BSE-Infected Meat In UK
'Reached The Food Chain'


The meat from the offspring of a cow infected with BSE reached the human food chain, it has been revealed.
The Foods Standards Agency urged the public not to panic after it was informed of the matter by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The 29-month-old animal was slaughtered in an abattoir in Wales last November and put into the food chain and none of the meat is now left.
Despite the fears surrounding BSE, the risk to consumers is low, said an FSA spokesman.
Although the animal should never have entered the food chain as all calves of BSE-infected animals have to be culled, measures put in place to minimise the risk of BSE-infected meat entering the food chain were in operation when the animal was slaughtered, it said.
The parts of the animal most likely to contain BSE, such as the spinal column, were removed at the abattoir.
The FSA said the glitch occurred because a backlog had built up in the cull of the offspring of BSE-infected animals.
The FSA was advised by Defra, which operates the cattle passport scheme, that the passport of this animal had not been seized due to a backlog of visits to farms that had offspring of BSE cattle which built up during the foot-and-mouth crisis when visits to farms were restricted.
Debby Reynolds, FSA veterinary director, said: "This is a regrettable incident.
"We want to see the cull of offspring of BSE animals backlog cleared as a priority; the passports of these animals surrendered immediately; and effective measures to prevent the issue of a replacement passport.
"The risk to the public is low, but these steps need to be taken."
Measures to prevent BSE entering the human food chain include only accepting animals under 30 months for consumption in the UK.

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