Suspected BSE cow on the block

Meat from a cow suspected of having contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy, linked with a mind-wasting disease that has killed dozens of people, has been sold for consumption in a northern Greek butcher’s shop a report said on Saturday. Statements by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Evros prefecture quoted by the Athens News Agency said the 11-year-old Czech-born animal may have had BSE, the bovine variant of the fatal Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease. The cow was slaughtered on February 25 at an abattoir in Ferres, Thrace, and, despite having been designated as suspect following standard laboratory tests, was sold in a local butcher’s between March 6 and 8. The brain, spine and other high-risk parts of the carcass had been removed and destroyed. Tests at Thessaloniki University laboratories found the animal had died of a form of encephalitis. Samples were sent for further testing in London, and the results are expected tomorrow. Three Evros veterinary officials have been suspended. Greece’s only BSE case was discovered on July 1, 2001, again in northern Greece.

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