Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Classical BSE confirmed on Louth farm

Paul Finnerty chief executive of ABP
Paul Finnerty chief executive of ABP
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Confirmation that Ireland is likely to lose its negligible risk status for BSE came through in the last week with test results showing that the BSE case in Co Louth was not a spontaneous 'atypical' animal.

The first Irish case of BSE since 2013 has resulted in the cull of 67 cohort animals across seven herds, including four offspring. All tested negative.

The animals were culled on the basis that they may have consumed the same contaminated feed during the 18 months before and after the infected cow was born.

The Agriculture Department said there was no evidence of meat and bone-meal contamination of feed supplied by any of five mills that supplied the farm. Records show that feed from these mills was tested 52 times during 2009 and 2010.

The farm did not buy any feed from unlicenced feed sources, and there were no other species of animal kept on the farm that would facilitate any mix-up in feed.

In addition, Department vets have ruled out the possibility of the five year-old cow contracting the disease from its mother.

THE head of Ireland's largest beef processor said the growth of valuable high-end exports of beef to the US must be viewed as a three to five-year project.

Paul Finnerty, chief executive of ABP, said the sales of top-quality grass-fed beef into the high-end US market have been "slow" so far.

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"You would measure it against that sort of timeframe. Thus far it is slow but not necessarily any slower than we would have expected," he said, adding the "sheer volume" of the Chinese market also had great potential for Irish beef when it opens later this year.

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