Cow aged over 72 months enters food supply without being tested for BSE

The Agency has been notified that meat has entered the food supply from a cow aged over 72 months that had not been tested for BSE. A negative BSE test result is mandatory for cattle slaughtered for human consumption at over 72 months of age.

It is very unlikely that the cow was infected with BSE and, as specified risk material (SRM) was removed, any risk to human health is extremely low. SRM is the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity.

The cow, aged 158 months and 22 days, was slaughtered at Rhinds of Elgin Ltd abattoir in Moray, Scotland, on 10 January 2012. The error was discovered on 28 February in the course of routine cross-checks of slaughter and BSE test data.

According to BSE regulations, the untested cow, plus the one slaughtered before and the two, after should not have entered the food supply. However, by the time the failure was discovered, the associated carcasses had left the premises.

Some frozen offal and meat product directly linked to these carcasses has since been destroyed. However, checks found that most the meat from these carcasses is likely to have been eaten.