Meat From Diseased Cattle Sold By Defra
Warnings should be clearly marked on the meat product! 'Warning Infected meat'.....
It can be revealed that more than £35 million worth of meat from cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis has been sold to the UK public in the last six years.
It means that beef available on the high street may have come from cows slaughtered because they were infected with bovine TB.
Once the meat makes its way into the shops it is indistinguishable from beef from healthy animals and is sold with no warning to processors or consumers that it comes from a bTB-infected herd.
Agriculture chiefs issued a statement last night to reassure the public that any meat from infected carcasses which is available in the shops has passed rigorous safety checks and is safe to eat.
Compensation for slaughtering Sales
Since 2007 the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recouped £35.2 million from the sales to help pay for the £165.7 million it has paid to farmers in compensation for slaughtering stricken cattle.
But while in 1997 meat sales only recouped around 12 per cent of compensation payments, last year they amounted to 29 per cent of the cost.
Labelling no health threat
The Government last night insisted that the practice of selling meat from infected animals posed no health threat and all meat had been passed fit for human consumption by the Food Standards Agency before being sold.
Data obtained by the Sunday Express show a marked rise in the selling meat from infected animals in recent years. express.co.uk
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was warned more than a decade ago that meat from cows showing symptoms of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) should be heat treated to safeguard consumers from the risk of infection.
A report by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMFS) published in 2002 – which was funded by the FSA but never acted upon – warned of the potential risks of eating undercooked or raw meat taken from animals with M.bovis – the bacterium that causes the condition. Source; independent.co.uk
The official figures show that it received £1.7 million from the practice in 2007/08 but by 2011/12 the figure had risen to £9.5 million while last year it reached a record £9.9 million.
Unfit for human consumption
The Food Standards Agency says that when the inspection reveals tuberculous lesions in more than one organ or region of a carcass, it is declared unfit for human consumption and destroyed.
Fit for human consumption
But where a carcass shows evidence of localized TB in just one area or organ, the lesions are cut out and the rest of the carcass is passed as fit for human consumption and considered safe to enter the food chain. Source; express.co.uk
Human TB became a serious problem in Victorian England
As industrialisation crowded people together in insanitary conditions in large cities. To add to this, many of the dairy herds that were kept in and around the cities to provide fresh milk were infected with bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
The milk was a potent source of infection for many people, particularly children, many of whom died. A law was therefore passed making it illegal to sell tuberculous milk and the tuberculin test, which could identify infected cattle before they showed symptoms, was developed. It was seen to have the potential to eradicate the disease. A scheme to achieve this was developed and the Attested Herd Scheme was introduced in 1935.
Once a certain proportion of the herds in an area were in the scheme compulsory eradication could start. This involved regular compulsory testing of all cattle herds and the slaughter of TB reactors, just like what happens today.
Eradication finally got going in 1950 and was a great success.
By the end of the 1960’s TB in cattle had almost disappeared. By the mid 1970’s, all the cattle herds in the UK had been cleared of bovine TB, but unfortunately, not all at the same time. In two areas in particular – Cornwall and Gloucestershire – herds that had been cleared of the disease continued to have further outbreaks of confirmed bovine TB. This situation continued at a low level throughout the 1970s.
Unfortunately during the 1980s the number of cases started to rise again. This increase in number and geographical area has continued ever since so that TB in cattle is once again widespread in England and Wales. Because of this, there have been a number of changes in policy in recent years and this has led to changes in the legislation, which are still ongoing. Read more
Previous history of Bovine tuberculosis disease in the UK HERE
Previous history of BSC cattle diseases in the UK HERE
I stopped eating beef when the epidemic of bovine spongiform encephalopathy began in the mid 1980s.