October 16, 2003



Breaches of BSE Testing May Affect Sales of Beef from Older Cattle in UK


In Britain, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has played down claims that breaches of BSE testing could affect ministers' decision on whether to allow beef from older cattle to be sold in commercial markets.


The Food Standards Agency announced on Tuesday, October 14, that 6 cattle had entered the food chain without going through the BSE testing regime at two abattoirs in Britain.


But a report in the national press inferred this could cause ministers to believe the food chain is not ready for older cattle.


Health ministers are currently considering the case presented by the FSA to lift the ban, believed to expire in April.


An FSA spokesman told Farmers Weekly all Specified Risk Material was removed from the beasts, so in fact there's minimal threat to human health.


He said: "Domestic breaches of SRM rules are rare. There have been just 11 incidents since 2000. They are infrequent and not a risk to the food chain."


The Meat Hygiene Service will investigate the breaches and report back to the FSA and Department of Health.
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