Russia bans cattle imports from Romania over mad cow disease

ANSVSA says it was an isolated case in Romania. UK lab confirms the atypical form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Russia’s federal veterinary and phytosanitary control authority (Rosselkhoznadzor) has banned imports of bovine cattle, beef and by-products from Romania over an outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, the Russian ITAR-TASS reads.According to a Rosselkhoznadzor release circulated on Tuesday, the ban is also applicable to processed animal proteins, animal feedstuff made of such proteins, meat-meal and bone tankage. An outbreak of mad cow disease in Romania was registered by the International Epizootic Bureau, says ITAR TASS. On the other hand, the Romanian national veterinary and sanitary authorities (ANSVSA) deny the above-mentioned information, stating that Russia does not import bovine cattle, beef and by-products from Romania, and that the ‘epidemic’ referred to is in fact an isolated, atypical BSE case which doesn’t jeopardize the human health. Likewise, Romania has never registered the classic form of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), the ANSVSA representatives informed.At the beginning of June, Romania has received from the International Epizootic Bureau (IEB) a certificate by which it was recognized the status of country with BSE negligible risk. Romania has carried tests for seven years in order to receive this IEB standard, ‘the optimum standard of the three it issues’. Out of the 178 IEB member countries only 25 do have the negligible risk standard as Romania, the rest of the countries having an undetermined risk.Following analyses, the UK laboratory confirmed the atypical form of BSE in the sample taken from a cow sacrificed in an authorized slaughterhouse, at the end of April, the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) announced, adding that this is an isolated case in Romania.According to the source, no case of classical or atypical form of BSE has been confirmed in Romania since 1995. “This case of atypical BSE is isolated,” ANSVSA assures. “Public health is and was never put at risk, because the beef from the susceptible group is put on sale only after receiving the results of BSE laboratory analyses. Restrictive measures were set in place regarding the movement of livestock, in line with acting European regulations,” reads the ANSVSA communique.According to the source, several state institutions launched a probe into this case. “At the conclusion of all investigations, all the animals that cohabitated with the positive animal and its descendants (the cohort of the positive animal) will be killed and destroyed,” informs the source.The way of appearance of this sporadic form of BSE, considered “atypical” in order to differentiate it from the classic form, where the disease appears after the cattle is fed fodder containing animal proteins, makes the subject of scientific investigation.According to ANSVSA, Romania is implementing, since 2007, monitoring, control and eradication programmes for BSE, co-financed by the European Commission. These programmes rely on the epidemiological antecedents and the risk analysis that monitors and controls the epidemiological situation of Romania in relation with EST, BSE included, ANSVSA explained.Romania recently received from the IEB the certificate that recognizes its statute of member country with negligible risk for “the mad-cow disease.” On the web site destined to European alerts, there is no BSE alert referring to Romania.

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