The European Union will not impose any restrictions on US beef imports, following the disclosure of a mad cow case in California. Policy makers point out the cow in question has not entered the food chain.
The European Commission said on Wednesday it did not intend to impose any restrictions on imports from the United States, following the discovery of the country's first case of mad cow disease in six years.
"The European Commission is satisfied that the new BSE [bovine spongiform encephalopathy] case has been confirmed in the framework of the ongoing mad cow surveillance system in the United States," the EU's executive arm said in a statement on Wednesday.
"It prevented this animal from entering the food chain," Commission Health Spokesman Frederic Vincent said in Brussels.
Sounding the all-clear
Mexico, Japan and Korea, the three top markets for overseas US beef sales, said they'd continue imports, although two major South Korean retailers had halted the distribution of US beef.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave assurances that the finding posed no risk to the food supply or to human health. Experts maintained the mad cow case in California was "atypical" in that it was a rare occurrence in which a cow contracted the disease spontaneously rather than through the feed supply.
The first US case of mad cow disease was recorded in 2003 in an animal imported from Canada, with two more cases following in 2005 and 2008. BSE was first discovered in Britain in 1986 and has killed at least 150 people, mainly in Europe.
hg/sgb (Reuters, AFP)