The failure, discovered at a cutting plant in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, was detected on Friday (6th July) during a check by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) on sheep carcases that had been processed at a slaughterhouse in Preston, Lancashire. The find consisted of two pieces of spinal cord, approximately 1 cm and 10 cms in length, in two carcases that had previously been inspected and stamped as free from Specified Risk Material (SRM) by an MHS Meat Technician.
The Meat Technician concerned has been transferred to other duties, 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 of animals aged over 12 months is among the sheep material classified as SRM on a precautionary basis, in case BSE has been transmitted to sheep. By law, it must be removed at slaughter and disposed of in a controlled way.