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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Infected Calves Revive Beef Row

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission said Friday it was looking to the British government to detail any new measures it may have to take following the news that cows can pass mad cow disease to their calves.


"There is nothing to be done by the European Commission at the moment," spokesman Jochen Kubosch said.


The report by British scientists released in London on Thursday says 10 percent of calves born within six months of their mothers showing signs of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE -- mad cow disease) developed the brain-wasting disease.


In a letter to British Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg, EU Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler said the new scientific evidence "risks complicating the whole discussion about BSE."


"The information ... may have implications for the selective slaughter program and therefore for the framework program agreed at the Florence summit," Fischler added in the letter which was released to reporters on Friday.


EU leaders agreed in Florence in June that a ban on exports of British beef and beef products would be lifted progressively as Britain implemented a series of measures, including the slaughter of affected cattle and those at risk of catching the disease.


The ban was imposed in March when Britain first announced that BSE could be transmitted to humans who ate infected beef or beef products and caused a massive crisis on the beef market.


Hogg has said he is willing to modify the BSE eradication program but Fischler questioned a decision to delay the start of the selective slaughter program due to be implemented by August 1.


"Although I understand your reasons for doing so, this will have the effect of postponing the further reduction in the incidence of BSE, which is a cornerstone in our policy in relation to BSE," Fischler wrote.


Fischler said Britain and the Commission would have to consider the implications of the latest report for the framework plan.