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Bovine Head Meat

Volume 174: debated on Tuesday 12 June 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he will introduce regulations to ban the removal of meat from a bovine head until the skull and brain of the head have been removed from the head by an authorised boning plant;(2) whether he will introduce regulations to ensure that the trimming of meat from bovine heads is allowed only after the removal of the skull and brain.

Cattle which show signs of BSE, or are suspected of having the disease, are slaughtered and do not go for human consumption. The ban on brains and other specified offal is an ultra-precautionary measure applying to clinically healthy animals.Nevertheless, we are aware of concerns about particular methods of brain removal. Wherever possible, head meat should be removed before the skull is opened so that brain tissue does not come into contact with the meat. We have conducted studies into the methods employed for removing brains where this is not feasible. The Tyrrell committee has been asked to review our findings and I shall consider whether any further action is desirable having regard to the committee's advice. In the meantime, the state veterinary service is ready to give advice if needed.