Papers in Germany for the last few days have had only one big story

(see below).

Interestingly the ministry tried to keep a very low profile for the following reason :

  • The national cattle database was in the first place introduced to monitor cattle and their movements. Later someone had the idea of including the test results to have a basis for the co-funding applications for Brussels. The database was never set up for that purpose so there are many flaws.

    Most of the cases have been traced back to the non compliance of Government test labs. Entering all the 10 digit cow numbers manually is hard work for bureaucrats so it looks as though there is a backlog of data.
    Some have just mixed up eartag numbers so test results have been allocated to the wrong animal.

    Possibly at least 100 animals have not been tested because of illegal slaughter.

    Taking into account the tests that have been done during 2003, this is a sick joke.

    But at least the farmgate prices for beef will NOT go up this month. Maybe this is what the politicians wanted to achieve ?

    I wonder who will be made the scapegoat? BSE is always a very helpful means to distract the public from the real problems.

    Anyway, this time they can't blame the farmers.

    Best wishes
    S

    Munich’s Tageszeitung commented on reports of slipshod testing for BSE or "mad cow disease" in Germany.

    German authorities have said attempts to save money may have been the reason for lapses in mandatory testing of beef for the disease last year.

    A comparison of the number of slaughtered cattle and of tests for BSE showed meat from more than 500 animals may have reached consumers without first having been tested.

    The paper wrote that several conclusions can be drawn from the findings:

  • first, that there is no such thing as 100 percent safety;
  • secondly, the controls are at least effective in that they uncovered the lapses;
  • and third, there is no reason to panic, for in an overwhelming 99.95 percent of cases, tests were carried out properly, meaning that the risk of being run over by a car is in Germany 1,000 times higher than being infected by BSE.