Today, Sainsbury’s announces that it is to become the first UK food retailer to introduce BSE testing on its beef. This announcement comes after trials on a number of tests developed by Swiss scientists. Initially the supermarket chain will trial implementing the test at abattoirs that supply them with meat. If successful the food retailer hopes to test all of its beef for BSE in a move to increase consumer confidence in British beef.

The test which is EU validated is carried out immediately after slaughter. A sample is taken and analysed for abnormal prion protein which, if found, indicates that BSE is present.

Alec Kyriakides, Sainsbury’s Chief Microbiologist said “Sainsbury’s strongly supports the UK Government’s strict BSE controls which are already in place. We set ourselves very high food safety standards, so we will always trial the latest techniques. We are also the only UK supermarket to sell beef that is DNA tested so that we can trace back to the animal.

“Our research shows that BSE is still one of the highest issues of concern for our customers in terms of health and food safety. We hope that the British beef industry will benefit from this move to further increase consumer confidence in British beef which we believe is the safest in the world.”