The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that an Over Thirty Month heifer has entered the food chain without being tested for BSE.

Testing of bovine animals is mandatory in those intended for human consumption that are over thirty months at slaughter.

However, all specified risk material had been removed, that is those parts of the animal that would contain more than 99% of any infectivity that would be present if the animal had BSE. Therefore, any risk to human health from this heifer is extremely low.

The majority of the meat from the animal, which was slaughtered on 30 November 2006 at ABP Shrewsbury, was sold fresh to catering suppliers, with the remainder going for sale in retail packs. All of this meat will have passed its use by date, even if frozen by the consumer.

A full investigation, with the cooperation of ABP Shrewsbury, into the circumstances of this incident is under way.
Since the OTM BSE testing regime came into force in November 2005, about 400,000 OTM cattle have been slaughtered in the UK for human consumption.

This is the third occasion that the FSA is aware of when an OTM bovine has entered the food chain untested.