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SAMW welcomes OIE granting of negligible risk status for BSE

The successful granting to Scotland of negligible risk status for BSE, approved today (Thursday, May 25) by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Scientific Commission, has been welcomed by the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) as a vitally important step for the whole Scottish red meat industry.

“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,” said SAMW president, Frank Clark.

“Having originally launched Scotland’s campaign for negligible risk status early last year, based on the fact that the last confirmed BSE case in Scotland involved an animal born in 2002, SAMW is delighted to have achieved this and be now able to celebrate the OIE’s decision.

“By confirming Scotland’s fully justified new status, the OIE has given our industry a new platform from which to rebuild. The value of the Fifth Quarter (hides, offal and other by products) disappeared overnight and previously saleable materials became waste. The loss of revenue and vastly increased waste disposal costs had a severe financial effect on the industry. Our improved BSE status will remove a potential barrier to trade, unlocking sales opportunities in markets which are keen to buy Scottish meat but only accept products from negligible risk areas. We now have that status and will be seeking to renew trading routes accordingly.”

Mr Clark also paid tribute to the support given to the industry’s case throughout the OIE process by Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, and his officials, who provided OIE with a wealth of statistics and information, detailing every aspect of the country’s sustained freedom from BSE.

“Once the campaign began, the Cabinet Secretary, his officials and all Scotland’s food and farm bodies worked together to deliver today’s decision, which is of such great importance to the whole industry” said Mr Clark.

See Scottish Government statement