Research into atypical scrapie, a brain disease recently identified in sheep, is one of those ‘slow-burn’ scientific issues. Studies are being done across Europe, including some the Agency is funding (DEFRA’s doing some too). It could take several years before firm conclusions are reached. In the meantime there’s an understandable desire for consumer advice and information, so we need to be up-front about what we know and what we don’t know about this particular TSE.
We acted promptly a year ago by publishing what we knew then. Recently, our Board asked us to revisit the issue, so we spent the summer and early autumn reconsidering this advice and getting all-important feedback from interested parties. These included farmers, consumer organisations, the meat industry, and national newspaper journalists. It went live yesterday. We found it a useful exercise, one we’ll maybe repeat next time our advice on another hot topic is due to be revisited. Check it out and post any comments you have on the blog.