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Carcass Exported Without BSE Test

04 March 2009

UK - The Agency has been notified that the carcass of a cow aged 34 months and 16 days has been exported without having been tested for BSE. At the time the cow was slaughtered, BSE testing was mandatory for cattle slaughtered for welfare reasons at over 24 months of age.

The cow was slaughtered for welfare reasons on 31 December 2008 at Cheshire Equine Services (trading as D L Turner & Son Ltd), Red Lion Abattoir in Nantwich, Cheshire.

The error was discovered on 13 January 2009 during routine checks by Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) staff. The carcass was exported to the Netherlands with a batch of Over Thirty Month (OTM) carcass on 6 January. The authorities in the Netherlands have been informed. As the untested carcass was not identified in the documentation as OTM, the vertebral column may not have been removed as specified risk material (SRM), although all other SRM was removed at the abattoir and any risk to human health would be very low.

Background to BSE testing

Since the beginning of this year, the BSE testing age has been raised to 48 months. Over 48 month cattle are allowed to enter the food supply provided they have tested negative for BSE. If there is no test, all parts of the carcass must be condemned.

SRM is those parts of the animal that contain almost all BSE infectivity, if the animal is infected with BSE. SRM includes the vertebral column of cattle aged over 30 months.


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