Non-BSE tested cattle slip through net

Food safety bosses have revealed two separate incidents in which three cattle over 72 months old entered the food chain without being tested for BSE.

The first incident happened in August 2012 at S J Norman & Sons abattoir in Bridport, where two cattle were slaughted and not tested before leaving the premises. The error was later discovered in October following routine cross-checking.

In a statement, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said: “Meat from these animals was mixed up with other consignments. Most of the meat had been processed or sold on to the end-consumer and was no longer in the food supply chain. Of the remaining meat, 1,720kg was traced to a cold storage facility in Essex. It was disposed of and did not enter the food supply. A further 233kg had been exported to Malta and the Maltese authorities were informed.”

The second incident took place at High Peak Meats Exports abattoir in Nantwich, in March 2012, with the error being uncovered at the end of May.

The FSA said: “The investigation found that only three animals were slaughtered on 2 March. The carcases, along with six others slaughtered later that month, were dispatched to the Netherlands on 6 March. The Dutch authorities were notified of the breach. No edible meat or offal from the animals slaughtered on 2 March was sold as food in the UK.”

The agency stressed the risk to human health was “very low”, and said it was considering its options in respect of the suppliers involved.


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