British officials advised the public in mid June to avoid mutton, goat and some sausages due to an animal brain disease affecting sheep that may pose a risk to humans. The Times of London reports the disease is similar to classic scrapie, a brain-wasting disease in sheep that hasn't raised concerns for humans until now.

The nation's Food Standard Agency (FSA) says, as it can't rule out the risk of the atypical scrapie on human health, it's updating guidance to shoppers. It also plans to ask the European Commission to immediately introduce new labeling rules to identify products containing mutton.

No beefs with “natural” gains

Sales in $ % change in $ vs. year ago Equivalized unit volume EUV %-change vs. year ago Active UPCs1 New UPCs1
Total fresh beef $654,871,965 8.9% 144,726,183 6.2% 351 65
Branded beef $355,217,606 8.3% 77,078,780 6.1% 285 55
-without natural claim on label $285,391,795 1.3% 62,490,070 0.1% 246 44
-with natural claim on label $69,825,811 50.8% 14,588,710 43.4% 39 11
Private-label beef $299,654,359 9.7% 67,647,403 6.4% 66 10
1Universal Product Code, Source: ACNielsen LabelTrends, Total U.S. food, drug, mass merchandiser stores (excluding Wal-Mart). 52 weeks ending March 25, 2006. Pre-packaged, UPC-coded products only.