Scotland achieves lowest risk of BSE

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Scotland has achieved the lowest risk level status available for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Notification of the classification upgrade to negligible risk status was confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris.

The OIE has recognised that the official BSE risk status of both Scotland and Northern Ireland is at the safest level, a move expected to help open international market access for beef exports. England and Wales continue to be recognised as having controlled risk BSE status.

Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing said: ‘This is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making. Scotland has had no cases of BSE since 2009 and this announcement is testament to many people’s tireless efforts.

‘With Scotland already being recognised as officially TB-free, this decision further vindicates our reputation for supplying beef products of the highest quality, produced to the highest standards in the world.

Frank Clark, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, added: ‘Scotland has lived with BSE since 1986 and the farming and meat industries have made massive efforts to manage and eradicate the disease. Today’s decision frees our industry to make full commercial use of Scotland’s high-health status on behalf of producers, processors and wholesalers, opening the door to fresh marketing opportunities around the world.’