The Food Standards Agency is investigating two consignments of beef in Northern Ireland and Eastbourne in unrelated breaches of BSE controls.

Agency officials in Northern Ireland are today examining part of a consignment of fore and hind quarters of beef from the Republic of Ireland, which appears to contain spinal cord or residual spinal cord.

In Eastbourne, imported German beef was found to contain one hindquarter with spinal cord marked as fit for human consumption. The breach came to light yesterday (1st February) in one of 217 hindquarters imported into the UK through Dover. The consignment was exported from Germany by Fleisch-Versand Heinz Gausepohl from Bakum. Accompanying documentation stated that the beef was from animals under 30 months old.

The discovery was made at a meat cutting plant in Eastbourne, Sussex – the same plant which, on Monday this week, received a German hindquarter containing two inches of spinal cord. These two consignments were from different sources in Germany.

The Agency instituted 100% inspection of all imported German beef carcasses at licenced plants on Monday (29th January).


  1. The decision to inspect all imported German beef carcasses is a temporary, risk-based measure which applies only to German imports.
  2. UK imports of bovine carcass meat from Germany between September 1999 and August 2000 totalled 1,337 tonnes (excluding offal).
  3. The UK’s domestic Over Thirty Month rule, introduced in 1996, applies to imported beef as well as home-produced beef. It means that meat from cattle over the age of 30 months is prohibited from entering the human food chain (with the exception of cattle registered under the Beef Assurance Scheme, and meat imports from 14 countries which are either BSE-free or at very low risk of BSE.





17th January 2001

Newry, County Down

Landkreis Gustrow, Germany

17th January 2001

Newry, County Down

Lubbecke, Germany

29th January 2001

Eastbourne, Sussex

Oldenburg, Germany

1st February 2001

Eastbourne, Sussex

Bakum, Germany

2nd February 2001

Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland