BSE results expected next week

The results of specialized laboratory tests in Britain on tissue samples from a cow suspected of having contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) before being slaughtered and its meat sold for consumption in northern Greece will not be available for at least a week, officials said yesterday. The 11-year-old, Czech-born animal was slaughtered on February 25 at an abattoir in Ferres, Thrace, and, despite having been designated as suspect following standard 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. Yesterday, Evros Deputy Prefect Michalis Koyiomtzis said officials from Britain’s central Veterinary Laboratory at Weybridge, Surrey, had told him that new tests would have to be carried out on the sample, and the results would be available early next week. Initial tests at Thessaloniki University found the cow had a form of encephalitis. BSE is linked with the mind-wasting Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease that has killed dozens of people in Europe. Greece’s only BSE case was discovered two years ago.