it has been learnt. The food safety measures now in place are adequate to ensure the safety of our food. This had been underlined by the recent opening up of foreign markets which had put in place restrictions during and after the crisis.
"I hope that the UK government will now follow this advice."