The NFU yesterday called once again for the European Commission to ban exports of German beef following yet another discovery of attached spinal cord prohibited under BSE rules.

NFU President Ben Gill said: “It seems this country is incapable of exporting beef to the standards required. We have been calling for this ban for the last four months and in that time several more contaminated consignments have been discovered.

“Worse still, this is the second time beef with spinal cord attached has come from this particular abattoir.

“We had been given every assurance by both the German authorities and the European Commission that abattoirs not performing properly would rectify the situation. They should be shut down if they cannot do the job properly.

“With yet another incident, the European Commission must act on our call for an export ban to protect our customers for the failings of others. Our own Food Standards Agency has once again been left to protect our consumers from the failings of others.”

Spinal cord is designated as Specified Risk Material and must be removed in line with EU-wide BSE control measures introduced in October 2000. The British meat industry has already had to adhere to stringent SRM controls for several years.