Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Press Release (2001/0132), 3 August 2001

BSE - Spinal Cord Detected in Imported Beef

Spinal cord has been found in beef imported from the Republic of Ireland into the UK. Bovine spinal cord is classified as specified risk material (SRM) and is therefore among those parts of the animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity. Under European law, SRM must be removed immediately after slaughter, stained, and disposed of safely.

The discovery was made yesterday (Thursday 2nd August) in one out of 240 forequarters of beef being unloaded at ADM, Eastbourne. The receiving company was not responsible for the problem. The beef came from Fair Oak Foods Clonmel Ltd., Upper Irishtown, Clonmel, County Tipperary.

The beef quarter involved has been detained under the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations, pending its disposal which will be supervised by the Meat Hygiene Service. The Chief Veterinary Officer of the Republic of Ireland; the Agriculture Counsellor at the Irish Embassy in London, and the European Commission have been notified.

The name of the Irish abattoir concerned will be added to the list of European abattoirs from which beef containing spinal cord has been imported into the UK.

While SRM is among those parts of the animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity, the results so far of BSE tests conducted on healthy cattle across the EU have been described as encouraging, tending to indicate that there is no massive, hidden BSE epidemic in Europe. In the Republic of Ireland there were only two positive tests out of 84,458 animals tested between January and the end of May this year.

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