Atypical BSE confirmed in Cornwall
Atypical BSE is non-contagious, and occurs naturally and infrequently.
Great Britain’s risk status for BSE remains at ‘controlled’.

Defra has confirmed that a cow has tested positive for atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on a farm in Cornwall. The animal was routinely tested as part of the BSE fallen stock survey, and has since been removed from the farm for disposal.

Atypical BSE is non-contagious, and occurs naturally and infrequently. It is different from classical BSE which is linked to the consumption of prion contaminated feed.

Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer said: “The animal, which was not intended for the human food chain, died on the farm and was tested as part of the strict routine control and surveillance regime.

“This is proof that our surveillance system for detecting  and containing  this type of  disease is working.”

Earlier this year there was a confirmed case of BSE in a nine-year-old cow in South Holland. The last case of BSE in the UK was in 2021 on a farm in Somerset.

Dr Darren A Cutts, head of meat hygiene policy at the Food Standards Agency said: “There is no food safety risk. There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity.

“Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place and that Food Standards Agency Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors working in all abattoirs in England will continue to ensure that in respect of BSE controls, the safety of consumers remains the top priority.”

The World Organisation for Animal Health and trading partners have been informed of the case, and the UK’s ability to export beef has not been affected.

Great Britain’s risk status for BSE will remain at ‘controlled’.