During their general session in Paris last month, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared the country of France as having a negligible risk for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as “Mad Cow Disease.” This is the best possible sanitary status that can be attained for BSE, reserved for the countries that have demonstrated a perfect management of the disease and that have had no reported cases for a minimum of ten years (April, 2004 for France). Before this upgrade, France was classified under the already commendable category of “controlled risk status.”

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

BSE first appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, after which it quickly spread to numerous countries around the world due to the widespread use of contaminated animal feed. The management of this disease required the implementation of radical measures, including the prohibition of animal feeds, slaughter of affected herds, vigilance programs and the removal of risky materials and equipment.

The French Minister for Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, expressed his deep satisfaction with his country’s successful sanitary management and followed up with an appeal to certain remaining countries to lift the embargos still in place on French bovine exports.

During the general session of the OIE, France was also recognized as being officially free from classical swine fever, an extremely contagious disease affecting pigs whose last case in France dates back to 2002.