Under European law, SRM must be removed immediately after slaughter, stained and disposed of safely.
Tests were ordered on March 29 2002 after Meat Hygiene Service inspectors found a small piece of material, thought to be spinal cord, at Eastbourne-based meat cutting plant ADM in a beef quarter imported from a German slaughterhouse.
Two sets of tests were carried out at independent laboratories - one commissioned by the German authorities and one by the UK authorities. Both confirmed the presence of SRM. The receiving company was not responsible for the problem. The affected carcase was destroyed and the German authorities have taken appropriate action in their plant.
Since January 1 2001, all cattle aged over 30 months slaughtered for human consumption have been required to be tested. From January 1 2002 this testing requirement has been extended in the UK to 'at risk' cattle aged over 24 months slaughtered for human consumption.