Food Law News - UK - 2000

2 May 2000: BSE - Food Standards Agency to Review BSE Controls

FSA Press Release (2000/0006), 2 May 2000

Food Standards Agency to Review BSE Controls

The Food Standards Agency is to review the current BSE controls relating to the food chain to ensure that they adequately protect the consumer and reflect the risks. The final report is expected to be published and submitted to Ministers in the autumn.

FSA Chairman Sir John Krebs said: "This review is timely because the Agency now has responsibility for this area. The current controls are based on the best expert advice available but, in the light of emerging knowledge both of BSE of vCJD, it is right to review them to ensure that they serve their purpose both now and in the future."

A Stakeholder Group, which will meet in public, will also be set up by the Agency to provide a forum for discussion on issues which emerge during the review. The Group will include consumer organisations and industry experts. It can also initiate, when necessary, areas for discussion or review.

The review will be conducted by an internal FSA group led by Sir John Krebs and the FSA will obtain expert advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC). Invitations for nominations to the Stakeholder Group are now being issued to relevant organisations. Later in the course of the Review the FSA expects to consult a wider range of interests.

The Prime Minister announced in March, at the Farmers' Summit, that there was to be a review of BSE controls. The Terms of Reference of the Review are:
The FSA will submit a published report to UK and Devolved Administration Health and Agriculture Ministers by 31 October 2000, or as soon thereafter as is possible taking account of the report of the BSE Inquiry, to meet the following remit: -
To review the current main measures to protect the public against BSE/vCJD in relation to the food chain. The review will consider both the adequacy of the measures to protect public health and their proportionality to the assessed risk, both currently and in relation to the projected decline of BSE in the UK. The measures to be examined will specifically include the ban on entry into the food chain of cattle over the age of 30 months at slaughter, the ban on the feeding of mammalian meat and bone meal to any farmed animals and the removal at slaughter and controlled disposal of specified risk material from cattle, sheep and goats."

The report will be the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency with expert advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee. The Food Standards Agency will form a stakeholder group including representatives of the UK and Devolved Administration Health and Agriculture Departments, consumer organisations and industry experts to contribute throughout the period of the Review to the Agency's consideration of the issues.

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