BONN — German officials agreed Saturday on emergency measures to fight "mad cow" disease, including an immediate ban on the use of meat and bone meal in all animal feed.
The quick agreement came after two German-born cows tested positive last week for the disease.
The feed ban, promised Friday by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, was confirmed by a meeting of state and federal agriculture officials. An emergency federal ordinance will likely take effect Wednesday, and spot checks for the disease in German herds also will be stepped up, Deputy Agriculture Minister Martin Wille said.
Contaminated meat and bone meal in animal feed is suspected as the source of the disease in cattle. Some scientists believe that humans can contract a similar fatal brain-wasting disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, by eating infected beef.
German testing had previously detected the cattle disease--bovine spongiform encephalopathy--only in animals imported from Britain and Switzerland. Officials had long insisted that German beef was safe even as the disease, known as BSE, spread in neighboring countries.
Wilhelm Niemeyer, the vice president of the main German farmers' lobby, said Saturday that stockpiles of ground animal meal would still have to be used up.