Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Press Release (02/01), 16 January 2001

BSE - Food Standards Agency Takes Precautionary Action on Meat

The Food Standards Agency has taken precautionary measures to prevent carcass meat from an animal whose mother was found to have BSE from reaching the human food chain.

The 25 month old animal from England was slaughtered at an abattoir in Scotland last Monday (8 January). Due to the co-operation of the company and the traceability arrangements in place within the industry, almost all of the meat was detained and will be destroyed by the Agency. However, the animal's kidneys may have already passed into the human food chain.

The Agency's advice to consumers is that the risk from anything that may have passed into the human food chain from the offspring of a BSE cow is extremely low. Very stringent measures are taken to ensure that only animals under 30 months old are consumed in the UK and that the Specified Risk Material is removed at the abattoir. In this case, the animal was slaughtered in line with these rules.

As an additional precaution, meat which can be readily identified as being from an animal born to a BSE-affected cow is removed from the food chain.

Dr George Paterson, Director of the Food Standards Agency in Scotland, said today:
"The actions we have taken with the full co-operation with the abattoir owners are purely precautionary. The carcass was processed according to the BSE controls which involve the removal of Specified Risk Material - those parts most likely to contain BSE infectivity. We know from its certificated date of birth that the animal was under 30 months of age and therefore conformed to the Over Thirty Month Rule which prohibits the passage into the human food chain of meat from animals over that age. For these reasons the increase in risk to human health is minimal. We are investigating with the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food the delay in diagnosing the animal's mother as BSE-affected and tracing the offspring".

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