Untested cow aged over thirty months enters food supply

The Agency has been notified that a cow aged over thirty months (OTM) has entered the food supply without being tested for BSE, 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 cow was slaughtered on 2 August 2007 at Linden Foods, Dungannon aged thirty nine months.

The error was discovered by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) on 7 December 2007 when routine on-farm tests for brucellosis revealed that the cow had
been misidentified as one under thirty months of age.

By then, all the meat (including that from the cattle slaughtered one before and two after) had left the premises and subsequent checks indicate that this meat has entered the retail chain and
is likely to have been consumed.

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 negative test result, the OTM carcass, plus the one before and two after on
the slaughter line, must be condemned.
» 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 the Northern Ireland for human
» On a UK basis, this is the eighth untested OTM animal that the Agency is aware have 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.

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