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From: TSS (216-119-143-70.ipset23.wt.net)
Subject: EU RAISES THREAT LEVEL FOR MAD COW DISEASE IN CANADA, USA, AND NORWAY
Date: August 20, 2004 at 6:32 am PST

EU raises threat level for mad cow disease in Canada, U.S. and Norway
09:35 AM EDT Aug 20

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The European Food Safety Authority on Friday raised its assessment of the risk of finding mad cow disease in the United States, Canada and Norway, but officials said the move would affect only Norwegian beef exporters.

Norway's reclassification from "highly unlikely" to "unlikely but not excluded" means its exporters will have to "take out a bit more significant risk material" before shipping beef into the EU, said European Commission spokeswoman Beate Gminder.

The United States and Canada were both raised from "unlikely" to "likely but not confirmed or confirmed at a lower level."

That follows the discovery of a lone case of mad cow disease in Canada's Alberta province and another in Washington state in 2003.

However, Gminder said those reclassifications would not impose any additional requirements on exporters. "In practice, nothing changes," she said.

The EU ban on growth-promoting hormones for cattle means it imports very little North American beef anyhow, she said.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, eats holes in the brains of cattle. It sprang up in Britain in 1986 and spread through Europe and Asia, prompting massive destruction of herds and devastating the European beef industry.

A human form of the disease is believed to come from eating beef products from cows struck with mad cow disease, especially tissue close to the animal's nervous system.

Of the four other countries evaluated, only Australia was in the "highly unlikely" category. Sweden was ranked the same as Norway and Mexico and South Africa joined the United States in level three.

© The Canadian Press, 2004

http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/040820/w082012.html

TSS




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