Spinal cord has been found today in a consignment of imported beef from Spain.

Spinal cord is included in the list of specified risk material (SRM) which is thought to be at greatest risk of carrying BSE infectivity. Under EU rules, it must be removed when the animal is slaughtered.

The discovery today was made at a cutting plant in Dundee, where spinal cord was discovered in two forequarters of imported beef (total weight 147.8kg). It was part of a consignment weighing over 21,000kg from the Spanish plant Giresa Palencia. The Spanish authorities have been alerted.

The seizure follows earlier findings of spinal cord in German and Dutch beef. The Food Standards Agency has provided details of the abattoirs which have breached the BSE controls to the Meat Hygiene Service and all local authorities.

The Meat Hygiene Service is continuing to monitor imports and will increase staffing levels where necessary.

For further information contact John Booth on 01224 285120. Out of hours contact: 07699 782183.