UK: Material from untested heifer aged over thirty months enters food chain
The Agency has been notified that offal from an untested heifer aged over thirty months (OTM) has entered the food supply, as specified risk material (SRM) was removed and it is unlikely that
the animal was infected with BSE, any risk to human health is extremely low.
However, testing is mandatory for cattle slaughtered for human consumption at over thirty months of age.
The heifer was slaughtered on 21 January 2008 at Oakdale Meats, Lurgan, Northern Ireland, and was aged two days over thirty months.
The error was discovered during routine checks on 22 January, before the carcases (including those from the cattle slaughtered one before and two after), were released. Only the offal entered
the food supply. Oakdale Meats contacted recipients and some of the released material was returned for disposal, but most was reported to have been sold as pet food.
A full investigation into the circumstances of this incident is under way.
Background to BSE testing
OTM cattle are allowed to enter the food supply provided they have tested negative for BSE. If there is no test, the OTM carcase, plus the one before and two after on the slaughter line, must
Since 7 November 2005, when the previous ban on OTM cattle was replaced by BSE testing, over 180,000 OTM cattle have been slaughtered in Northern Ireland for human consumption.
On a UK basis, this is the eighth untested OTM animal that the Agency is aware has entered the food supply.
Specified risk material is those parts of the animal that contain almost all BSE infectivity, if the animal is infected with BSE.
Offal includes heart, kidneys, liver and tail.