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From: TSS ()
Subject: Re: Dunbia NI recalls meat products Over Thirty Month old cow has entered the food chain without being tested for BSE
Date: November 11, 2006 at 5:30 pm PST

In Reply to: Dunbia NI recalls meat products Over Thirty Month old cow has entered the food chain without being tested for BSE posted by TSS on November 10, 2006 at 1:05 pm:

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-promed-ahead-edr@promed.isid.harvard.edu
[mailto:owner-promed-ahead-edr@promed.isid.harvard.edu] On Behalf Of
ProMED-mail
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2006 2:33 PM
To: promed-ahead-edr@promedmail.org
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> BSE, bovine - UK: meat recall

BSE, BOVINE - UK: MEAT RECALL
*****************************
A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006
From: ProMED-mail
Source: The Guardian [edited]

Beef warning after breach of BSE rules
--------------------------------------
Consumers across Britain may have eaten meat that was not tested for
BSE following a serious breach of safety measures, it was revealed
last night.

Thousands of cuts of meat are being removed from supermarket shelves
following the lapse and authorities in France, Italy and Spain have
been warned to alert consumers in their countries.

The Co-op chain of stores, the main company affected, said around
5700 cases, each containing several packs of fresh beef products,
were involved -- equivalent to 8 percent of its average weekly beef
sales.

Food safety chiefs insisted the risk to human health was "extremely
low" but the failure to test just one cow forced a huge recall. Meat
and other products from the carcass were mixed with those from other
cattle slaughtered at the same time. The mistake in a plant in
Dungannon, Northern Ireland, happened on 25 Oct 2006 but remained
undiscovered until 3 Nov 2006.

Nearly all the food involved so far involves the Co-op which said
stores all over the country were affected. Asda Brand ox liver was
also involved. Many of the products are already past their "best
before" date so have probably been eaten. Investigations are still
under way to see if other lines have been affected.

The Food Standards Agency said people who might have eaten affected
products should not be concerned, but people who still had uneaten
products at home should return them to the store where they bought
them.

David Statham, the agency's head of enforcement, said: "The controls
in place, including the removal of spinal cord mean that over 99
percent of any infectivity that would be present if the cow had BSE
is removed. Restrictions on the material that cattle are fed have
meant that cases of BSE in the UK have been in steep decline in
recent years."

He added that the agency was working closely with the slaughterhouse
involved and colleagues in the Northern Ireland Department of
Agriculture "to find out the exact circumstances of the breach and to
prevent it happening again".

The Co-op said it was recalling its products as a precautionary measure.

The breach of rules -- said to be human error -- is embarrassing, but
Northern Ireland authorities, worried about the effect it might have
on the meat trade, said the incident should be kept in context. No
cow tested since the new regime was introduced last November had
proved positive for BSE.

There have been a series of safety measures for BSE since the crisis
started in 1986, many introduced before the first people started
dying from vCJD in 1996. But from that date nearly all animals over
30 months old were banned from food. Younger animals were thought
less likely to carry the infection at a level dangerous to humans,
although none were tested.

Last year, the epidemic was deemed to have passed to a level at which
older animals could be allowed back into food, providing they were
all tested. This is the first case of an untested cow to have
occurred among the 330 000 slaughtered across the UK since then.

The animal was slaughtered at a plant operated by Dunbia Northern
Ireland. It was wrongly identified as a different animal which was
under 30 months old but had a similar identification number. When
this animal arrived at the abbatoir days later, the mistake came to
light.

The full list of products affected can be found at

[Byline: James Meikle]

--
ProMED-mail

[The public health risk related to the consumption of meat from a
(single) cow from which specific risk material (SRM) was duly
withdrawn is indeed minimal if not zero.

The EC current TSE Regulation defines SRM in cattle as follows:

All ages: The tonsils, the intestines, from the duodenum to the
rectum, and the mesentery;
Over 12 months: Skull excluding the mandible but including the
brains and eyes, and spinal cord;
Over 24 months : Vertebral column, excluding the vertebrae of the
tail, the spinous and transverse processes of the cervical, thoracic
and lumbar vertebrae, the median sacral crest and the wings of the
sacrum, but including the dorsal root ganglia.

In case the cow in question was treated, when slaughtered, as being
older than 24 months, all the said SRM was withdrawn. In case it was
regarded to be over 12 months but not yet 24 months, some SRM -
including the spinal cord - would have been released for human
consumption. In view of the cited statement by FSA, saying that the
spinal cord was removed but the animal not tested, it might be
assumed that the animal was regarded as older than 24 months but
younger than 30 months. This has to be confirmed.

Earlier this year it has been stated (see 20060126.0246) that the
number of cases of BSE in cattle in the UK is declining sharply, the
incidence being particularly low in cattle born after July 1996.

This moderator is in full agreement with the view of the Northern
Ireland authorities that the incident should be kept in context.- Mod.
AS].

[see also:
BSE update 2006 (01) 20060427.1231
BSE, bovine - UK (02) 20060126.0246
BSE, bovine - UK: susp. 20060124.0233
2005
BSE update 2005 (03) 20050728.2191
BSE update 2005 (02) 20050606.1574
BSE update 2005 (01) 20050428.1182]
........................arn/jw/lm
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