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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 15:22 GMT
Tougher tests for German beef
beef
The UK imports about 1,300 tonnes of German beef each year
The Food Standards Agency has ordered UK meat hygiene officers to step up inspections of imported German beef.

The move follows the discovery of spinal cord in a consignment of beef at a meat cutting plant in Eastbourne - in breach of European laws introduced following the BSE crisis.

Sir John Krebbs, the Food Standards Agency chairman, said the find was totally unacceptable and raises questions about how effectively the EU-wide controls are being enforced.

He added that the agency would monitor the situation to see if German beef imports met "required standards", and warned that "appropriate action" would follow if the agency found otherwise.


This second breach within two weeks in imported meat from Germany is totally unacceptable

Sir John Krebbs
FSA
Following Monday's discovery, the affected carcasses were destroyed, so the meat did not get into the food chain.

The seizure by a vet from the Meat Hygiene Service follows a similar find in Northern Ireland earlier this month.

Under European law introduced three months ago, spinal cord, which is on the list of specified risk material, must be removed from cattle aged over 12 months immediately after slaughter and destroyed.

The spinal cord found in a carcass at Eastbourne was two inches long.

'Robust' controls

The consignment - 216 carcasses weighing 19,000 kilos in total - came into the UK via Dover from Oldenburg on Sunday.

Sir John said the latest discovery showed the importance of a robust inspection system in the UK.

"This second breach within two weeks in imported meat from Germany is totally unacceptable," he said.

"It raises questions as to how effectively the EU-wide controls are being enforced.

"At the request of the FSA, the European Commission are already raising with the German authorities the need for them to fully comply with the controls."

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See also:

30 Jan 01 | Europe
EU facing BSE cost explosion
29 Jan 01 | Scotland
Expert dismisses tougher BSE testing
19 Jan 01 | Europe
Germany tightens beef controls
19 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Contaminated beef inquiry call
18 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
Beef seized in BSE checks
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