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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 00:00 GMT
More checks after beef seizure
beef
The UK imports about 1,300 tonnes of German beef each year
The Northern Ireland Food Standards Agency has ordered increased checks on German beef following the discovery of another spinal cord in beef imported into Britain.

It was found in a consignment of beef in Eastbourne on Monday.

Meat inspectors seized the contaminated beef at a meat cutting plant.

It was in breach of European laws introduced following the BSE crisis.

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

In this latest case, the affected carcasses were destroyed, so the meat did not get into the food chain.

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.

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

The chairman of the Food Standards Agency, Sir John Krebbs, said the latest discovery showed the importance of a robust inspection system in the UK.

He condemned the importation of the contaminated beef as "totally unacceptable".

He added that it raised questions about how effectively EU controls were being enforced, and promised further action if German beef imports did not meet the required standard in future.

The agency has now ordered that inspection of German beef imports at licensed plants in the UK be stepped up.

From midnight on Monday, all German beef imports will have to be inspected by the Meat Hygiene Service and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland.

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See also:

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
Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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