The UK’s Food Standards Agency has announced the appointment of an independent steering group to oversee an inquiry into recent failures to test some cattle for BSE. 

Earlier this month, the FSA announced an investigation into an apparent failure by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) to test some casualty cattle aged between 24 and 30 months for BSE before they entered the food chain.

The FSA said that although the testing is required for surveillance purposes and not as a public health protection measure, it requested that a full independent inquiry be carried out into the reasons for the failures as quickly as possible. The steering group has been set up to oversee this inquiry and to establish why these failures were not identified earlier.

The investigation will be carried out on behalf of the steering group by independent expert auditors PKF. Following their inquiry, the group will make recommendations on how best to minimise the risk of this problem recurring. It is due to report back to the FSA by the end of September.