FSA Press Release, 6 July 2006
The Agency has been informed that meat from a cow that was in the same herd as an animal with BSE, and which in its first year may have eaten the same food, has entered the food chain.
The Agency has been informed by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that meat from such a cow (described as a possible cohort animal) has reached the human food chain.
A cohort animal is one that is part of the same herd as an animal infected with BSE, that during its first year of life may have eaten the same feed as the infected animal.
Any possible risk to public health is minimal, as not only was this animal not a confirmed cohort but also the removal of Specified Risk Material (SRM) means that over 99% of any material potentially infected with BSE would have been removed before entering the food chain.
DEFRA was unable to confirm the animal as a cohort due to poor record keeping by the farmer and uncertainty over the animal’s date of birth.
EU rules require cohort animals to be culled. Although the likelihood that a cohort animal will be infected with BSE is low, the rule is in place to provide further protection to consumers in addition to the removal of SRM from carcasses.