Originally created 03/03/00

Mad cow disease forces slaughterhouse to fire 110 workers

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Danish Crown, Denmark's largest slaughterhouse, said Thursday it has fired 110 employees because of the drop in demand for its meat following a mad cow disease scare.

One Danish-born cow was destroyed in late January because it had the disease, authorities said Monday. They protectively recalled some meat products. Neighboring Norway, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have barred imports of Danish meat, and some Swedish supermarket chains voluntarily pulled the meat from their shelves.

As a result, Danish Crown was forced to fire 110 employees, the slaughterhouse said. Two hundred others have volunteered to take time off until production returns to normal, spokeswoman Gudrun Andreasen said.

On Thursday, a Swedish supermarket chain, which accounts for 20 percent of the country's annual 9,000 tons of Danish meat imports, resumed sales after being assured by Swedish authorities that it carried no risks for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

Mad cow disease caused a panic in Europe in the late 1980 and early 1990s after British cattle contracted the disease, which was linked to a devastating human brain ailment.

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