Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA Press Release (2002/0270), 6 November 2002

BSE - Spinal cord found in German beef

Spinal cord has been found in two separate consignments of beef imported into the UK from Germany. 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.

Both discoveries were made during an inspection by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) on 28 October. The first case involved one hindquarter carcass out of a consignment of 165 beef hindquarters. The second similarly involved one hindquater carcass out of a consignment of 160. Both consignments were unloaded at ADM (UK) Ltd in Eastbourne. The receiving company was not responsible for the problem.

In the first case we understand the animal was slaughtered in Sudfleisch GmbH, Waldkraiburg, Bavaria on 15 January 2001. The meat had been held in an intervention cold store in Germany since then. In the second case the animal was slaughtered in Stadt. Schlachthof Munich, also in Bavaria on 19 January 2001, and held in another German intervention cold store.

These SRM breaches are the fifteenth and sixteenth cases involving imported German beef, and are also the seventh and eighth cases (seven of them German) of SRM being found in imported intervention beef in the last three months.

The Food Standards Agency took up the issue of SRM in ex-intervention beef with the European Commission last month. As a result the Commission has instructed all EU Member States selling intervention beef to ensure that all spinal cord is removed before release.

The two beef hindquarters involved in these latest cases have been detained under the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations for disposal under the supervision of the MHS. The rest of the two consignments were checked by the MHS and found to be in full compliance with the relevant legislation. The Chief Veterinary Officer of Germany and the European Commission have been notified of this breach.

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