PARIS (B)--European Union Food Safety Commissioner David Byrne said Nov. 9 that he supported a full French ban on meat and bone meal (MBM) in animal feed. Testifying to parliamentarians in the French National Assembly on the issue, Byrne also said that "slow rise" of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was linked to France's initiative to start testing bovines in June.

Byrne's stated support of the MBM ban are significant because France has been complaining that the EU has not done enough to add its weight to the debate.

Byrne was peppered with questions on the subject during his testimony.

Fear of mad cow disease has reached epidemic proportions in France recently, with the government tests revealing there are far more cases than originally thought.

As a wave of schools across the country have banned French beef from menus, Health Minister Dominique Gillot warned Nov. 7 that a surge in BSE cases may mean that dozens of cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) disease, the human form of BSE, will arise in France.

An advisor on mad cow disease at the French Ministry of Health said Nov. 7 that the French Food Safety Agency () should have recommended banning the meat and bone meal (MBM) in animal feed in June.

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