17 January 2001
Agency plays down BSE calf fears

By FWi staff

FOOD safety watchdogs have sought to reassure consumers after it emerged that meat from an animal whose mother died from BSE entered the food chain.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) Scotland said it learned of the animals history too late to stop it being included in a larger batch of beef.

But not all of the meat could be recovered, and there was a 50% chance the animals kidneys entered the food chain.

However, the agency said the rest of the meat was recovered and stressed to the Ananova website: “BSE infectivity has never been found in bovine kidneys.”

The FSA said, as is normal procedure, specified risk materials had been removed.

Dr George Paterson, director of the FSA Scotland, said: “The carcass was processed according to the BSE controls.

The 25-month-old animal was slaughtered at a Scottish abattoir on Monday, 08 January after coming from England.

The Ministry of Agriculture said it diagnosed the mother on 18 December, and then tried to find any offspring.

But because the animal had changed hands, the calf was not traced until 10 January, after it had been slaughtered.

When FSA officials were notified they immediately acted to stop meat from the animal entering the food chain.

The FSA said it will be asking the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why there was a delay, reports the BBC.

Scottish National Party MSP Fergus Ewing has criticised the MAFF over the time it took to alert the FSA in Scotland.

He said he will be raising the issue in the Scottish Parliament.