Spinal  cord  has  been  found  in  beef imported from Belgium into the UK.
Bovine  spinal  cord  is classified as specified risk material (SRM) and is
therefore  among  those  parts  of  the  animal  most likely to contain BSE
infectivity.  Under  European  law,  SRM  must be removed immediately after
slaughter, stained, and disposed of safely.

The  discovery was made on Thursday (15 November) in two out of 44 quarters
of  beef  being  unloaded at ADM Ltd, Eastbourne. The receiving company was
not  responsible  for  the  problem.  The  beef  came from NV EEG Slacthuis
Verbist, Izegem, Belgium.

The  quarters of beef has been detained under the Products of Animal Origin
(Import  and Export) Regulations pending possible inspection by the Belgian
authorities  and  subsequent  disposal  under  the  supervision of the Meat
Hygiene  Service  (MHS). The rest of the consignment was checked by the MHS
and found to be in full compliance with the relevant legislation. The Chief
Veterinary  Officer  of  Belgium  and   the  European  Commission have been
notified of this breach.

The  name  of  the  Belgian abattoir concerned will be added to the list of
European abattoirs from which beef containing spinal cord has been imported
into the UK.

While  SRM  is  among  those parts of the animal most likely to contain BSE
infectivity,  the  results  so far of BSE tests conducted on healthy cattle
across  the EU have been described as encouraging, tending to indicate that
there  is  no massive, hidden BSE epidemic in Europe. In Belgium there were
only  20  positive tests out of 242,956 animals tested  between January and
August this year.

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1.  The following table gives cumulative figures for the numbers of healthy
cattle  tested  for  BSE  from January to August 2001, across all EU Member
States.  It  does  not  include  BSE suspect animals (those reported as BSE
suspects)  nor  “at  risk”  animals  (defined  as those found dead-on-farm;
emergency  slaughtered  animals,  and  those  sent for normal slaughter but
found  to  be sick at ante-mortem inspection).  Adult cattle are defined as
those aged 24 months or over.

         RESULTS OF BSE TESTING IN THE EU, January to August 2001
                          (Healthy animals only)
|                 |(MILLIONS)       |ANIMALS TESTED   |POSITIVES        |
|                 |                 |                 |(PENDING)        |
|Belgium          |1.5              |242,956          |20               |
|Denmark          |0.9              |175,782          |1                |
|Germany          |6.6              |1,815,431        |27               |
|Greece           |0.3              |10,304           |1                |
|Spain            |3.4              |204,686          |28               |
|France           |11.0             |1,602,570        |46               |
|Republic of      |3.4              |315,668          |18 (1)           |
|Ireland          |                 |                 |                 |
|Italy            |3.4              |225,870          |18               |
|Luxembourg       |0.1              |15,169           |0                |
|Netherlands      |1.8              |289,904          |5 (1)            |
|Austria          |1.0              |150,402          |0                |
|Portugal         |0.8              |15,398           |6 (64)           |
|Finland          |0.4              |4,470            |0                |
|Sweden           |0.7              |870              |0                |
|United Kingdom   |5.3              |3,854 (GB only)  |0 (296)          |
|                 |                 |                 |                 |
|TOTAL            |40.8             |5,073,334        |170 (362 pending)|


Source: http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/bse/testing/bse_results_en.html