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8 Jan 2007 : Column 270W


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to make a statement on whether the national flock shows evidence of BSE. [109644]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) has tested all samples from sheep that were diagnosed as being positive for scrapie, from 1998 to the present time, for the possible presence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). This is nearly 3,000 samples and all have been negative for BSE.

Recently, in light of the testing performed by the VLA, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee's Sheep Subgroup discussed the current likelihood of BSE being present in the national sheep flock. They concluded that:

A draft of the Subgroup's statement is available at:

The statement was discussed at a recent meeting of the main Committee on 7 December 2006 and, although they recommended some minor changes to the text, the main conclusions in the report were ratified by the Committee.