[holding answer 16 June 2006]: The Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (No. 2) Regulations 2006, came into force on 3 May. They enable any butcher to apply to their local authority for an authorisation to remove vertebral column from the carcases or part carcases of cattle which are between 24 and 30 months of age. Vertebral column from this age group of cattle is specified risk material.
We are working closely with industry representatives to facilitate the disposal of vertebral column removed from carcases at butchers’ shops and have discussed the possibility of having approved intermediate plants operating on abattoir sites. This would allow vertebral column to be returned to the abattoir of origin for disposal. Abattoirs wishing to pursue this option should notify their local animal health office at the earliest opportunity.
Other disposal routes available include rendering and incineration or the use of collectors such as knackers. Guidance on the disposal of vertebral column has been drawn up in consultation with the industry and will be available shortly.