1 September 2000

Beef processor in health scare

A BEEF processing plant owned by Larry Goodman in the Irish Republic has had its slaughter licence suspended for four days in a BSE scare.

The suspension was ordered by a Dept of Agriculture official after the Anglo Irish Beef Processors plant in Bandon, Co Cork, slaughtered an animal suspected of having the disease, despite being directed not to do so.

A veterinary inspector from the Dept of Agriculture was on duty at the plant, which slaughters up to 500 animals a day at peak production. He spotted one animal showing signs of nervousness and agitation, regarded as the tell-tale symptoms of BSE. The inspector asked that it be removed from the slaughter line.

However, it was subsequently discovered that the suspect animal had been slaughtered, together with 20 others which were on the line at the time. The plants killing line was immediately closed down while Dept of Agriculture officials launched a full investigation into the incident.

None of the meat from the animals was allowed to enter the food chain, according to the Dept of Agriculture. Instead, the suspect carcass was sent for destruction and rendering at a specially designated plant, while the animals brain is being tested for BSE at a Dublin laboratory. The results will not be known for two weeks, but in the meantime the herd from which the animal came is being examined for symptoms of the disease.

The plants slaughter licence was restored after four days, when Dept of Agriculture officials were satisfied that the incident had been inadvertent and that the company had put new lairage procedures in place to ensure it could not happen again.

A statement from Anglo Irish Beef Processors said the plant is now fully operational. It added: "Our primary concern is for public health and safety and also for the health of animal and herd." &#42