Untested cow enters the food supply

The Agency has been notified that meat from a cow that did not have the required BSE test has entered the food supply. The 62 month old cow had been slaughtered on farm for welfare reasons.

A negative BSE test result is mandatory for cattle intended for human consumption if slaughtered outside an authorised abattoir at over 48 months of age.

The carcass was sent to Alec Jarrett Ltd abattoir in Oldland Common, Bristol, on 7 December 2011. The error was discovered on 20 February 2012 in the course of routine official checks of cattle deaths and BSE test data. However, by the time the failure was discovered, the carcass had left the premises. Subsequent checks indicate that all the meat from the carcass is no longer traceable and is likely to have been eaten.

It is 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 those parts of the animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity.