Untested bullock enters food chain

The Food Standards Agency has been notified that meat from a bullock has entered the food chain without the required BSE test.

The 26-months-old bullock had been slaughtered on farm following an injury.

European Union regulations say that all cattle aged over 24 months slaughtered outside of an authorised abattoir and intended for human consumption must be subject to BSE testing.

The carcase was sent to J A Jewitt (Meat) Ltd in Durham on 18 July 2007. The error was discovered on 26 July in the course of routine official checks. By then, the meat had been mixed with meat from other cattle and most had left the premises. Part of the relevant batch has been detained at the premises and some has been returned. This meat, the FSA said, will be disposed of.

The FSA added that checks indicated that the rest of the meat from affected batches had been sold as unpackaged fresh cuts over the counter, used by caterers or cooked in fresh baked meat pies. The FSA said: "Due to the age of the animal and the removal of all specified risk material, the risk to human health is negligible."

A full investigation into the circumstances of this incident is under way.

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