The failure, discovered at a cutting plant in Bristol, was detected during a check by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) on a load of split ewe carcasses that had been processed at a slaughterhouse in Taunton. It consisted of a 6cm piece of spinal cord found in a carcase that had previously been inspected and stamped as free from Specified Risk Material (SRM) by an MHS Meat Hygiene Inspector.
The Meat Hygiene Inspector concerned has been transferred to other duties at another plant, pending the outcome of an investigation by the MHS into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The SRM has subsequently been removed from the food chain. There is therefore no risk to public health.
Spinal cord is classified as Specified Risk Material (SRM) in cattle and sheep - material most likely to harbour BSE infectivity. By Law, it must be removed at slaughter and disposed of in a controlled way.