Sheep Intestines Possibly Banned To Prevent vCJD

LONDON - British officials have recommended that the European Commission prevent sheep intestines from being used in food to prevent a theoretical risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

BSE is believed to invariably cause the mind-wasting neurological disorder variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Although BSE has never been found in sheep, researchers believe the disease may be hidden by scrapie and can be passed between flocks.

The ban, which would affect some 15 percent of sausages sold in the United Kingdom, would prevent sheep intestine from being used as casing. This would reportedly prevent the infectivity of BSE by two thirds if it were found in sheep.

Although the risk is only theoretical to date, the precautionary ban is being considered.

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