BSE Status Update

Date published: 20 June 2017

Area of Expertise:

On 25th May 2017 it was announced that Northern Ireland had been recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a region with Negligible Risk Status for BSE.

This is a significant achievement for Northern Ireland which has been many years in the making and opens up new opportunities for NI beef to access a wider range of global markets.

AFBI currently, and also in its former guise as DARD Science Service, has been involved from the outset of the disease epidemic, since the late 1980s when a passive surveillance programme to detect infected cattle was first introduced.  In 2001 this testing was supplemented with active surveillance which has continued up until the present day.  AFBI staff have been involved in all aspects of the testing programmes, including several years working night shifts, as well as providing valuable assistance and scientific advice to DAERA and industry.

In all, over 1.2 million cattle samples have been tested during the 30 years the laboratory has been involved with tackling this disease.  The work undertaken by AFBI has been a central to Northern Ireland achieving BSE negligible risk status and all of the staff involved with the programme, past and present, should take great pride in the work they have undertaken.

Notes to editors: 

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies. 

AFBI's Vision is “Scientific excellence in Northern Ireland …  serving the world”.

All media enquiries to AFBI Press Office.

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