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Germany

Agriculture Ministry Admits Knowledge of Tip-Off in BSE Testing Lapses

A report in Germany’s mass-circulation newspaper Bild on Monday stated that Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Minister Renate Künast was informed about erroneous mad cow disease testing back in February. The newspaper claimed that Künast received an email from a cattle dealer in Bavaria which suggested that a cattle breeder in Emsland was not testing his cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopy, or BSE, before having them slaughtered. The information in the e-mail suggested that at least 80 cattle in Emsland had been slaughtered without being tested for the illness, which is also believed to infect humans. The paper added that the public prosecutors in the city of Osnabrück are investigating the claims. In response to the claims, Künast explained that there had been evidence suggesting violations of food regulations, but that these had been passed on to the relevant states for further investigation. Germany’s FDP has accused Künast of not following up tip-offs about possible incidences of illegal slaughtering. But over the weekend, Green Party politician Bärbel Höhn came to Künast’s defense. She said that although what had happened shouldn’t have, there will never be a 100 percent safe system, as it is impossible to eradicate criminal energy.