FSA notified of two breaches of BSE testing regulations

Last updated:
14 January 2013
There have been two separate incidents in which cattle aged over 72 months entered the food chain without being tested for BSE. The incidents involved a total of three animals.

The risk to human health is very low as it is very unlikely that any of the cattle would have been infected. The specified risk material (SRM), parts of the cattle most likely to carry BSE infection, had been removed in each case.

On 20 August 2012, two cattle over 72 months of age were slaughtered at S J Norman and Sons abattoir in Bridport and were not tested for BSE before leaving the premises. One animal was 332 days over the 72 month age limit; the other by 1,383 days. The error was discovered on 22 October during routine cross-checks of slaughter and BSE data.

It is mandatory for all cattle slaughtered for human consumption and aged over 72 months to have a negative BSE test result. According to regulations any cattle that has not been tested, along with the animal slaughtered immediately before it and the two immediately after, should not enter the food supply.

In total, seven carcasses had to be traced in this instance, because of the sequence of the two kills. Meat from these animals was mixed up with other consignments. Most of the meat had been processed or sold on to the end consumer and was no longer in the food supply chain. Of the remaining meat, 1,720 kg was traced to a cold storage facility in Essex. It was disposed of and did not enter the food supply. A further 233 kg had been exported to Malta and the Maltese authorities were informed.

Separately, on 2 March 2012 a bovine that was 89 months and 27 days of age was slaughtered at High Peak Meat Exports abattoir in Nantwich. Again it was not tested before leaving the premises. The error was discovered during routine data checks on 25 May.

The investigation found that only three animals were slaughtered on 2 March. The carcasses, along with six others slaughtered later that month, were dispatched to the Netherlands on 6 March. The Dutch authorities were notified of the breach. No edible meat or offal from the animals slaughtered on 2 March was sold as food in the UK.