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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, Poland

Impact Worksheet, May 7, 2002

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Summary:

The first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Poland was confirmed on May 2, 2002. The affected nine-year old cow tested BSE positive at a slaughterhouse located in the village of Mochnaczka Wyzna, province of Little Poland (Malopolskie) near Poland’s southern border with Slovakia. Poland began routine testing for BSE of all slaughtered cattle over 24 months of age in October 2001. In January 2002, testing was changed to all slaughtered cattle over the age of 30 months.

In December 1997, APHIS prohibited the importation of live ruminants and most ruminant products from all of Europe including Poland. In December 2000, import restrictions regarding BSE were expanded to prohibit all imports of rendered animal protein products, regardless of species, from Europe. Between 1998 and 2001, the US imported non-species specific animal products used in animal feeds and non-species specific sausage and offal products. Given US restrictions on ruminant product imports, these US imports should not have contained ruminant material.

Poland’s stocks of cattle and sheep were less than 1 percent of world stocks in 2001. Poland is the world’s 5th largest exporter of live cattle exporting nearly 600,000 animals in 2000. Cattle exports go primarily to European countries although Israel imported significant numbers of Polish cattle in 2000 and 2001.

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How extensive is the outbreak of BSE in Poland?

The first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Poland was confirmed on May 2, 2002. The affected nine-year old cow tested BSE positive at a slaughterhouse located in the village of Mochnaczka Wyzna, province of Little Poland (Malopolskie), near Poland’s southern border with Slovakia. Poland began routine BSE testing of all slaughtered cattle over the age of 24 months in October 2001. In January 2002, testing was changed to all slaughtered cattle over the age of 30 months. The affected cow was the first positive test result in over 100,000 cattle tested. Police and veterinary services are investigating the source of the disease.

Sources: OIE; Promed (ABC news); USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Reports #PL1037 (October 11, 2001) and #PL2004 (February 1, 2002)

What actions has Poland taken to protect its livestock from BSE?

The Polish Veterinary Service banned imports of cattle from BSE countries in December 2000. A ban on imports of meat and bone meal was enacted in January 2001.

Source: USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report #PL1037, October 11, 2001

What is Poland’s production and trade in affected animals and animal products?

Poland's stocks of cattle and sheep were less than 1 percent of world stocks in 2001 (Table 1). Cattle imports totaled nearly 7,000 animals in 2000 while sheep imports were less than 200 head. Cattle imports were from European countries. Poland is the 5th largest exporter of live cattle in the world, exporting nearly 600,000 animals in 2000 (6 percent of world trade). Polish farmers produce young fattening cattle for export as a side enterprise of their dairy herds. Cattle exports were sent primarily to Italy (over 50 percent of the total), the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Slovenia. Israel received over 50,000 cattle from Poland in 2000. In addition to cattle, Poland exported over 200,000 sheep in 2000. The destination of these sheep exports was not available.

Table 1. Poland’s live animal stocks and exports and imports of live animals.

Live Animal

2001 Stocks

Trade

2000 Exports

2000 Imports

Head

% World

Head

% World

Head

% World

Cattle 5,723,000 <1% 593,046 6.2% 6,874 <1%
Sheep 1 337,000 <1% 212,214 1.3% 161 <1%

Poland’s production of beef/veal and mutton/lamb in 2001 was small on a worldwide scale representing less than 1 percent of total world production (Table 2). Beef production within Poland has been decreasing since 1998. Polish consumers have been reducing their beef consumption due to BSE fears and switching to poultry. Poland’s imports and exports of beef/veal and mutton/lamb were also small representing less than 1 percent of world imports and exports.

Table 2. Production and trade in relevant products by Poland .

Products

2001 Production

Trade

2000 Exports

2000 Imports

Metric Ton

% World

Metric Ton

% World

Metric Ton

% World

Beef and Veal 300,000 <1% 9,375 <1% 162 <1%
Mutton and Lamb 1 1,300 <1% 96 <1% 24 <1%

1 Sheep were included in Table 1 and Table 2 as ‘affected’ because USDA/APHIS includes all ruminants and ruminant products in its restrictions pertaining to BSE. Goat production and trade information was unavailable.

Source: United Nations FAO ; USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Reports #PL1022 (July 30, 2001) and #PL2004 (February 1, 2002)

What are the U.S. imports of affected animals or animal products from Poland?

The US imported no live ruminant animals or ruminant meat from Poland during 1998 to 2001. During the past four years (1998 - 2001), US imports from Poland included non-species specific animal products used in animal feeds and non-species specific sausage and offal products (Table 3). Given US restrictions on ruminant product imports, these US imports should not have contained ruminant material.

Mexico imported non-species specific preparations used in animal feed (HS code 23099099) from Poland during 1998 to 2001. Canada did not import any items of risk from Poland during 1998 to 2001.

Table 3. Relevant US imports from Poland in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001

HS Code

Description

Unit

1998

1999

2000

2001

Feed - non species specific

Total

6,684

0

0

0

0511993000

Products Used as Food, For Animals

KG

6,684

0

0

0

Meat & offal- non species specific

Total

92,945

27,274

44,102

78,332

0504000040

Gut/Bladder/Stomach of Animals For Sausage Casing, Not Hog or Fish

KG

0

0

420

280

1601006060

Sausage/Similar Prdct Meat Etc NESOI Food Prep Cnd

KG

81,413

25,872

0

0

1602204000

Animal Livers Except Goose, Prepared or Preserved

KG

11,532

1,402

43,682

78,052

Source: World Trade Atlas

Did the US have restrictions on ruminant imports from Poland prior to this case?

In December 1997, APHIS prohibited the importation of live ruminants and most ruminant products from all of Europe including Poland until a thorough assessment of the risks of introduction of BSE into the US could be made. Prior to December 1997, import restrictions were applied only to those countries which had reported cases of BSE in native animals. Also, importation of ruminant meat from BSE-affected countries was permitted if the meat was deboned and free of visually identifiable lymphatic and nervous tissue and if it met other restrictions. Import regulations enacted December 1997 extended the import restrictions to countries which had not had a declared BSE case, yet had risk factors for BSE occurrence.

These regulatory changes also removed provisions that allowed importation of ruminant meat from the restricted countries, and thereby prohibited importation of ruminant meat from all Europe. These import restrictions also applied to bone meal, blood meal, meat meal, offal, fat, glands, and serum from ruminants . In December 2000, APHIS expanded its import restrictions regarding BSE to prohibit all imports from Europe of rendered animal protein products, regardless of species.

Source: USDA, APHIS, VS

What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from Poland?

A total of 188,946 passengers arrived at US airports on direct flights from Poland in fiscal year 2000. An undetermined number of passengers arrived in the US from Poland via indirect flights.

Under APHIS-PPQ’s agricultural quarantine inspection monitoring, 451 air passengers from Poland were sampled for items of agricultural interest in fiscal year 2000. Thirteen (13) of these passengers, or 2.9 percent, carried a total of 26.2 kg of meat items that could potentially harbor the pathogen(s) that cause BSE. None of these passengers from whom meat items were confiscated reported plans to visit or work on a ranch or farm during their visit to the US.

Source: US Department of Transportation, and APHIS-PPQ Agricultural Quarantine Inspection data base

CEI’s plans for follow up:

CEI has no plans to provide additional information on this situation.

If you need more information or wish to comment, you may contact Judy Akkina at (970) 490-7852 or Carol Tuszynski at (970) 490-7893 .



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