European veterinary experts are recommending that an emergency scheme should be set up to deal with the eventuality of an outbreak of BSE in sheep. They say however that at the moment there is no evidence of the presence of the disease in European sheep flocks and that there is no human health risk from eating lamb or mutton. The EU's Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) has however published what it calls a 'pre-emptive assessment' of the risk to human health if BSE were to be found in sheep under domestic conditions. The scientists state there currently is no evidence to confirm that BSE is present in sheep and goats, but add that the knowledge in this area is very limited and that the adequate testing methods and monitoring to confirm a diagnosis are not available. The SSC report says that it is therefore "necessary to start collecting the information required for assessing the likely prevalence of SE in sheep". BSE has up to date not been found in sheep under field conditions. Laboratory experiments have however demonstrated that BSE can be transmitted to certain types of sheep and goats. In addition, it is likely that some specific groups of sheep and goats may have been fed meat-and-bone meal that was possibly BSE-contaminated, in particular before the EU-wide ruminant MBM feed ban of 1994 was effectively implemented by national authorities. The SSC restates its 1998 opinion that it has to be assumed that BSE could have been introduced into parts of the EU sheep and goat population. {{M/E MEAT }}