- 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
- "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.