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From: TSS ()
Date: July 12, 2006 at 6:19 pm PST

Board paper: Atypical

scrapie in small

ruminants: consideration

of the current

precautionary risk

management measures

This paper provided information

on atypical scrapie (a

transmissible spongiform

encephalopathy (TSE) in sheep

and goats and the precautionary

measures currently in place to

protect consumers from the

possible risks from TSEs in these

species. There are a great many

unknowns about atypical

scrapie, including the potential

implications, if any, for human

health. It also reported on the

views of stakeholders and

consumer focus groups who

were asked whether, in the light

of this uncertainty, additional

precautionary measures were

needed and for their views

on the Agency’s advice on

this subject.

Board paper: BSE and

sheep contingency policy

This paper asked the Board

to agree, for purposes

of contingency planning,

a possible approach to a

graduated strengthening

of measures to protect

consumers if BSE were ever

found in one or more sheep

in the current UK flock.

The paper also noted the high

level of uncertainty around

estimates of the possible risk

from BSE in sheep and that,

if BSE were ever found in a UK

sheep, the estimate of the risk

to consumers would depend

on the accumulated results

of surveillance for BSE in sheep

up to that time. It therefore

recommended that the policy

be kept under review and that

any policy agreed now on a

contingency basis should

urgently be reconfirmed taking

into account the circumstances

at the time of any finding of BSE

in a UK sheep.

Butchers get

guide on removal

of bovine SRM

The Agency and the Meat and

Livestock Commission (MLC)

have jointly produced an

illustrated guide for authorised

butchers, explaining how to

remove specified risk material

(SRM) vertebral column

(backbone) correctly from

cattle aged between 24 and

30 months.

The leaflet (see right) is also

designed to help local authorities

understand the legislative


Butchers wishing to remove

SRM vertebral column from

these animals must be authorised

to do so by their local authority.

Application packs can be obtained

from local environmental health

service departments.

Paul Holley, FSA Head of

SRM Controls, said: ‘The

Agency is delighted to have

worked with the MLC on the

production of this leaflet. It’s

been designed to be both

straightforward and informative,

and we hope that butchers who

decide to obtain authorisation to

remove SRM vertebral column

will find it a useful aid.’

Following the lifting of the ban

on the export of UK produced

beef in May 2006, the UK was

required to harmonise controls

on SRM with the rest of Europe.

Harmonisation has meant that

the vertebral column of cattle is

now designated as SRM in

animals aged over 24 months

rather than over 30 months, as

was previously the case.

To help reduce the impact of

this change, the Agency agreed

that the backbone of animals

aged between 24 and 30 months

of age can be removed

in authorised butchers’ shops.

Kim Matthews, Meat Scientist

at the Meat and Livestock

Commission, said: ‘This is

a practical, illustrated guide

designed to enable butchers to

remove the vertebral column

with the confidence that they

are following the legal

requirements. We were pleased

to work with the FSA on this

important project.’

The Joint Food Standards

Agency and MLC leaflet can be

found at:


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