Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) Surveillance
New Zealand is free from the class of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, or TSEs. These diseases include bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, scrapie in sheep and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer. As a country with an economy reliant on its large livestock industry, New Zealand must protect its TSE-free status to facilitate trade.
MPI runs a comprehensive TSE detection and surveillance programme to prevent the entry and spread of TSE agents. This programme supports New Zealand’s claim that its animal products are free of BSE, scrapie and CWD, which is important to continue accessing international markets.
The surveillance programme is targeted at susceptible livestock: cattle, sheep, goats and deer showing signs of neurological disease. The brains of these animals are submitted by veterinarians to laboratories where they are screened for endemic diseases and TSEs. Currently, MPI is investigating the collection and testing of lymphoid tissues from sheep and goats as an alternative method. In addition, contingency plans have been developed for dealing with any suspect cases in livestock, to reduce the time to detection and intervention.
Important changes to the TSE Surveillance Programme
Payments are made to both vets and farmers for the submission of tissue for sampling.
Information on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
- Description of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies
- Is BSE transmitted via semen and embryos? The Evidence to date (18 KB)
- BSE in sheep
- Safe to Eat
- What would be the implications of a case of BSE for Dairy Exports?
Ruminant Feeding Regulations
New Zealand's Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Status
- Absence of Specified Animal Diseases from New Zealand
- New Zealand's case to the OIE to be recognised as a country free from BSE (411 KB)
- New Zealand's case to the European Union to be recognised as a country free from BSE (1300 KB)
- The European Unions assessment of New Zealand's BSE status (165 KB)
New Zealand received a category 1 rating for its BSE status. This rating represents the lowest possible likelihood of having BSE.
- MPI's official statement of freedom from BSE (PDF)
- MPI's official statement of freedom from Scrapie (PDF)
- MPI's official statement of freedom from chronic wasting disease (PDF)
The official statements are reviewed on a monthly basis to confirm they are still accurate, and are updated at that time. Should you need an original copy of this document please contact TSESurveillance@mpi.govt.nz
Page last updated: 1 December 2015