Imported Cow Over 30 Months Not Tested For BSE

UK - The Food Standards Agency has been notified that meat has entered the food supply from an Over Thirty Month (OTM) cow imported from Switzerland that had not been tested for BSE.
calendar icon 17 February 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

It is very unlikely that the cow was infected with BSE and, as specified risk material (SRM) was removed, any risk to human health is extremely low. SRM is those parts of an animal likely to be infected if the animal has BSE.

Nevertheless, according to BSE regulations the untested cow, the one slaughtered before and the two slaughtered after must not enter the food supply. Negative BSE test results were received for the ‘one before’ and ‘two after’.

The cow had been imported into the UK in December 2009 and was slaughtered at William Taylor & Son Ltd’s abattoir in Bamber Bridge, near Preston, on 15 October 2010 at just over 41 months of age. BSE testing is mandatory for cattle born in Switzerland if slaughtered for human consumption at over 30 months of age.

The missing BSE test result was discovered on 17 November during routine cross checks of slaughter and BSE test data. By the time the failure was discovered, all of the associated carcases had left the premises.

The Agency has established that the carcase of the Swiss-born bovine was sold as fresh meat and is likely to have been eaten. It also traced the batch of carcases that included the ‘one before’ and ‘two after’. This showed that:

  • the majority of the meat was no longer in the food supply and is likely to have been eaten
  • a small portion of the batch was found in cold storage and has since been destroyed
  • a small portion of the batch was mixed with a large quantity of meat from other batches and used in Iceland’s own brand 1.4kg steak pies with ‘best before’ dates of 23.11.11 and 26.11.11. Although any food safety risk from consuming these pies would be extremely low, Iceland has taken the decision to withdraw the affected pies from sale
  • some had been exported to Ireland and the authorities there have been informed.

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