Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been discovered in the carcase of cow in the Netherlands, the country’s first case since 2011. The positive case was uncovered on Monday.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, the country’s Minister for Agriculture Piet Adema said restrictions are in place on the impacted farm and investigations by food safety officials are ongoing.

While noting that BSE is a zoonosis that can cause brain disease in humans, Minister Adema confirmed that the infected cow did not enter the food chain and said that, therefore, the case is not a risk to food security.

“This positively sampled bovine did not enter the food chain and therefore does not pose a direct risk to public health,” he told political colleagues.

Disease type

The Dutch farm minister has not yet confirmed if the BSE case is atypical (spontaneous) or classical, caused by the ingestion of contaminated feed.

“There are two variants of this disease, each involving different scenarios in terms of cause and effect.

“As soon as the result is known about which variant it concerns, we will inform you immediately,” Minister Adema said.


Ireland last had a case of BSE, atypical, in May 2020.

The case caused the suspension of Irish beef exports to China after it triggered China’s export protocol.

While the suspension lasted over two and a half years, Ireland has now regained market access to the large beef market.