During routine inspections in August 2011 by staff in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland (DARD), breaches of BSE controls were discovered in three separate consignments of beef sides received at Omagh Meats, an approved slaughterhouse and cutting plant in Northern Ireland.
On 17 August 2011, a consignment of 76 beef sides was received from West Devon Meat Ltd, an approved slaughterhouse near Okehampton. The documentation accompanying this consignment did not separately identify sides originating from animals aged over 30 months (OTM) and animals under 30 months of age (UTM).
On 23 August 2011, two other consignments of beef sides were received from West Scottish Lamb, an approved slaughterhouse in Carlisle.
The first of these consignments contained 108 sides, 52 originating from OTM animals and 56 from UTM animals. Six of the OTM sides were labelled incorrectly as being from UTM cattle.
The second consignment consisted of 118 sides. Sixteen of the sides listed in the documentation as being from OTM animals were found to be labelled incorrectly as UTM. In addition, two OTM sides were listed incorrectly as UTM on the accompanying documentation.
The vertebral column of OTM cattle is SRM. The European Union transmissible spongiform encephalopathy controls require that UTM and OTM carcasses are identified separately on consignment documentation and are also labelled differently. Although the sides in these consignments were identified correctly by DARD inspectors and Omagh Meats, in accordance with normal practice at Omagh Meats, all the sides were treated as originating from OTM cattle and the vertebral column was removed and treated as SRM.
The receiving business, Omagh Meats, was not responsible for the breaches.