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.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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)
|COUNTRY |ADULT CATTLE |NO. OF HEALTHY |OF WHICH NO. OF |
| |(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)|