§ Yvette Cooper
[holding answer 13 May 2002]I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that all carcases are inspected after slaughter for signs of bovine TB by Meat Hygiene Service Inspectors, in accordance with the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (as amended). Those Regulations require the carcases of animals with evidence of generalised tuberculosis to be condemned as unfit for human consumption. Where there is evidence of localised disease the Regulations require the affected parts to be condemned.
In September 2000 the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food reviewed the measures in place to protect the food chain from risks associated with "M.bovis" and concluded that the risk, if any, from the consumption of meat following assessment and action by the NHS staff in UK abattoirs is very low. The committee made recommendations to the Agency to reduce any residual risk still further. These measures included some changes to inspection procedures in slaughterhouses, and a change to national legislation bringing it fully into line with EU requirements. Copies of the ACMSF report were placed in the Library on 1 February 2002. The Board of the Food Standards Agency has accepted the recommendations and they will be taken forward as appropriate.