Spinal cord is included in the list of specified risk material (SRM) which is thought to be at greatest risk of carrying BSE infectivity. Under EU rules it must be removed when the animal is slaughtered.
The discovery was made on Wednesday during a routine inspection by a DARD meat inspector at Dungannon Meats (Larne), where a small piece of spinal cord was found in one forequarter of a consignment of 220 beef quarters from Kildare Chilling, Republic of Ireland.
The Agency has also been advised that DARD has launched a formal investigation into the incident.
The Chief Veterinary Officer for the ROI has been informed of the incident.