The recent case of BSE in Aberdeenshire may have caused the loss of Scotland’s Negligible Risk (NR) status, but consumers seem not to have reacted to any extent.
Ewan Pate and Abi Kay report...
The price of cull cows, the commodity most likely to be hit, was similar to a week earlier.
The Scottish Government activated its response plan after the case was confirmed at Boghead Farm between Huntly and Alford last Thursday (October 18).
Precautionary movement restrictions were put in place on the farm while further investigations to identify the origin of the disease were carried out.
All the animal’s cohorts, including its offspring, were destroyed.
Quality Meat Scotland analyst Iain Macdonald: “It is too early to tell but there seems to be no impact. I am just back from the SIAL trade fair in Paris and buyers there were as interested as ever in Scotch Beef.”
Scottish Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon told Members of the Scottish Parliament there would likely be a ’negligible’ risk to beef exports from Scotland.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas pointed out the quick detection of the disease was proof the surveillance system was working.
Fallen stock over 48 months, such as the five year Aberdeen Angus cow at the heart of this case, is all checked by tissue sample for BSE and this ensures rapid identification of any problem.
It will, however, be several weeks before tests show how the cow became infected.
It is possible, as has happened in France and Ireland, that a genetic mutation in a single animal is responsible.
Scotland only gained NR status in 2017. It will now revert to Controlled Risk status in line with rest of the UK. Last week’s case was the first in the UK since 2015.
Farmer Thomas Jackson, who runs the herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle at the centre of the furore, said he and his family were ’heartbroken’.
“We have built up our closed herd over many years and have always taken great pride in doing all the correct things,” he said in a statement.
“We have been fully cooperating with all the parties involved and will continue to do so as we, like everyone, want to move forward and clear up this matter.”