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List of countries banning British beef grows longer

Meat

'Mad cow' disease scare spreads

March 22, 1996
Web posted at: 12:08 p.m. EST (1708 GMT)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- The list of countries banning British beef because of fears of "mad cow" disease grew longer Friday.

Italy, Luxembourg, Greece, Austria, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and Spain are the latest countries to ban imports of British beef. Jordan, which banned such imports in 1990, announced it would ban imports of British dairy products and Irish livestock in connection with the latest scare.

The European Commission announced Friday that those European Union countries who have moved unilaterally to ban the imports have not violated European law as long as the bans are temporary. The EU itself could vote as early as Monday on tightening restricts, after a panel of scientific experts presents findings from an independent review of the situation.

Germany also banned imports of beef from Switzerland, which has the second highest number of cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow" disease.

The most recent panic began earlier this week when a new study indicated that BSE may be linked with a fatal human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or CJD.

A cow

For a decade, the British government has denied any connection between eating BSE-contaminated beef and contracting CJD. But on Thursday, the country's Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell, raised the possibility of destroying Britain's entire stock of beef cattle.

Several countries, including the United States, have had bans in place on British beef imports for several years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that it would increase its role in monitoring the disease. (170K AIFF sound or 170K WAV sound)

Countries which banned imports of British beef on Thursday include Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.

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