The Office International des Épizooties (OIE) has intensified its calls for beef importing countries to refrain from over-reacting to BSE outbreaks.

Looking at the recent USA case where one animal was infected, the OIE said that it opposed the resulting blanket beef bans that sprang up around the world, saying only the trade in specified risk materials and animals should be blocked.

In a statement, it said that it had "become increasingly concerned about reports of international trade disruptions involving the misinterpretation of OIE standards."

It explained: "Fresh meat may be imported safely from a country of any BSE status but with increasing restrictions so that, for countries presenting a high BSE risk, more severe measures are applied to the cattle and to the meat itself."