Application for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) negligible risk Status for Scotland: consultation

Consultation on the application to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) negligible risk status as a region of the UK.

Annex A: Detailed Outline Of BSE Controls

BSE Monitoring And Surveillance

The European Commission introduced the first Community legislation on BSE in July 1989. By the middle of 1990, basic Community legislation on BSE was in place concerning meat and live cattle. Regulation ( EC) No. 999/2001 laying down rules for prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies ("the Regulation") forms the legal basis for all legislative actions on TSEs. It gathers together all BSE measures adopted over the years into a single, comprehensive framework, and has been consolidated and updated in line with scientific evidence and international standards. It has been amended many times in response to the evolution of the BSE situation, new or updated scientific advice and technical developments. It applies both to live animals susceptible to TSEs (ruminants) and the animal products derived from them. The purpose of the TSE legislation is to protect the health of consumers and animals and to eradicate TSEs.

The Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Scotland) Regulations 2010 SSI 2010/177 provide the powers to administer and enforce the provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001 in Scotland.

On 7 November 2005, cattle aged over thirty months and born on or after 1 August 1996 were allowed back into the food chain, subject to BSE testing. The requirement of BSE testing of these healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption has gradually reduced since November 2005, with the age threshold being raised from 30 to 48 months on 1 January 2009 and again from 48 to 72 months on 1 July 2011.

From 1 March 2013, there was no longer a requirement to BSE test healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption within the 28 Member States of the EU.

Current BSE Surveillance Requirements

Fallen cattle aged over 48 months must be tested for BSE. Cattle keepers are required to make their own arrangements for the collection and disposal of fallen cattle that need to be tested for BSE. Carcases must be taken to an approved sampling site. The requirement to despatch bovine fallen stock aged over 48 months for BSE testing applies to all cattle keepers on the Scottish mainland and on the Isles of Bute and Skye. Cattle Slaughtered for Human Consumption

In GB, the requirement to test healthy slaughtered cattle for BSE ended on 1 March 2013. This applies to cattle born in EU Member States (except Bulgaria and Romania). From 1 March 2013, the following cattle must still be tested for BSE:

  • healthy cattle aged over 30 months slaughtered for human consumption which were born in Romania, Bulgaria and all non- EU countries;
  • cattle subject to emergency slaughter for welfare reasons, cattle which are identified as sick at ante-mortem inspection, and fallen stock, i.e. cattle which die or are killed other than for human consumption;
  • aged over 48 months if born in EU Member States (except Bulgaria and Romania); or
  • aged over 24 months if they were born in Romania, Bulgaria and all non- EU countries.

Notification of suspicion of BSE

Over the last 30 years, the UK Government, Devolved Administrations and cattle industry have raised awareness of the signs of BSE with their stakeholders and members respectively. Suspicion of BSE as a result of clinical signs in a bovine animal must be notified to the Animal and Plant Health Agency ( APHA) by law. This applies to cattle in private possession, or under supervised control at farms, markets, slaughterhouses or other places.

If an animal shows signs of BSE it is first reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency ( APHA). An APHA vet will visit the premises and carry out a veterinary assessment on the animal as soon as possible. If BSE is suspected APHA will issue a notice restricting the movement of the animal (movement restriction). The animal will either be culled on site or transported to an APHA laboratory for slaughter depending on the animal's condition. A herd restriction is then placed prohibiting the movement of cattle on and off the affected farm (whole herd restriction), and the suspect animal will be tested to find out if it has BSE. Once cohort and offspring animals are identified, notices will be issued restricting the movements of these animals only, and the whole herd restrictions are lifted. If BSE is suspected in a female animal, APHA will trace any of its offspring that were born up to 2 years before or after the mother showed signs of the disease. Movement restrictions are then put in place and the offspring will be slaughtered if BSE is confirmed in the mother.

Feed controls

In the UK, the original food ban was introduced in 1988 to prevent ruminant protein being fed to ruminants. In addition, it has been illegal to feed ruminants with all forms of mammalian protein (with specific exceptions) since November 1994 and to feed any farmed livestock, including fish and horses, with mammalian meat and bone meal ( MBM) since 4 April 1996. Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001 introduced feed controls to combat the spread of BSE. Findings by the scientific committees linked the spread of BSE to the consumption of feed contaminated by the infected ruminant protein in the form of MBM.

The TSE feed ban applies to all ruminant animals, all non-ruminant farmed animals and to all pigs, poultry or horses, including those kept as pets, companion, performance or commercial animals. It does not apply to domestic pet rabbits or pet or ornamental fish. Under the TSE feed ban:

(i) ruminant and non-ruminant terrestrial farmed animals must not be fed the following prohibited derived products, either directly or in feeding stuffs:

  • Processed Animal Protein ( PAP) [8] ;
  • collagen and gelatine from ruminants e.g. beef gelatine (including in surplus food);

(ii) ruminants must not be fed any animal protein - or any feeding stuff which contains animal protein - except the following permitted proteins (also permitted for non-permitted feed), when sourced and processed in accordance with the Animal By-Products ( ABP) Regulations:

  • milk, milk-based products and colostrum;
  • eggs and egg-based products;
  • hydrolysed proteins [9] derived from parts of non-ruminants or from ruminant hides and skins; and
  • fishmeal, which is permitted only for use in milk replacer powder for feeding to unweaned ruminants [10] in liquid form but must not be fed to weaned ruminants.

For more information on the requirements of the TSE regulations and feed controls, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has produced a guidance note for industry and enforcement authorities. Regulations controlling Cattle Movements

Live cattle are moved into Scotland every year. These animals originate from other parts of the UK, Ireland and other EU Member States. In 2015, the total number of recorded live cattle moved into Scotland was 71,560. The majority of these came from England.

From 1 August 1996, no cattle, whether born in the UK or imported, were permitted to be fed with feeding stuffs containing processed mammalian protein. This was the date from which the ban on the feeding of ruminants with mammalian protein (except milk) is considered by the UK authorities to have been fully effective.

Animals traded between EU Member States must be permanently identified in accordance with Regulation ( EC) 1760/2000.

All cattle being imported must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate which includes a certification requirement that each animal "comes from a holding of origin and an area/zone which is not subject to any prohibition or restriction for reasons of animal diseases affecting bovine animals". The Scottish Government receives advance notification about consignments of live animals via the Trade Control and Expert System ( TRACES).

Regulation ( EC) 999/2001 provides the legislative basis to ensure that no animal imported from an EU Member State meets the definition of cohort or progeny of a BSE animal at the time of export as all cohort and progeny animals in EU Member States must be traced and destroyed.


Email: Ian Cox,

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