'Contaminated feed' most likely source of isolated BSE cases
Research by the European Food Safety authority has concluded that contaminated feed is the most likely cause of the continued emergence of isolated BSE cases.
The European response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) after the crisis of the 1980s has significantly reduced prevalence of the disease in cattle.
However, isolated cases are still being reported in the EU and for this reason the European Commission asked EFSA to investigate their origin.
The key measure for controlling BSE in the EU is a ban on the use of animal proteins in livestock feed.
This is because BSE can be transmitted to cattle through contaminated feed, mainly in the first year of life.
Sixty cases of classical BSE have been reported in cattle born after the EU ban was enforced in 2001.
None of these animals entered the food chain. Classical BSE is the type of BSE transmissible to humans.
The Commission asked EFSA to determine if these cases were caused by contaminated feed or whether they occurred spontaneously, i.e. without an apparent cause.