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Australia Broadens BSE Ban on European Beef

Friday, January 5, 2001

Citing concerns about Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, Australian officials announced today the country will expand its ban on imported beef to include 30 European countries. The nation has banned certain products containing British beef since 1996 following concerns about the link between BSE-infected British beef and variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans.
The expanded ban would affect 30 nations in Europe. The decision by Australia to suspend the import of foods containing beef from other countries in Europe will be implemented in conjunction with the New Zealand government which has worked closely with Australia on the action.
The action will take effect on Monday, January 8, 2001.
Government officials are asking grocers to voluntarily withdraw any product containing European beef and are urging consumers to take any such product off their shelves.
Foods in transit to Australia from the European countries will not be accepted, officials said. Both Australia and New Zealand have agreed that following the suspension and voluntary withdrawal of product from sale, a formal certification process will be established to assess future imports to ensure they are BSE-free.
"The risk to the health of Australians from the consumption of these products is extremely small," said Australia's Chief Medical Officer Professor Richard Smallwood. "However, we need to keep one step ahead of the BSE/vCJD situation that is causing great concern in the UK and the rest of Europe."

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