Untested OTM cow enters food chain

Meat and offal from an untested cow aged over thirty months (OTM) has entered the food supply, according to the Food Standards Agency.

As specified risk material (SRM) was removed, and it is unlikely that the animal was infected with BSE, any risk to human health is very low, the FSA said. However, BSE testing was mandatory for cattle slaughtered for human consumption at over 30 months of age.

The cow was slaughtered on 18 January 2008 at Alec Jarrett Ltd in Oldland Common, South Gloucestershire, and was over nine years old.

The error was discovered on 17 March during routine cross-checks of slaughter and BSE test data. By then, all the affected meat and offal had left the slaughterhouse. The FA said subsequent checks, which are still on-going, indicate that much of the meat will already have been consumed. Some products containing meat from the affected batch have been withdrawn and are no longer in the food supply chain. Some have been exported and the FSA has notified the appropriate authorities.

Although withdrawn from sale on 28 March, some packs of Husseys Bakery 2 x Minced Beef & Onion Slices with 'use by' dates of 31/03/08 and 02/04/08 sold exclusively by Aldi may contain affected meat and, while the packaging does not indicate this product is suitable for home freezing, may still be in household freezers. A full refund will be given for these packs if returned to Aldi.