Keywords: France, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, prion disease, risk management, feed ban, zoonotic, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vCJD, variant CJD, mad cow disease, food safety
Risk management for bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in France: policy analysis and lessons learned
The experience of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) risk assessment and management in France was somewhat unique among BSE affected countries. Due to its proximity to the UK, the French meat and bone meal industry was challenged with particularly high amounts of infectivity from imported contaminated feed and infected cattle. Although France apparently had an adequate BSE control system before the epidemic, the lack of scientific knowledge about BSE transmission resulted in an underestimation of the economic and public health consequences of the disease. Consequently, preventive measures were often delayed and ineffectively implemented. As awareness of the impacts grew, more rigorous and effective measures eventually brought BSE under control. France has reported the largest number of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases outside of the UK. However, measures have been implemented to control this disease in humans.