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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Volume 167: debated on Wednesday 14 February 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food over what period he expects to have results from his recently announced research programme on bovine spongiform encephalopathy; whether he intends to publish it; whether the research covers milk as well as meat; and whether animals other than cattle, pigs and chickens will be tested.

The results of the research programme on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) initiated by the Department in 1987, will become available at intervals over the next 10 years. We shall follow our general policy of publishing the results of the research that we fund. Already since 1987, major papers have been published announcing the discovery, the transmission of the agent, the structure of the protein associated with infectivity and the results of epidemiological studies.The Department will be funding research into the infectivity of a wide range of organs, tissues and secretions, including milk, from BSE-affected cattle.Experiments are in progress or planned to determine the transmissibility of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to a range of host species including goats, hamsters, marmosets, mice, mink and sheep, in addition to cattle, chickens and pigs.