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Dr George Paterson, Food Standards Agency
"There has never been any BSE found in bovine kidneys"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 09:19 GMT
Meat recalled amid BSE fears
Abattoir
The calf was killed in a Scottish abattoir
There are fears meat from a calf born to a cow infected with BSE may have entered the food chain via a Scottish abattoir.

The Scottish arm of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recalled the meat, but said there was a minimal risk to human health.

The potentially infected animal was identified too late and the kidneys of the calf, from an English herd, may have entered the food chain.

Scottish National Party MSP Fergus Ewing has criticised the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food over the time it took to alert the FSA in Scotland.

Cattle
The calf's mother was identified as having BSE
He said he will be raising the issue in the Scottish Parliament.

The Food Standards Agency recalled the meat from the calf as a precautionary measure, but said it was told too late to recall the entire carcass.

The FSA said that, although the rest of the animal has not reached retailers, there is a 50% chance that the kidneys have got into the food chain.

The agency insists the risk to human health is minimal and the calf did pass other safety measures.

However, its mother was diagnosed with BSE in England three weeks before the calf was slaughtered in a Scottish abattoir.

'Precautionary measure'

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

MAFF said it diagnosed the mother on 18 December and then tried to find any offspring.

Because the animal had changed hands, the calf was not traced until 10 January - two days after it had been slaughtered.

A spokesman for MAFF said that three weeks was not an extraordinary amount of time to trace the calf, and that there had been no problem with procedures.

Food Standards Agency plaque
The Food Standards Agency recalled the meat
FSA director Dr George Paterson said: "The actions we have taken with the full co-operation with the abattoir owners are purely precautionary.

"The carcass was processed according to the BSE controls which involve the removal of specified risk material - those parts most likely to contain BSE infectivity."

He added that the calf was under 30 months old, meaning the risk to human health was "minimal".

And he told BBC Scotland: "There has never been any BSE found in bovine kidneys."

Mr Ewing said he would raise the issue in the Scottish Parliament at the first opportunity.

"There should be an immediate independent inquiry into what appears to be chilling incompetence by the London-based Ministry of Agriculture," he said.

"It seems that, once again, MAFF have kept Scotland in the dark, as they did in relation to GM crops."

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31 Oct 00 | Scotland
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