[IWAR] IRELAND 'Mad cow' test

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Sun Dec 07 1997 - 10:02:06 PST

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                     Irish firm announces mad cow test breakthrough
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 Agence France-Presse
       DUBLIN (December 6, 1997 7:29 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - An Irish
       firm has developed a new testing method which could reduce from two
       weeks to two hours the time it takes to determine if cattle carcasses
       are contaminated with BSE, the firm announced Saturday.
       Michael O'Connor, a vet and technical director of Enfer Scientific, said
       field trials of the new testing procedures were complete and they were
       now in a position to test 14,000 cattle a day for BSE (bovine spongiform
       encephalopathy), otherwise known as "madcow disease."
       He said the test, which would cost about $33 per carcass, takes two
       hours instead of the normal two weeks. It would add about 10 cents to
       the retail price of meat.
       Samples from the slaughtered animals in all 29 meat factories in Ireland
       could be delivered to Enfer and tested within a maximum of 6 to 7 hours.
       The results would be faxed back, allowing infected animals to be removed
       before they went through the 15 hour chilling cycle in the plants and
       entered the food chain.
       The new test would mean meat could be sold as guaranteed BSE-free, for
       the first time.
       O'Connor told Irish RTE TV that the development could mean the end of
       the BSE problem. He said he had not announced the completion of the
       company's trials until now as he wanted to be sure they were completely
       "I didn't want any false promises. If the Agriculture Minister drops the
       flag on Monday morning, we could start by Thursday," he said.
       He said that if the testing system was implemented, Irish cattle would
       have "the highest status in the EU. They would be prime stock."
       He said they tested for the prion infective agent and a 10 digit bar
       code system had been developed to keep check on each carcass tested. "We
       will know what day it was killed, what factory is was in and what
       carcass number it was. End of story."
       Special safety procedures have been developed and instruments designed
       to extract samples from the animals central nervous tissue and the
       Enfer is a seven year old high-tech company which specialises in a
       variety of animal testing.
       It employs over 30 and has laboratories in Dublin and Cashel. A third
       laboratory was set up for the BSE test field trials.
       It is a private company set up by O'Connor, a vet, and Louis Ronan, a
       meat factory owner.
       Enfer has tested over 300,000 cattle carcasses for the presence of
       "Angel Dust" - the illegal growth promoter Clembuterol - over the past
       three years and the new BSE test was an adaptation of the technology
       they had been using.
       When the test was first developed earlier this year, the Irish
       agriculture minister welcomed it as a "significant breakthrough."

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