Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA News Item, 23 September 2002

BSE - Over thirty month Irish beef detained

Eight quarters of Irish beef, from two carcasses found to be aged over thirty months at the time of slaughter, have been detained on entry into the UK by the Meat Hygiene Service.

The quarters were part of a consignment of 200 beef quarter-carcasses, from 50 animals, imported from the Republic of Ireland on Thursday 19 September by TH Sutcliffe, Newport, Gwent. Under UK law it is illegal to sell, or offer for sale, over thirty month beef for human consumption.

The over thirty month (OTM) rule is one of the key controls introduced to reduce the risk of people eating beef and meat products that might have been infected with BSE.

Since 1996, with very limited exceptions, cattle older than 30 months have been banned for sale as food for humans.

While it is legal to trade over thirty month beef between EU Member States, it must come from animals that have been tested for BSE.

The eight quarters were detained under the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) regulations because, although the birth dates of the two carcasses showed they were over the age of thirty months by 27 days and two days respectively:
there was no evidence that BSE testing had taken place; and
the documentation was inaccurate. The veterinary certificate stated wrongly that all the meat was from under thirty month animals.

The meat can now only be used for pet food, or surrendered for voluntary destruction.

The Chief Veterinary Officer of Ireland has been notified.

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