FSA News Item, 2 September 2009
The Food Standards Agency has launched a joint consultation with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on proposed new BSE regulations. The new regulations will update and replace the 2008 Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (England) Regulations (as amended), taking into account decisions made by the FSA Board concerning the slaughter of cattle aged over 30 months.
The application of the legislation to on-farm slaughter will be made clearer, and a number of technical and other changes on which Defra leads will be implemented.
Separate, parallel consultation on equivalent legislation will be undertaken in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The consultation period closes on 2 December and, subject to consideration of responses, the new regulations are expected to be introduced early next year.
Earlier this year the FSA Board agreed to reduce restrictions on abattoirs slaughtering cattle aged over thirty months (OTM). At the moment, abattoirs wishing to slaughter OTM cattle must successfully undertake a trial beforehand and set out procedures in a formal ‘Required method of operation’ (RMOP) document, approved by the Meat Hygiene Service. These procedures include the batching of cattle before slaughter and specific measures relating to OTM carcases. The trial and RMOP procedures were originally designed to ensure that all OTM cattle were identified and tested negative for BSE before being allowed into the food supply. However, in January 2009 the BSE test age increased from 30 to 48 months. It is proposed to remove the RMOP requirement for abattoirs slaughtering cattle that do not require BSE testing. In addition, the RMOP requirements for abattoirs slaughtering cattle that do require BSE testing are being amended to remove the specific requirements relating to OTM vertebral column removal, as these are covered elsewhere in the legislation.
More details of the consultation can be found on the DEFRA website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/tse-regs09/index.htm