24 May 1996

4%failure rate for inspection

IN the first four months this year, unannounced visits to abattoirs found a 4% failure to comply with the rules on handling specified bovine materials.

Of 1196 unannounced visits, there were 48 cases of deficiencies. Farm minister Douglas Hogg, in a written answer to Peter Atkinson (Conservative, Hexham), said not all the cases presented a risk to human or animal health; some had been incidents of poor record keeping.

But there were four recorded incidents where spinal cord had not been fully removed from the spinal canal.

Mr Hogg, however, said that no evidence of incomplete removal of spinal cords had been found since Mar 20.