Feed contamination investigation completed
Published:  30 May, 2008

Animal Health (AH) has completed its investigation into a consignment of wheat feed which revealed low-level contamination with material of animal origin.

The contamination was first detected during routine official sampling and an extensive tracing exercise was carried out to establish its distribution. Temporary movement restrictions were imposed on cattle and sheep on the farms that had received the material, or products containing it.

The feed containing the contaminated material was detained and will not be allowed back into the food for farmed stock.

AH carried out extensive investigations to determine the origin of the animal protein. A total of 815 feed samples were collected and tested, of which 13 proved positive for low level contamination, but AH established that the material was very low risk.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also carried out tests, which eliminated any possibility of other types of contamination.

Following the investigation, the FSA advised that the meat from animals which may have eaten the feed would pose a minimum risk to public health, provided the statutory specified risk material (SRM) controls are fully adhered to when the animals are slaughtered. The Agency concluded that there was therefore no need to exclude the animals placed under restriction from the food chain.

In light of the test results, FSA advice and the AH veterinary risk assessment, the movement restriction on the restricted cattle and sheep have now been lifted.

Investigations by the local authority in liaison with Animal Health into potential offences under feed legislation associated with the original sale and supply are ongoing.

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