BSE precaution improved The Food Standards Agency has recommended to the European Commission that sheep intestine should be banned from food use on a Europe-wide basis as a precautionary measure against the theoretical risk of BSE in sheep. The proposed ban could reduce potential infectivity entering the food chain by up to two-thirds if BSE were to be found in sheep. Current precautionary measures are estimated to reduce risk by one-third. The measure is subject to EU-wide agreement. Until such a decision is taken, it remains legal to buy and sell natural lamb sausage casings. There is a theoretical risk of BSE in sheep because: sheep ate the same feed that gave cattle BSE; it has been shown that sheep can be artificially infected with BSE; and it is possible that BSE is hidden by scrapie in sheep and passed between flocks or from a mother to her lambs, said the agency. Although BSE has never been found in the UK sheep flock, only a small number of scrapie affected sheep ­ some 200 ­ have been tested with the most effective test available. FSA chairman Sir John Krebs said: "We are not advising against the consumption of sheepmeat. Until, and unless there is European agreement, buying and selling sausage casings made from sheep intestine remains legal. "However, consumers have a right to know that, if BSE were present in sheep, their risk could be significantly reduced by avoiding sausages made with natural lamb casings and avoiding mutton." {{MEAT }}