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Mad cow disease: after 14 years, “pajata” returns to Italian tables

The typical and tradition Roman dish was banned by the European Commission to avoid the risk of Bse infection. Coldiretti: “An important result for caterers, butchers and animal farmers”.

Meat lovers can celebrate. After 14 years, “pajata” returns to Italian tables after health restrictions adopted at EU in July 2011 to cope with the mad cow disease emergency. The Standing Committee on plants, animals, food and feed of the European Union gave the go-ahead last night to the modification of Regulation 999/2001 concerning measures to control and prevent BSE.


“Pajata” is a typical dish in Italian cuisine and is the term used in Rome to describe the first part of the small intestine of suckling calf, which was replaced 14 years ago in restaurants, trattorias and butchers by lamb intestines to avoid any risk of mad cow disease. Since 2009, however, there have been no more cases of this disease among Italian livestock, thanks to a very strict system of safety controls and measures implemented by animal farmers and institutions.


Another important factor was the judgement of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) which, at the end of May 2013, adopted a resolution which stipulated a new health status in Italy for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, with the transition from “controlled” to “negligible” risk, the lowest of all. Thanks to this achievement, Italy ranks, together with Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United States, in the small circle of OIE members to have achieved this important result.


The new executive regulation will now be assessed in legal terms by the European Commission and thereafter at least another 30 days will pass for translation into EU languages and publication in the Official Journal. This measure, more specifically, modifies the list of organs at risk of Bse and allows the spine of animals, as well as all intestinal organs to be processed. Mad cow disease was first diagnosed among cattle in the United Kingdom in 1986 where, since then, there have been almost 20,000 cases, in contrast to 144 of Italy, where it disappeared in 2009.


The decision was greeted with satisfaction by Coldiretti. “This is an important result for consumers, restaurateurs, chefs, butchers and livestock farmers that besides its relevance in gastronomic terms also has economic effects thanks to the valorisation of Italian animal farming currently experiencing a difficult moment of crisis,” said the President of Coldiretti, Roberto Moncalvo, who praised “the vital efforts of the Ministry of Health”.

Source: Eurocarne Outlook

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