Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Press Release (2001/0134), 8 August 2001

BSE - Spinal Cord Found in Imported Beef

Spinal cord has been found in beef imported from The Netherlands 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 (Tuesday 7th August) in one out of 200 quarters of beef being unloaded at ADM, Eastbourne. The receiving company was not responsible for the problem. The beef came from Domburg Vlees bv, Bodegraven, The Netherlands.

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 rest of the consignment was checked by the MHS and found to be in full compliance with the legislation. The Chief Veterinary Officer of The Netherlands and the European Commission have been notified of this breach

The name of the Dutch 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 Netherlands there were only two positive tests out of 120,873 animals tested between January and the end of May this year.

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